Egypt has a well-established aquaculture industry that has the potential to have a greater impact on the country’s persistently high unemployment and endemic poverty rates through greater efficiencies and productivity. Aquaculture in Egypt now provides more than 100,000 full or part‐time jobs along the value chain and supports the livelihoods of up to one million people. With funding from the Swiss Government (SDC) and in collaboration with CARE Egypt, Improving employment and incomes through development of Egypt’s aquaculture sector project (IEIDEAS) aims to make a positive impact on communities in Upper Egypt through the introduction of improved tilapia strains with greater yields, training of small-scale aquaculture businesses in best management practices, and improving conditions for women fish retailers. Investment is targeted at key areas of production and retailing with the aim of boosting employment, especially for women. The project also works at a national level to influence policy and bolster Egypt’s ability to manage change.