Empowering women through social entrepreneurship
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.
Could you please briefly tell us about your company?
My name is Aicha Aarabi, I am the founder of BIONOOR, an innovative social enterprise company. Our goal is to create added value and income-generating work. We help women entrepreneurs create their own brands, from ideas to finished products. We have opted for a mobile micro-franchise model to then help them market their products. Thirty percent of our franchise owners are women going through difficult times. I support Moroccan women entrepreneurs and farmers to promote their products and boost their productivity.
What are the challenges you have witnessed in your business?
Being an entrepreneur, whether male or female, is a major challenge. For women entrepreneurs in Morocco, the major challenge comes from the socio-cultural environment. According to cultural beliefs, Moroccan women hold all the caregiving responsibilities to the children and elderly and deliver at home. Women still don’t have the self-confidence they need to be creative and innovative and to take risks to face the challenges that come with being an entrepreneur.
What are the needs for women empowerment?
What women entrepreneurs need is opportunities to develop their businesses, access to finance, mentoring, and access to markets to sell their products. This means opening doors to both local and international markets so that women entrepreneurs can grow and scale up their businesses. My company is like a table, and the legs holding up that table are my staff. I have hired more women than men. This is because I am betting on every woman worker across my entire team. This team is like the fingers of a hand, we form one.
What is your best success?
In my business journey, I have proudly represented Morocco at various events and international exhibitions where I have been the only woman entrepreneur. Secondly, I am most proud of my award for diversity and inclusion from Morocco’s Socially Responsible Business Awards. I won the award as the jury’s favourite because of my social business concept. I work with cooperatives to ensure the best quality of their raw materials both upstream and downstream. I also help women in need to create income-generating activities by marketing the finished products we created together.
What is your message to other women entrepreneurs?
Women, whether you are Moroccan, African, or from anywhere in the world, have confidence in yourselves. Take the risk to become an entrepreneur. You are already creative and responsible. Being an entrepreneur is not hard. Take the risk and be creative!