By Hamza El Mounhi, Rabat
For the last three months, I have been trying to understand and explore a bit more the logic and structures of entrepreneurship in Morocco. I in fact considered studying true entrepreneurship which takes our people to dignity, and not only creates wealth for a counted number of individuals.
I believe that this brief introduction gives an excuse about my absence from Morocco World News during this period. Apologies, dear readers! I have actually been meeting with people who are indeed changing things, not only by words but also by action; grass-roots entrepreneurs who see in every social problem a business opportunity and who provide sustainable solutions conducive to deep systemic shifts.
I noticed also that this new trend which considers entrepreneurship as a tool to alleviate social problems is growing at a fantastic rate. Heralded by the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (MCISE), many young are today aware of the role they can play within their communities and how a well-thought action can have a meaningful and durable impact.
In fact, the Arab spring showed us that changing things at the public policy level is indeed necessary but takes a lot of time and could turn out to be very frustrating. To make our people access to dignity, we need to think and act quickly.
This is a clear recognition that this concept is not a child play, and that the true impact in the coming years will come from this new stream. Looly’s, is a company who is taking our couscous to the premium level while fighting poverty and fostering the economic and social inclusion of women in rural areas.
Lamiaa Bouhamidi, its co-founder always starts her pitch by describing its product as a beyond-fair trade couscous. The company employs today around 30 women in a village nearby Sidi Kacem (Center-North of Morocco), providing them with a decent livelihood. Phrased differently, Lamiaa has developed a new yet sustainable model to empower women.
She is achieving this while doing business. Her core model is to reinvent couscous to make it appealing for US and the UK consumers. She is also thinking export. By creating a new brand and putting a considerable effort on packaging and marketing, she is redefining the logics of local products’ commercialization abroad and is trying to maximize the added value of couscous.
As a normal business, the model is thought so as to make profits; 40% of these profits are reinvested in social programs (housing, school coaching for kids and better healthcare coverage for employee) breaking the cycle of the handout approach practiced in some cooperatives.
I have to acknowledge that I am a fan of Looly’s and this is the reason why I decided to back the project on kickstarterto help launch the Impact Business Movement in Morocco and taste couscous in a tiramisu.
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