Making it easier for enterprises to go green with EasyShair (en)
Rhizlan El Alaoui of Morocco started her career in financial security but left it within two years to start her own business. Now, she owns QuickTech, a mobile and web agency that works with companies in France, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Her small team is now working on a networking application called EasyShair to replace business cards.
The idea for EasyShair was born out of El Alaoui’s networking experience. ‘Business cards are a very inconvenient way of remembering your contacts,’ she said. ‘I always return from events with so many in my hand, and lose them.’
The free-for-download application will help entrepreneurs create profiles with an enterprise component that will be charged. The app is a greener alternative to paper cards, as it has a feature to account for carbon dioxide emissions as you use it.
Targeting app users worldwide
El Alaoui and her team recently developed a beta version of the app for Android phones. She released it at the Hub Africa Awards this year, where she received the Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and received positive feedback on the app. El Alaoui is currently working on perfecting another version with the help of Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh, Morocco. For the new version, El Alaoui hopes to develop an encrypted server for secure data usage.
‘We have to convince others that a Moroccan technology company is just as good as its counterparts in Europe or the United States,’ El Alaoui said.
Expanding beyond Africa
Credibility is one issue facing the young entrepreneur and her business. Another challenge is gaining visibility and access to markets. However, with ITC support, El Alaoui has been able to develop a sound business strategy. As a member of the ITC Youth and Trade Programme’s Trade Accelerator, El Alaoui has gained access to data on African markets, which can be used to determine which regions would be receptive to her app and likely to provide resources for her company.
Her partnership with ITC has also allowed her to participate in events around the world. For example, as one of the speakers at the 2016 World Export Development Forum (WEDF) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in October, she hopes to develop contacts and recognition outside the African region.
In the near future, El Alaoui plans on working more closely with the ITC Trade Accelerator for greater visibility in European markets and a stronger business strategy, tailored specifically to her enterprise.