4 Myths that hinder entrepreneurship in Morocco

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In Morocco, we don’t have, strictly speaking, an entrepreneurial culture; as a result, our entrepreneurs often lack experience, standards, and successful examples.

During conferences and workshops I have given at several higher education establishments around the country, I have met a large number of passionate students who dream of launching their own startups but fear failure. They doubt their managerial capabilities, or simply set unrealistic goals. I've found that very often their motivation is undermined by four misconceptions about the early stages of a company.  

Find below the truth about these four myths hindering entrepreneurship in Morocco.

Myth #1: You need a lot of money to launch your business.

The first question asked by a lot of future entrepreneurs is financial: how much do I need to start?

Technically, to get a ‘negative certificate’ (a document from the Commercial Register’s Central Registration Service certifying that no other company in Morocco has the same name as the one you have chosen), then you have to choose the type of company you want (SARL, SA etc.), legalize the documents, purchase administrative stamps that will in turn pay for administrative demands, and, the help of a lawyer or notary, if you feel it necessary. 

The charges might vary between 500 and 1,000 euros ($700 to 1400 USD). Then, you will need a minimum of 1,000 euros as minimum funds at the bank for the creation of a limited liability company – the most common type of company – versus MAD 300,000 ($37,000 USD) for an SA.

More helpful information is available through the Regional Investment Center.

Myth #2: You have to have the idea of the century to be successful

Young entrepreneurs, especially in tech, are inspired by Jobs, Gates, Brin, Page, and Zuckerberg, and wish to revolutionize their sectors. But innovation is never a guarantee of success.

Investors and mentors are increasingly recommending for entrepreneurs meet existing unmet needs in their respective markets and tap into their local and cultural specificities. Looly’s is a perfect example of this. The company took cous cous, a traditional Moroccan product, and revamped it for a new market. The same goes for GeekFtour, held by Evento agency, which succeeded in expanding to Algeria with the potential of expansion to all Muslim countries.

The path to success is to accurately estimate the economic potential of your project – even if it doesn’t rely on a big idea – study competition, effectively identify forecasts and financial needs, and find good funding resources and employees.

Myth #3: You have to be a born entrepreneur 

Some entrepreneurs base this upon the intellectual and 'genetic' supremacy of the entrepreneur.

In fact, the biggest success stories prove that a company’s success relies more on good organization and human resources rather than on the ingenuity of single person.

Anybody can create and effectively manage a startup or find the right people to do so. What matters most is motivation, sacrifice, workload distribution, and organization. 

Myth #4: Failure is a fatal finality

How to deal with failure remains a cultural matter. Moroccan society equates a professional failure to a social and personal one, while this is not the case in the U.S. Many American business people relativize risks, like Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon who explained: “I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret it. But I knew that the only thing I would regret is not trying.”

Young entrepreneurs should not fear failure, and begin seeing it as an enriching experience, a rite of passage that helps them grow as entrepreneurs.

To be convinced, you just need to read these five stories of failures and success from Henry J. Heinz (founder of the condiments giant), designer Vera Wang, Bill Gates and Paul Allen (founders of Microsoft), Dave Ramsey (a finance guru), and Colonel Harland Sanders (KFC), or watch the Icelandic documentary The Startup Kids.

What are the keys to success?

  • A lot of passion, as only passion can push an entrepreneur to get up every morning and go work for a ridiculous salary compared to the sacrifices made;

  • A love for your product;

  • A good team. The success of the acqui-hiring have proven the importance of human resources;

  • A lot of work, sleepless nights, lost weekends, no vacations;

  • Ambition.

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