The January edition featured four competing entrepreneurs (pictured left to right):
- Fatim-Zahra Chayat from Darilik, an upcoming flat-sharing
platform mainly aimed at Moroccan students.
- Mehdi Alaoui from Screendy, a platform that simplifies
up to 80% of the tasks involved in creating an app project,
allowing developers to design apps faster and easier.
- Lamiaa Biaz from Art Intention, a
communications agency which produces corporate films.
- Omar Madi from CARE Clothing, a socially conscious crowdsourcing platform for t-shirt designs.
The first prize went to Omar Madi, founder of CARE Clothing whose site will be launched today. Wamda sat down with him to discuss his project and its early success.
Wamda: You have just won the NWL Startup of the Month title for CARE Clothing. Can you tell us a bit about its concept?
Omar Madi: CARE Clothing is a clothing collaborative consumption social platform.
We invite designers to propose t-shirt designs from which internet users can choose their favorites. We then produce the most popular designs.
Every time a user buys a t-shirt, we donate one to a disadvantaged person. Internet users can then learn about the person who received the free t-shirt by clicking on a link we send.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I have been passionate about social entrepreneurship ever since I learned about it in engineering school. I joined a number of international organizations such as SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), the EIS (Social Innovative Student) and AIESEC (International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences). This allowed me to get involved at a very young age in the entrepreneurship world and to work alongside youth from around the world.
I am also the co-founder of MCISE (Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship), which aims to promote social entrepreneurship in Morocco.
Social entrepreneurship appeals to me on a special level because it urges one to dedicate their life to a noble cause and to keep looking for smart and new solutions to social issues.
Now let’s talk a bit about CARE. How did you get the idea?
Through my work for these organizations, I spent years encouraging people to create social enterprises. Since there was no key player in this sector in Morocco, I decided to make one, a kind of model that future generations look up to.
What are the challenges you are facing today?
We are currently facing several issues such as:
- At the supplier level: It is very difficult to find flexible
suppliers who accept to produce t-shirts in very small quantities
without compromising quality. That is why we will have to produce
our own t-shirts.
- At the human resources level: How do you recruit qualified
personnel who believe in your project? At the moment, we are a team
of six people working full-time. CARE works a lot with student
networks, namely AIESEC. We are looking to form a cohesive team
that will together bring the social project to success. We are very
fortunate because many people are interested in our work and are
helping us build this adventure.
- At the community building and management level: With a platform such as CARE, we have to rally two types of communities: one for designers and one for clients. It is, in fact, the famous ‘chicken or the egg’ dilemma. The best designers don’t want to take a lot of risk coming to the platform if there are not enough clients, and clients won’t come to the platform if there are few designers. It is a very delicate balance to achieve because we have to attract two types of communities at the same time, and this requires double the efforts in terms of communication, marketing, and commerce, because each of the two communities has different expectations and faces different challenges.
What are your short- and medium-term growth perspectives?
Our objective is to soon manage to sell all types of products. Eventually, we’d like designers to be able to suggest trouser and hat collections that could be produced if they receive enough public enthusiasm.
We are actively seeking artists and designers to join our community. Those interested can contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.