Day 3 in Rabat: Building a Startup Culture

Today we officially kicked off the SAP Social Sabbatical in Rabat. Each of the four organizations we are supporting met the entire team for a joint meeting in the morning.

Naoufal Chama (r), founder of Startup Maroc, with co-founder and Managing Director, Zineb Rharrasse (l)

With my colleagues Lyly and Bruno, we are aligned to StartUp Maroc, which works to build a startup mindset in Morocco, the components of which are developing or missing. For example, Morocco lacks a network of investors, universities, and financial markets that we take for granted in the US. Without this ecosystem, startups have little chance to grow, develop or thrive.

Through the amazing work of the co-founders, husband and wife Naoufal and Zineb, Startup Maroc is establishing that mindset. They run many, many events, with one highlight being Startup Weekend. It’s a 54-hour event, starting on a Friday evening, where hundreds of young Moroccans come to pitch, prototype and present their ideas. They work all hours to fine tune their ideas, while receiving mentoring and coaching in real time. They develop MVPs (Minimum Viable Prototypes) in labs equipped with component parts, computers and 3D printers. The winners get the opportunity to advance to regional and international competitions where prize and investor dollars are available to winners. These events have contributed to over 40 patents, and 400 critical new jobs in Morocco.

We plan to attend one of these Startup Weekend events this Friday in Rabat.

We traveled to their offices and started digging deep into the operation. Before we started work, we enjoyed Bento boxes and sushi at a nearby restaurant for lunch. We were joined by our hosts, young son, Ali and another co-founder, Camelia.

We still have a lot of work ahead of us to do better understand how Startup Maroc operates. Our goal is to help identify new ways to grow and further develop this startup mindset in Morocco.

Naoufal and Zineb work tirelessly and selflessly to establish this culture. We’re honored for the opportunity to help them with the next stage of their journey.

technologist, cultural omnivore, book nut, father

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