Breaking socio-economic barriers for Moroccan women entrepreneurs
For Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Day 2023, we celebrate small entrepreneurs from all over the world. Small businesses account for 90% of the world's businesses, 60 to 70% of employment, and 50% of the global economy. They contribute to local and national economies and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Tell us about your company.
My name is Maria Laaouimir, founder of Marilyn by Nadoline. I started with less than nothing, I had no capital. My story, the story of this company, is that I had a job, but my dream was to own my company. I figured out how much it was going to cost, and I started from there. My company Marilyn by Nadoline makes top-quality, homemade, artisanal ice creams and sorbets for restaurants and hotels. Then in 2017, we reached the general public. We have 17 people working with us.
What challenges have you witnessed in your business?
In big towns like Casablanca, men and women are equal. We deal with the same work environment, amount of work, banks, clients, suppliers, and business dealings. However, women entrepreneurs in small towns have more difficulties, where men may play a greater role. Another real challenge is that as women, we have busy lives at home. We are mothers. We take care of our homes. The challenge is to find a balance between professional and personal life.
What are the needs for women empowerment?
Access to management, documents, paperwork and financing should be easier. And training is important, it’s like a breath of fresh air. I think one of the keys to success is to have core business values such as respect. Respect and staff professional development. People join without a degree, without experience, and we train them. We train them to a professional level. One of my staff members didn’t even complete primary school, and was hired as a cleaning lady. But because she was very smart, she quickly learned how to make ice cream, and today she has the job equivalent of a master’s degree. She is responsible for production, she is involved in research and development, and she manages a team. That is what success looks like to us. Today she is a mainstay of our company.
What is your best success?
We are proud of having launched our own brand in 2017 and that we have our first public point of sale. We have our products in a major supermarket chain in Morocco. People are enjoying our products and they are getting to know and trust our brand. This is a big achievement for us.
What is your message to other women entrepreneurs?
What I would say to other women is that I was very scared to start a business. I had to make sure I was financially secure. But I have always been very ambitious, and I had a dream. Then one day, it just clicked. As I believed in my dream, I just got over my fears. If women have a dream, they should never ignore it.