The first edition of the Open Startup Morocco program just concluded and the finalists awarded accordingly in a ceremony led by the Moroccan charge d’affaires David Greene, Presidents of Al Akhawayn University, Polytechnic University Mohammed VI and Impact For Development (Amine Bensaid, Hicham El Habti, and Tarik Nesh-Nash) also took part respectively.
The program runs for four months providing a platform for innovation and capacity through cross-cultural exchange and entrepreneurial education between startups in the US and Morocco. The program worked with 94 participants from multi-regional and multi-regional private and public institutions.
7 startups qualified for the finals, each receiving a Kickstarter $15,000 endowment. The top winner Inatlantis will get to visit Columbia University in New York and take part in the Columbia Venture Competition in April. The event will have a $300,000 prize pool.
The first prize went to Inatlantis – A team working on a digital platform helping learners gain fluency by hosting virtual gatherings that promote real-time language and learning exchange.
The second prize went to Spotter – A team that designed a real-time “creditworthiness” validation technique.
Third place went to Repa-BSF – A system that converts organic household waste into livestock feeds rich in protein.
Back in November, the US Embassy in Morocco officially launched the first edition of the Open Startup Morocco (“OST-M”). The program aimed at empowering top-performing Moroccan businessmen and technology students with intensive skills training and knowledge that can help them succeed as business leaders. OST-M is a partnership between the US Embassy and Moroccan partners: Al Akhawayn University, Africa Business School, and Impact for Development working closely with other international partners such as Open Startup International and Columbia University.
OST-M offers free, intensive training programs that help Moroccans create strong peer networks, create capacity building and find exposure to international startups. The program runs a complete educational curriculum co-developed by World Class American University institutions such as Columbia Business School and Columbia Engineering Entrepreneurship, alongside Open Startup International.
Goals of the program
Address the challenge of youth unemployment in Morocco and set them towards a path of self-employment. It also offers a higher chance of interaction between Moroccan and American students in local and regional pitch competitions as well as all-inclusive paid flights to New York City.