On the occasion of the National Women’s Day and the 5th Anniversary of its inception, the Association des Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises du Maroc (Moroccan Businesswomen’s Association) has organized a conference on: « Women’s Entrepreneurship, from Survival to the Pleasure of Entrepreneurship ». The conference took place on Thursday 8 October from 3.30 to 8.00 P.M. at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Casablanca.

The conference was opened by a speech of Mrs. Asmâa Morine Azzouzi, Presidente of AFEM, followed by an exchange between Mr. Larbi Belarbi, member of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), Mr. Ahmed Réda Chami, former Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs. Myriam Maestroni, President of SAS, and Mr. Driss Ksikès, Director of CESEM and Managing Editor of the magazine Economia.

The following key figures have been mentioned during this conference:

  • In North Africa, only 22% of women create their own business. Morocco has one of the lowest rates. Only 10 % of business creators are women.
  • 50% of women work in the informal sector.
  • Moroccan women are generally faced with several obstacles when they create their business after a « first professional experience », as only 13% of them hold management positions.
  • Only 27% of Moroccan women have access to a bank account, which generates another difficulty to access to funding.
  • Although Morocco has joined the international human rights system, the employment rate of women is still low. Gender inequality is still one of the problems lying ahead.

The debate went on with a testimony from three women who had received a microcredit and a fourth woman who works as a « saleswoman » of Oriflamme products.

Our client, Mrs. Mina Ouagari was the first to testify. She first explained that it was difficult to find funding for her project, and that she first got in touch with the banks, but in vain. Then she turned towards microcredit, contacted Albaraka which was able to meet her request and propose an adequate solution to her by granting her a loan of 5,000 dirhams. She was therefore able to start her activity as a sewer (cushions and curtains). She explained that as a client who is assiduous in reimbursing her loan, she was able to build a relationship of trust and loyalty with Albaraka which later on granted her other loans during ten years. She also added that thanks to Albaraka’s support, she was able to develop her activity and move from a mere sewer to a furniture upholsterer manufacturing armchairs and benches on demand.

Her activity is now growing and she has been able to rent new commercial premises where she displays her manufactured products, ready for sale.

Our client then shared with the participants her difficulty to be accepted in this sector, which is generally believed to be reserved to men. However, she succeeded in her endeavor thanks to her patience, seriousness and rigor.

In conclusion, she explained that thanks to the professional success of her project, she became financially independent, the owner of her home and bought a car.

The following testimonies were made by a salesperson of Oriflamme products, then by a client of Alamana and lastly a client of Ardi Foundation.