An innovation hub in the heart of the medina

The result of a partnership between Valyans consulting, Ribat Al Fath and Startup Maroc, a technology incubator and project support center, dubbed “MEDINATECH”, will soon be opening in the Rabat medina.


MEDINATECH, the technology incubator, will be built in a “mythical” location steeped in history, once dedicated to the education of young people. The three partners have now chosen a renovated former building belonging to the Ribat Al Fath association to support young entrepreneurs. Abdelkrim Bennani, founding president of the Ribat Al Fath association, said that “the aim of our approach is to encourage young people, specifically in the Rabat medina, to create or develop small innovative businesses”, adding that “this new program will help stimulate the creative and managerial spirit in this segment of society, and develop their skills through innovation, in addition to the association’s traditional activities, i.e. cultural, social, artistic, etc.”.
For his part, Naoufal Chama, president and co-founder of the Startup Maroc association, explained that “MEDINATECH will connect and create synergies between startups and talented tech entrepreneurs in the Rabat medina”, stressing that “we aim to set up the various activities of Startup Maroc so that these two entities can work together and benefit from each other’s experience”.
Saadia Slaoui Bennani, CEO of Valyans consulting, emphasized that “the three structures have decided to bring their skills and know-how to the table to give young people a helping hand, believe in them, support them and let them do their thing”. In addition, the premises will be equipped with fiber optics and a SubLab that will enable start-ups to prototype, refine and improve their products.

A choice for many reasons

The CEO added that the choice of premises was no “accident”. Firstly, it is in line with “our desire to recreate a social mix to enable people from different social backgrounds to rub shoulders. Normally, it’s young people from the medina who head for other parts of the capital to develop an innovative project, but we’ve come to reverse the roles with MEDINATECH”. Secondly, to “demonstrate to city dwellers that we can transform our medinas into a more attractive environment where tradition and modernity meet”. Finally, “we want to change the perception of young people, who are often seen as a source of problems, and prove that they only need opportunities to show their talent”.

Support services

MEDINATECH’s aim is to help young project leaders conceptualize their ideas and put them into practice, helping them to formalize their projects, draw up business plans and consider business models, so as to make them economically profitable. “Valyans will mobilize its consultants to support these young people in their quest for an innovative project, bringing them the company’s expertise and know-how,” noted Ms. Bennani. Training and coaching sessions will also be available in business management and networking, because “it’s not enough to have a good idea, you have to know how to run a business”, says our interviewer.
To be accredited to this program and thus be eligible for technical and financial support, Mr. Chama asserted that “three eligibility criteria must be met. Firstly, the person must be working full-time on the project, secondly, they must already have a prototype, and thirdly, the idea must be innovative.


Published in l’Opinion – Press clipping 03/03/2021

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