EBRD and EU support women entrepreneurs in Morocco

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BEO events and communications agency benefits from the Women in Business programme. According to EBRD, Amina Moumny used to work for one of the most prestigious international hotels in Morocco’s cosmopolitan Casablanca. She loved her job as director of banqueting and seminars – meeting clients from various backgrounds, organising large events and ensuring that all guests had a memorable time.

She always had one dream, though: to run her own communications and events agency.

“I gained wide experience in organising major indoor and outdoor events: large conventions, gala receptions, cocktail parties, catering services,” she remembers. “I managed a wide portfolio of national and international clients, which gave me great confidence in myself. At the same time, I always wanted to start my own agency and continue to provide my customers with a well-developed, high-quality service.”

Amina was the very first client of the EBRD’s Women in Business programme in Morocco. The Bank works with local partner financial institutions, such as Bank of Africa/BMCE Group, to provide female entrepreneurs with access to the finance they need to develop their businesses. They can also avail of the Advice for Small Businesses initiative, for example, on marketing, accounting or achieving quality certifications.

The programme in Morocco is supported by the European Union under the EU Initiative for Financial Inclusion.

The loan gave Amina the opportunity to develop and expand her agency, Banquet Exhibition Organisation (BEO), throughout Morocco and to build a diverse client base. Her portfolio already included several large companies, organisations and insurance companies. She has now managed to extend that list to well-known international companies in the automotive and beverage sectors. Women in Business has also helped her to keep her business going during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“We were able to obtain a framework contract to manage a large-scale event site,” Amina explains. “It will be the most luxurious site in Casablanca, with a capacity of 600 people. We are already receiving requests for quotations. This has allowed us to gain good public exposure already this year.”

It is also part of our business to think of all eventualities, Amina says. For exhibitions, conference, weddings and other events, this is likely to involve elaborate hygiene facilities for some time to come. “We ensure that customers have a safe and enjoyable experience with masks, disinfectants, proper airflow and sufficient space, training for personnel and many more measures,” she says.

BEO’s activities are diverse enough to weather any storm, she continues. This currently includes, for example, the organisation of an online conference and business-to-business meetings to promote foreign trade for the Thai food industry in Morocco. The agency also continues to pursue its usual advertising and communications activities.

Amina’s company is one of more than 200 that have benefited from loans under the Women in Business programme in Morocco. They include a wide range of female entrepreneurs – from an exclusive pastry producer to textile manufacturers and even a local coffee-roasting company.

“Providing new opportunities to women entrepreneurs is one of our key goals in building an inclusive economy,” says Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, Head of the EBRD’s Morocco office. “This leads to significant benefits for both the businesses themselves, as they can expand successfully, and economic activity as a whole, as it supports new, successful business ideas across the whole country.”

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Claudia Wiedey, Ambassador of the European Union to Morocco, says: “Amina Moumny, as the first beneficiary of the Women in Business programme, illustrates the great, concrete potential of financial inclusion programmes. Gender equality is a joint priority of the Morocco-EU partnership. Ms Moumny’s success paves the way for greater systematic support in this area, even more so in the post-Covid-19 recovery process.”

There is real demand for and interest in the Women in Business programme, Amina explains.

“My experience is that nothing and no one should stop you from making your dream come true. If you love your job, work hard and are dedicated to your business, then you will succeed with it. Evolution is event-driven. The event will spur progress and, by presenting an opportunity, it will lead to transformation.”

by By Volker Ahlemeyer

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