PNB-NAPEO Announcements at US-Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference

January 18, 2012

US-Maghreb Entrepreneurship ConferenceThe following initiatives and projects were announced at the US-Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference held in Marrakech, Morocco 17-18 January 2012. More information on Partners for a New Beginning is available here.


Franchising in Tunisia

  • Presented by T.H. Madeleine K. Albright, Albright Stonebridge Group & Chair of PNB
  • The Middle East Investment Initiative and Shorebank international are in the very early stages of collaborating with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Department of State to establish a franchisee-lending program in Tunisia.  This facility will provide approximately $30 million in working capital loans through local financial institutions to Tunisian franchisees interested in working with US, European and Tunisian franchisors in a variety of sectors, including food, retail, training services, and tourism.
  • Partners include Shorebank International, the Overseas Investment Corporation, the U.S. Department of State, and the Middle East Investment Initiative

Launch of the Mauritania Local Board

  • Presented by David Arkless, ManpowerGroup & Co-Chair of PNB-NAPEO
  • With the leadership of Aly Sy and Fall Anina, PNB-NAPEO has expanded into Mauritania with the formation of a local advisory board to lead the direction of the initiative in the country.

FICRA and Intel

  • Presented by Riadh Bouzaouch, Institute of Business Higher Education Soussa & Member of PNB-NAPEO Tunisia
  • Because all young students in Maghreb deserve the opportunity to achieve their entrepreneurial potential, FICRA aims to push their creative limits and to offer them possibility to act as entrepreneurs for their communities while studying.
  • Partners include Intel and PNB-NAPEO Tunisia

Casbah Angels

  • Presented by Ali Azzouz, Casbah Business Angels
  • Casbah Business Angels (CBA) is Algeria’s premier angel investor organization. CBA launched by Silicon Valley and Algerian CEOs is a group of entrepreneurs and angel investors who are interested in investing their time and funding into new and existing startup companies. CBA is also a networking platform where angel investors and entrepreneurs can meet to discuss ideas, mentorship and investment opportunities.

Private Equity/Venture Capital/Angel Investing Delegation from the Maghreb to the United States

  • Presented by Nancy Overholt, Institute for International Education
  • To contribute to the development of Private Equity, Venture Capital, and Angel Investing in the Maghreb region, NAPEO is organizing a visit of private equity and venture capital firms, and potential business angles, from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia to the US. The delegation will meet with their US counterparts in these fields with the goal of understanding the components of a successful investment ecosystem in the US both at players level and at industry association level.
  • Partners include U.S., Algerian, Moroccan, and Tunisian venture capital and private equity firms, and the Institute for International Education

Two Private Equity/Venture Capital Delegations to Tunisia

  • Presented by Ziad Oueslati, Tuninvest & Member of PNB-NAPEO Tunisia
  • In order to contribute to the development of the private equity and venture capital sectors in the Maghreb, PNB-NAPEO is organizing a visit of U.S. PE & VC firms to Tunisia. The delegation will be meet with Tunisian counterparts and participate at a specialized roundtable on the future of the private equity and venture capital sector in the country.
  • Partners include US and Tunisian PE & VC firms

Maghreb Economic Growth Foundation

  • Presenter: Driss Temsamani, Maghreb Economic Growth Foundation
  • The foundation supports the aspiration of the Moroccan diaspora in the USA who want to give back and build economically vibrant communities in their home country through mentoring, financing and technical assistance programs. The Maghreb Growth Foundation’s Mentor Match Platform will link Morocco’s emerging entrepreneurs with Moroccan Diaspora in the United States. These connections will help further empower Moroccan entrepreneurs to succeed in business ventures that build economic prosperity, drive job creation and facilitate financial inclusion.
  • Partners include The Maghreb Growth Foundation, a private/public partnership with U.S. Department of State coordinated by the Aspen Institute PNB-NAPEO Secretariat, the Consulate General of the Kingdom in New York and the Moroccan Diaspora.

