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Entrepreneurs Track 5: Experience Sharing Among MENA Start-ups

 

 

How can innovative start-ups be inspiring examples for new initiatives in MENA region?

The purpose of the session is for participants to learn from representatives of four start-ups, who are also Switchers, as inspiring examples to be replicated and also to provide an opportunity for networking with other MENA region Start-Ups. Discussions will focus on identifying connections, solutions, problems, etc.

 

What did we aim at?

In this session, the participants will learn how innovation can lead to sustainability, the successful models to replicate and how can we leverage design entrepreneurship to provide solutions in saving the planet.

 

    How to improve the success of start-ups in the Mediterranean by sharing experiences and good practices?

 

The session was opened by Mohammed Mrani Alaoui who warmly welcomed participants, introduced the session’s speakers and made a brief presentation of the session. 

 

Mohammed Mrani Alaoui was the first speaker and he explained his experience as the founder of Carmine, a Start-up precursor in Morocco. Carmine offers a car-sharing service with a double ambition: offering a solution to the problems encountered by city drivers, but also participating in changing the traditional model of the individual car for the benefit of the collective car. Share for less polluting is one of the key issues of car-sharing.

 

He told us that in the first step, you must know the community perspective, build the culture and prove your initiative. Mohamed did so and proved his car-sharing initiative with 8 vehicles in Casablanca and thus obtained the results of the project. After that, he went with his pilot project, the results and KPI to find fundraising and it was not successful at the beginning. In Morocco they have financing problems as in other Mediterranean cities. Furthermore, access to financing is not easy, there is lack of business angels and it is a risky market. For all these reasons, launching a new business in Morocco can be very challenging. Finally, however, he found a business angel interested in new businesses.

"Be convinced enough to convince other people" Mohammed Mrani Alaoui, founder of Carmine

At the end, he told us some insights from his experience:  have impressive key performance indicators, make smart strategic partnerships and strategic alliances (he made an alliance with the council to have parking in the cities), proof of the concept as a first step (MVP), a lot of Networking, quantify everything and finally focus on growth.

Download the presentation here.

 

The next speaker was Skander Zribi, founder of Tunisia’s first eco- B&B, Dar Zaghouan, which is located a one-hour drive away from Tunis. 

 

View from Dar zaghouen 

The B&B offers an ecotourism experience to its guests, as an innovative product in the area of the Zaghouan Mountain. Dar Zaghouan is an alternative tourism experience in a not-so-visited part of Tunisia, working in synergy with other local stakeholders for ecotourism to benefit everyone.

 

Skander Zribi explaining the work he is doing in collaboration with local people.

Dar Zohuan includes an amalgam of people who work there and have made the project possible: craftsmen (making artisanal plates and pottery), restoration experts (restoring old furniture), culinary professionals (local, ecological and traditional cuisine), historical tour guides, archaeologists, traditional and ecological construction experts (ex. rebuilding the new Suite Otoman) ,etc.

 

He gave us an example of cooperation between two Switchers Dar Zaghouan and Chanouf Farm.

Chanouf Farm manufactures fuel briquettes, an environmentally alternative to the use of firewood. From wood briquettes, Chanouf Farm also produces charcoal after a carbonization process. Both products are used to make fire and for heating in Dar Zaghouan.

 

The third presentation came from Aymen Louhichi, the founder of Tunisia Eco-Tourism. He is specialised in the design of eco-tourism destination travel. Tunisia Ecotourism organizes tour packages that respect the environment and involve the local people. Through its activities, the company encourages the preservation of Tunisia's natural resources and the development of the local economy. Download the presentation here.

 

 

 

The last presentation was made by Fatima Zahra Beraich the founder of Biodôme Maroc. This is a start-up that builds small-scale agricultural methanisation plants. Biodôme Maroc is an eco-innovative solution to help farmers produce biogas and fertilizer on their farms, but also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Fatima Zahra Beraich the founder of Biodôme Maroc

At the end of the session, speakers facilitated further networking among participants.

 

 

Sharing experiences and creating networking! What a great success!

 

Two switchers, Dar Zaghouan and Chanouf Farm from Tunisia, have contacted and started business together thanks to SwitchMed. 

 

If you want to know more, you can go to the Switchers Website (www.theswitchers.eu).