The way immigrant-owned small businesses sustain relatives back home is a testament to entrepreneurial ingenuity underscored as the political unrest unfolds in Egypt.
Take Sharif Alexandre, the 38-year-old Egyptian-born founder of an electronic payment service in Philadelphia called Xipwire. He’s betting technology like his – which lets people send secure payments within the U.S. using mobile phones – will help centralize money for delivery to Egypt.
“This can be an organic effort,” said Alexandre, a Coptic Christian who is launching a Twitter campaign to rally like-mind Egyptian Americans. Earlier this year he ran a texting effort to send aid to a Christian church in Egypt following a bomb attack.
“Hopefully with this situation now gaining more mainstream press and attention that maybe people will be motivated to act within their own communities,” he said.
But even then, getting money from here to there, especially during times of government upheaval, remains a daunting task.