Maghreb Investment Network

  • Presented by Lloyd Baroody, Driss Temsamani & Mustapha Baha
  • Delegates from the October 2011 NAPEO Entrepreneurship Delegation, including Maghreb diaspora delegates, have partnered to create a Maghreb Investment Network to invest and encourage the most promising start-ups in the region. It will be the first of its kind on regional level in the Maghreb. The Maghreb Investment Network will link to local funds in each country, called Maghreb Growth Fund, beginning in Morocco with plans to expand to Algeria and Tunisia. The first Maghreb Growth Fund in Morocco will target fast growing sectors of the Moroccan economy particularly technology, service and agribusiness. By supporting entrepreneurs, each country’s Maghreb Growth Fund will support the creation of new jobs and economic prosperity.
  • Partners include Ahmad Chebbani, Sami Ben Romdhane, Mustapha Baha, Lloyd Baroody, Said Ouissal & Driss Temsamani


  • Presented by H.E. Saïd Aïdi, former Tunisia Minister of Employment and Professional Training
  • Education For Employment (EFE) has launched EFE-Tunisia with the support of the US State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in cooperation with Tunisian business and civil society leaders. H.E. Said Aidi will serve as chairman of this new nonprofit. In collaboration with a diverse array of partners, the initiative is now planning training, job placement and entrepreneurship programs for 800 Tunisian youth over the next 18 months.

Maghreb Start Up Initiative

  • Presented by H.E. Saïd Aïdi, former Tunisia Minister of Employment and Professional Training
  • Education for Employment (EFE) is also facilitating the creation of the Maghreb Startup Initiative (MSI), the first-ever Maghreb-wide startup initiative for young entrepreneurs in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. This will be done in partnership with Fondation du Jeune Entrepreneur (FJE)  in Morocco, the Algeria Startup Initiative (ASI) or Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants (CJD) in Algeria and  EFE-Tunisia, WIKI Start Up and Carthage Business Angels in Tunisia.  MSI draws on a vision of the Algeria Startup Initiative to expand ASI’s work to the Maghreb regional level. Coordinated regionally by EFE-Tunisia, MSI will run boot camps, competitions that reach interior regions, and help develop viable startups for competition winners.  MSI will bring together young entrepreneurs across borders for joint training and strengthen links to Silicon Valley. MSI is being supported by the PNB-NAPEO Algeria, PNB-NAPEO Morocco and PNB-NAPEO Tunisia.


  • In February 2012, University Hassan II Casablanca, the Casa-Moubadara-REEM association and the Injaz Al Maghrib will create an entrepreneurship module for 3rd Year undergraduate students. These students will be trained by executives and teachers in the creation and the management of junior companies. Starting with 600 students in Casablanca, it will expand to 3,000 and support 120 student-initiated companies a year.
  • Partners include The University Hassan II Casablanca, the Casa-Moubadara-REEM association and Mhammed Abbad Andaloussi of Injaz Al Maghrib

Microsoft/Manpower Entrepreneurship Curriculum

  • Presented by Jeffrey Avina, Microsoft
  • Microsoft has announced the launch of its new Digitalized Entrepreneurship Curricula called “Build Your Own Business”.  Developed with the assistance of key partners including ManpowerGroup and the International Youth Fund, this new effort sets the standard for a 60 hour best of class digitalized curricula which will be freely available online in Arabic, English and French. It is designed to be incorporated into ongoing entrepreneurship initiatives driven by governments, NGOs, the private sector, and key donors including the World Bank, USAID, the African Development Bank and the ECB
  • Partners include Microsoft, ManpowerGroup

Invest in Democracy (IT Sector Development)

  • Presented by Khaled Ben Jilani, Tuninvest
  • In its early stages, this initiative will promote investment in multinational IT companies in Tunisia by building a regional competence center, developing an ecosystem of local partners that would be able to expand into Africa, pursue outsourcing opportunities in Tunisia and creating a venture capital fund that would develop ICT companies in Tunisia.

Cross-Border Exchange

  • Presenter: Kamel Merarda, Program Manager of PNB-NAPEO Algeria
  • The Algeria Local Advisory Board will initiate new youth exchange programs with countries across the Maghreb to facilitate business and human-to-human ties in the region.

Smart Center

  • Presented by Amel Bouchemoui, Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce & Chair of PNB-NAPEO Tunisia
  • The initiative will enable university graduates to initiate business startups by providing business services, education & skills training, market intelligence, access to capital & credit, and connection to markets (both local and international) that enable them to successfully start their businesses and extend the markets of their products globally.
  • Partners include Tunisian & U.S. businesses, universities and financial funds

Online PNB-NAPEO Partnership and Investor Platform

  • Presented by David Kirk, The Atlantic Council of the United States
  • With the generous support of the U.S. Department of State, the Atlantic Council of the United States is developing a unique online platform to serve the PNB-NAPEO network.  This platform will provide resources for entrepreneurs in North Africa, and will include unique video interviews with entrepreneurs, links to hundreds of resources, and information about PNB-NAPEO programming.
  • Partners include the Atlantic Council of the United States, the Aspen Institute, Education for Employment and the U.S. Department of State

Maghreb cross-border Training of Trainers

  • Presented by Nawfal Fassi-Fihri, Education for Employment
  • EFE-Maroc led the first of two “Training of Trainers” programs in Casablanca on January 12-15. 18 trainers from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco attending this exchange are now qualified to teach EFE’s “Workplace Success” employability skills program in high demand by private sector employers. This Maghreb network of trainers from universities, institutes and non-profits are now returning to their respective countries to train young jobseekers and entrepreneurs in ongoing programs.

