During the Women in Africa Summit, businesswomen and CSR directors from several Orange entities come together to share their views on the role of digital in the development of their respective countries and on the different initiatives the Group has set up to support women and innovation.
Meryem Bennis, founder of Marketface and Nadia Mrabi, CSR expert at Orange Morocco, share their views.
“It’s more difficult for a woman to start a business but you have to believe in yourself and persevere!”
What’s the concept behind Marketface?
Meryem Bennis: During the 7 years I was in charge of B2B business, I noticed how hard it was to seek new business and visualise the needs of the Moroccan market while managing my clients in the office. This is where the idea emerged for Marketface: a B2B platform that enables companies to connect with each other, share their needs through calls for tenders, receive direct business opportunities and market their business while promoting their brand. It’s the first platform of its kind in Morocco.
Nadia Mrabi: Marketface is an original concept that has taken advantage of digital technology to connect key players in the Moroccan market. 250 companies have already signed up.
How is Orange Morocco supporting the start-up?
N. M.: We’ve been working with Marketface for the last year. This collaboration brings together many aspects, from helping with the technical side of the platform to promoting the start-up at events such as VivaTech.
M. B.: We were able to join a free co-working space and meet experts to challenge us. We’ve been able to join Orange at various events to promote our brand.
Is being a woman a challenge or an opportunity for founding a business?
M. B.: It’s harder for women, because you always have to prove your legitimacy to men, whether in terms of business or family. But nothing is impossible, you have to believe in yourself and persevere!
N. M.: Digital is an opportunity for women entrepreneurs. It makes it easier for them to start a business and then promote their start-up. At Orange Morocco, we try to build trusted relationships with women founders through our various support mechanisms such as our free co-working space in Casablanca, competitions such as the Orange Social Venture Prize , which has been running for nine years in Morocco, or our award dedicated to women’s entrepreneurship.
Technology is a lever for the country’s development…
M. B.: It makes it easier. For example, digital technology enables Moroccan housewives to start a small online business and earn an income.
N. M.: It is easier to start a business: it is the breeding ground for tomorrow’s business. It can also help improve education, which is a sensitive issue in Morocco. E-learning solutions are being developed to help young people prepare for their exams. With this in mind we’re also supporting a start-up called Kezakoo, which offers a free e-learning platform.
Women in Africa 2019, what does this mean for you?
M. B.: A great opportunity to promote Marketface and the chance to build my network among a community of African women entrepreneurs. What’s more, we’re always looking for new partners.
N. M.: Promote the start-ups we believe in as much as possible and highlight the innovative initiatives that will soon be launching on the Moroccan market.