Paris/Casablanca, Tuesday the 27th of October, 2015 – In conjunction with Eiréné4Impact, one of the premier organizations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Morocco, NUMA has announced the opening of NUMA Casablanca. Hot on the heels of Russia (NUMA Moscow) and India (NUMA Bangalore), Morocco is the third step in a world tour of emerging ecosystems outlined by the French innovation catalyst and, above all, an important first step through the gateway to the African continent.
The Moroccan innovation ecosystem is growing fast. Not only is its political world stable, the country is Africa’s second biggest financial district and has the best internet penetration levels on the continent. As far as Africa is concerned, Morocco is the obvious gateway – with its French-speaking culture, not to mention the strength of its diplomatic and economic relations with the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, together with the growing levels of investment from the United States and the Arab-speaking world – the country provides a profile in keeping with NUMA’s internationalization objectives .The numbers don’t lie, since risk capital investment has multiplied by a factor of ten between the years 2013 and 2014, and the number of startups created annually quintupled between 2012 and 2015.
For French and Moroccan startups, NUMA Casablanca will be a bridge between European and African markets, applications for the first acceleration program at NUMA Casablanca will be launched in November 2015, and the accelerator will open its doors in January 2016.
“Our ambition is to accelerate the growth of fifteen emerging ecosystems by 2019. With this is mind, Africa is of course one of our priority targets: half of the population there is under 25 and they have shown a thirst for entrepreneurship. We are convinced that the innovators of the next decade are to be found on the continent and we aim to set up NUMA branches in two or three African countries,” says Frédéric Oru, Head of International Development at NUMA. “Above and beyond any ideas of the ideal strategic positioning that Morocco represents for France and the rest of Europe, at least with regards to Africa and the Middle East, in Morocco’s capital we have witnessed all the tell-tale signs for an uptick in the entrepreneurial ecosystem – the number of startups, public and private investment – the city’s primed and ready for take-off.”
Leyth Zniber, Founder and President of the foundation Eiréné4Impact, is a living and breathing example. He stood down as head of a large company in order to become one of the first business angels in the country and to start the first holistic platform for high social impact mentoring in entrepreneurship & innovation. “With him,” Oru continues, “we know that NUMA Casablanca has found a proud standard bearer for our values of openness and performance.”
“With its exceptional potential for innovation, together with the shared desire for development, not to mention its economic and diplomatic presence, bursting with Moroccan players all over the continent, Morocco has the potential to become the ideal platform for development and a true laboratory for innovation. To achieve this, it is important for our ecosystem to accelerate its professionalization and its innovation dynamic as much with startups as with the major stakeholders, public and private alike,” says Leyth Zniber.
“Today, with NUMA, we are accelerating our local and regional development. In line with what we’ve been doing here at Eiréné4Impact, this partnership reinforces the dynamic of professionalization within the ecosystem, and will enable us to widen our support for entrepreneurship and also to accelerate our activities in the promotion of innovation, particularly open innovation with Moroccan actors, both public and private,” Leyth Zniber says. “NUMA’s experience will allow us to strengthen North-South communication lines and to make Morocco a platform for South-South collaboration within the whole sub-region. In addition to this, this dual-action will help Eiréné4Impact widen the scope of its know-how leading up to 2017.”
NUMA’s International Development Strategy
NUMA [nu:mə] (Paris 2014) p.n. Neologism formed from the French term for “digital” (numérique) and “human” (humain). NUMA is a “catalyst for innovation”, an emblematic actor for the European digital ecosystem. Created in 2000 under the name of Silicon Sentier, NUMA has built its development on the implementation of pioneering services in the domain of collaborative innovation. Its services include La Cantine, France’s first co-working space, created in 2008, and Le Camping, France’s first startup accelerator, created in 2011, since renamed NUMA Sprint.
NUMA’s unique model is today recognized as the driving force behind the European entrepreneurial and digital ecosystem. In 2015 NUMA received more than 650 applications for its acceleration program and will host 1400 events, receiving over 80 000 visitors per year. More than half of the clients involved in its digital transformation and open innovation programs belong to France’s illustrious CAC 40, and 85% of the 82 startups accelerated so far by NUMA are still going strong.
At Eiréné4Impact, we think that the size, speed and need for change with which we are confronted today can only be dealt with using the wealth and diversity of local actors, with the support and collaboration of traditional leaders, private entreprise, governments and development organizations. That is why we have the ambition to develop, within the region of the Middle East and North Africa, a dynamic of innovation and entrepreneurship that is socio-economically integrated, so as to provide concrete answers for the real issues faced by independent entrepreneurs and innovators.
Eiréné4Impact is today Morocco’s premier holistic mentoring platform, with high social and environmental impact in entrepreneurship & innovation and one of the pioneers in the MENA sub-region.