Expansion of EFE’s youth employment model in Morocco

  • Presented by Nawfal Fassi-Fihri, Education for Employment
  • With the help of strategic partners The MasterCard Foundation, ManpowerGroup and Microsoft, EFE’s youth employment program, Morad, aims expand within Morocco to help 15,000 young Moroccan women and men enter the workforce over the next 4 years. Already, nearly 500 youth have been trained in the past few months. The project will reach the regions of Grand Casablanca, Doukala-Abda; Tanger-Tétouan, Marrakech-Tansfit; Fès-Boulemane and Sous-Massa-Dra. This public-private partnership takes an integrated approach, involving partners such as the Ministry of Youth and Sports, CGEM, AFEM, Hassan II University, Ynna Holding, and hundreds of other local private companies.

PNB-NAPEO Creative Industries Delegation

  • Presented by John Cimino, Creative Leaps International
  • The Creative Industries Delegation from the US, which included Americans for the Arts, Creative Leaps International, the Detroit Creative Corridor, and the Institute for International Education, met in Algiers this last week with members of PNB-NAPEO local advisory boards and more than 50 arts and cultural practitioners to share best practices in arts management together with strategies for strengthening the entrepreneurial mindset and building capacity in the creative sector. Successful follow-up discussions materialized critical information regarding on the ground economic and political conditions which continue to impact the creative sector and its options for future growth and development. Delegates and members of PNB-NAPEO Local Advisory Boards met during the conference through workshops and training sessions to continue planning, to determine which educational and partnership initiatives can best leverage strengths already present in the local community, and what additional assets might be brought to the table to help local PNB-NAPEO boards and creative community develop a long-term strategy of support and investment in artistic and creative sector business growth.

CRDF GIST Start-Up Boot Camp

  • Presented by Ovidiu Bujorean, CRDF Global
  • GIST Startup Boot Camp is an intense and interactive two day program of training and heavy mentoring designed to spark innovative thinking and trigger the creation of new startup ideas among promising entrepreneurs in information technology, healthcare, agriculture and energy from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. The entrepreneurs will enter their ideas into the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan-Arab – GIST joint business plan competition for a chance to win total prizes of $65k and a road trip to US to meet with top investors, entrepreneurs and mentors.
  • Partners include the Algerian Startup Initiative (ASI), Tunisian American Young Professionals (TAYP), North American Tunisian Engineers Group (NATEG), and PNB-NAPEO local advisory boards from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

PNB-NAPEO Tech Town Partnership

  • Presented by Meredith Kerekes, TechTown
  • TechTown, Wayne State University and the American Arab Chamber of Commerce are honored to host the three winners of the PNB-NAPEO Entrepreneurship Delegation Start-up Incubation Prize in Detroit, Michigan, USA this summer. Each winner receives a three-month membership in TechTown’s Thrive program, drop-in incubation space, a dedicated entrepreneurial coach as well as access to Wayne State University’s continuing education and ESL courses. Full lodging and living stipends have been sponsored by the American Arab Chamber of Commerce and travel has been sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Partners include TechTown, Wayne State University, the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of State

PNB-NAPEO Entrepreneurship Delegation

  • Presented by Lorraine Hariton, U.S. Department of State
  • This past October a PNB-NAPEO entrepreneurship delegation of 15 U.S. investors including potential business angel investors from the Maghreb diaspora community, academics and prominent entrepreneurs visited Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.  This delegation was organized by the U.S. Department of State’s Global Entrepreneurship Program, U.S. Embassies in the region and PNB-NAPEO local advisory boards in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Highlights of the delegation included over 70 young entrepreneurs mentored and trained. As an important follow-up to the delegation, USAID is providing approximately $4 million in funding to identify, train, and connect entrepreneurs in Morocco and Tunisia with each other and to identify sources of financing and guidance.  This will be done in collaboration with the PNB-NAPEO local advisory boards in both countries.

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