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Al Akhawayn Entrepreneurship Expands Beyond MENA/Africa to Europe’s First Incubator, EuraTechnologies, for startups from AUI

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Al Akhawayn Entrepreneurship Expands Beyond MENA/Africa to Europe’s First Incubator, EuraTechnologies, for startups from AUI

from right to left: Mr. Sahl El Khamkhami, BBA Graduate and entrepreneur, Dr. Amine BENSAID, president of AUI, Mr. Nicolas BRIEN, Chairman of EuraTechnologies and Ms. Fatema Ezzahra Chadly, BBA graduate and entrepreneur. 

As part of its entrepreneurship strategies, Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, represented by Dr. Amine BENSAID and EuraTechnologies, Europe’s largest and oldest startup incubator, represented by Chairman Nicolas BRIEN have signed on Tuesday, July 19th an agreement aiming at creating sustainable entrepreneurial growth through the collaboration between EURATECHNOLOGIES (EURATECH) and the Al Akhawayn University (AUI). The agreement creates a startup business process to incubate AUI entrepreneurs through the entrepreneurial value chain that begins with a mindset, continues to pre-incubation training and mentoring to ensure market fit, and culminates in a six-month all-expense paid incubation in Lille, France. The outcome is launching the Moroccan business for the European market, based in Morocco.

Through this agreement, AUI aspires to strengthen its entrepreneurship capabilities by enabling students, alumni, and faculty access to the global startup ecosystem and expand their Moroccan businesses to larger markets in Western Europe. For students, this will continuously improve their educational experiences in the rapidly changing market need while creating synergies with recognized entrepreneurship players.

During the signing ceremony, Dr. Amine Bensaid declared “This is an exciting moment because we previously made the decision to promote entrepreneurship and to develop innovative prototypes for Morocco.  Since we are a liberal art college, we decided that our part of the value chain is creating an entrepreneurial mindset among our students. With this agreement, we chose EuraTech as a partner because of their strong performance record providing an incubation environment that results in 80% of the businesses still operating after 2 years – a significant improvement over the usual success rate of 1 out of 10 startups.  Our goal is to equip our students, alumni, and faculty to benefit from the full entrepreneurial value chain.”

In his speech, Mr. Nicolas BRIEN stated that ‘’we are not signing a piece of paper! Instead, we are engaging in a mutual lasting relationship. This is our first University agreement outside of Europe and we believe Morocco’s entrepreneurs are ready to expand from their native ecosystem into Europe. We are committed to welcome AUI students/professors/alumni with strong start-up projects into our entrepreneurship programs in Lille, which is the center of Europe – close to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. We believe this is important to keep access to the European market for all projects at Al Akhawayn University.’’

1stFrom right to left: Dr. Amine BENSAID, President of AUI, Mr. Nicolas BRIEN, Chairman of EuraTechnologies.

AUI students, alumni, and faculty entrepreneurs will benefit from EURATECH support through three stages with this agreement:

            Stage 1: The Pipeline which will include selecting based on mindset and project. This will be done at AUI under the Office of Entrepreneurship;
            Stage 2:  Pre-incubation including customized coaching mentoring and training by an expert talent developer hired by EuraTechnologies but resident on AUI campus to work weekly with student projects to prepare them for incubation in Lille, France;
            Stage 3- Incubation to develop startup ideas in line with the needs of a demanding and constantly changing market and ensure investors pre-seed and launch investment.

Euratech’s incubation program in Lille provides for up to 10 AUI students and/or alumni/faculty per year with six-month intensive incubation and networking and support needed to progress the business from concept or prototype to minimum viable product with startup investments.

In addition, AUI and EURATECH commit to organize a semi-annual AUI Entrepreneurship Weekend, Workshops and activities of common interest in which EURATECH employees shall be able to carry out educational interventions including case studies, presentations, testimonials, etc.

AUI and EURATECH began working together before this agreement was signed when EuraTech awarded 9 SBA Capstone winners the opportunity for incubation. Two of the winners were witnesses at the signing ceremony and testified:

Mr. Sahl El Khamkhami, BBA May Graduate and entrepreneur explained ‘’Our startup idea just started with me a teammate that we are most passionate about. We have been trying to make an impact on investing for individuals and we are glad, honored to be here, pushing forward to this idea to make it realistic and to take to the next stage to take on this entrepreneurship adventure.”


From right to left: Setting: Mr. Sahl El Khamkhami, BBA Graduate and entrepreneur, Dr. Amine BENSAID, president of Al Akhawayn University, Mr. Nicolas BRIEN, Chairman of EuraTechnologies, and Ms. Fatema Ezzahra Chadly, BBA graduate and entrepreneur.

Standing: Dr. Sallem Koubida, SBA Dean, Ms. Amal Mrhailaf, Employability Officer, Ms. Deborah Mac Arthur, Chief Employability & Entrepreneurship Officer, Mr. Hamza El Moubarik, HRD student, Co-founder & Chief Human Resource officer of Startup Olympus Incubator at AUI, and Mr. Abderrahim Hamidine, EMS student, Co-founder & President of Startup Olympus Incubator at AUI.

BBA July graduate and entrepreneur, Ms. Fatema Ezzahra Chadly stated ‘’My team and I want to help our Moroccan health sector as it is very problematic with a lot of chaos. Our startup idea will find a solution and thanks to this program we might actually implement it to help people who are in need of such a service. I think this agreement will not help only students but also other people that need our inventions and ideas.’’

For more information about how to be considered for the January 2024 cohort group and how it fits with degree plans and credits, the Office of Employability and Entrepreneurship will host Information Sessions on Incubation in September 2022, after the Fall semester begins. All students, faculty, and staff will be invited to attend and learn how to be eligible for this program.