There’s more to Morocco than Casablanca and Rabat. At least, that was Startup Maroc’s message when it organized the finale of the second edition of StartUp Cup Maroc, the Moroccan chapter of a business plan competition, in Khouribga, a town of 200,000 about 120 km southeast of Casablanca, on Saturday 21st of February.
And by the time the event was over, SafeDemat, a software developer in the dematerialization field, was selected to receive 100,000 dirhams [roughy $10,000], a year of cloud storage courtesy IBM, and a spot in IBM’s SmartCamp competition and in Enpact's contest.
The event marked the end of an eight month program during which 30 startups were pulled from a pool of 165 candidates for guidance and advice. It was powered by the OCP Entrepreneurship Network, and supported by HP CDG, CIH Bank, the CCG, and Technopark. The program consisted in workshops on building and sharing an attractive business model, highlighting the way a product/service meets a need or solves a problem, defining a target market, and developing a sustainable financial model that works with the business model.
The startups then participated in a mentorship bootcamp with 15 mentors, including Zouheir Lakhdissi, Dialy Technologies’ CEO; Akram Benmbarek, TechWadi’s cofounder and Elbotola’s president; and Dounia Boumehdi, Maroc Numeric Fund’s CEO.
The jury in action
Seven startups were then selected to take part in the finale:
- iMote, a smart keyring that lets you find your keys an your smartphone
- Infinitable, a restaurant booking plaeform
- MyTrippy, a site aiming to ease travel organization
- Loue1voiture.com, a car rental platform in Morocco (check out our coverage of transportation startups)
- Vendo.ma, a daily deals aggregator
- Netslr, a creative products marketplace for emerging products
The jury, made up of Centre Marocain de l’Innovation’s Samir El Aichaoui, HP CDG IT Services Maroc’s Shafik Sabiry, Afineety’s Emmanuel Exposito, and Endeavor Morocco’s Amine Hazzaz, awarded second place to iMote, and the third place to Loue1voiture and MyTrippy.
The diversity of applicants was noteworthy, according to event co-organizer Zineb Rharrasse.
“We receive many applications of startups that weren’t part of the ecosystem. We saw a lot of new faces. This is interesting because this gave them visibility and let them connect with the rest of the ecosystem,” Rharrasse said.
Here is more information about Startup Maroc: