Rabat – The first iteration of the Open Startup Morocco program has wrapped up, and the finalists of the program have been announced.
Among the figures who gathered for the award ceremony were the charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Morocco David Greene, the President of Al Akhawayn University Amine Bensaid, the President of the Polytechnic University Mohammed VI Hicham El Habti, and the President of Impact For Development Tarik Nesh-Nash.
According to Al Akhawayn University, the four-month program “provides a platform for innovation and capacity building through entrepreneurial education and cross-cultural exchanges between the US and Startup ecosystems in Morocco.”
The Open Startup Morocco program worked with 94 participants from “multidisciplinary and multiregional Moroccan public and private institutions,” providing them with entrepreneurship bootcamp training as well as coaching and mentoring sessions to develop their ideas.
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The Inatlantis team was awarded the first prize, for their digital platform that helps language learners to become fluent by hosting virtual gatherings which promote real-time language exchange and learning.
In second place came the Spotter team, who designed a “technique for validating the creditworthiness of checks in real time.”
Repa-BSF took third place, for developing a system that turns organic household waste into protein-rich feed for livestock.
The seven startups that qualified for the finals received a $15,000 (MAD 135,700) endowment to develop their startup. Furthermore, Inatlantis will have an opportunity to visit Columbia University in New York, COVID-19 health-measures permitting, to participate in the Columbia Venture Competition. The competition, scheduled for April 2021, will have a $300,000 (MAD 2.7 million) prize pool.
Recent years have seen a flurry of activity promoting local startups, in an attempt to change Morocco’s entrepreneurial landscape. In March 2021, the President of Morocco’s Mohammed V University, Mohammed Rhachi, signed partnership agreements with four startup companies in the field of research and innovation.