Nearly 80 participants gathered on June 3 in a
pleasant and warm atmosphere that only a guest house like "Le Carré
Français" can offer for the Jumia Market Entrepreneurs Club's launch to
discuss public relations practices for start-up.
Communications, especially public relations, were at the center of the discussion, the first of its kind held in partnership with StartUpYourLife under the theme "How to communicate in the media when you are a start-up in Morocco".
Discussion was led by a panel consisting of:
– Mr. Reda Essakalli, Director of Strategy and Development at Mosaïk, one the leading Communications agencies in Morocco
– Mrs. Aissam Fathia, former President of OJD Morocco and Managing Director of Kenzmédia.
And since only a start-up can effectively provide orientation, guidance, and counseling to other start-ups, given both share the same challenges and face the same realities on the ground, Yassir Ismaili and Nabil Sebti, the CEO and Founders of successful startups Careem and Nssnss.ma, respectively, were part of the panel to cover the "Experience Sharing" aspect of the discussion.
At 7:30pm, after registration and a fruitful networking session, the workshop began. "The first workshop of a long series to support Moroccan entrepreneurs on the educational component," announced Sevan Marian, Country Manager of Jumia Market Morocco, during his opening speech. "We would like to accompany Moroccan entrepreneurs, at our humble level, by becoming an intermediary between them and successful professionals able to mentor them on disciplines they will choose themselves," Mr. Marian added.
The moderator announced the schedule of events. 30 minutes were devoted to providing an overview of public relations for start-ups in Morocco. Then, the participants took the lead. "We want this session to be driven by you. The panel is here to serve you, so don't hesitate to bother them with as many questions as you have" she gently required.
Much advice was shared during the overview of public relations. The advice can be summarized as follows: "Before wanting the journalists to know more about you, know more about them, get to know them and their editorial lines better," advised Mr. Fathia. For Reda Essakalli, working on quality and relevant editorial content is crucial. "Before contacting journalists, as entrepreneurs you should define the key messages of your company, its vision, its business model, how it differentiates itself from the competition. Master your start-up's identity before trying to contact the media, or any potential partner or stakeholder, for that matter," insisted Mr. Essakalli.
Nabil Sebti made a relevant point by explaining that even if the article is not about the start-up, it could be valuable to the company "Try to be featured in as many articles as possible that cover your sector or your profession," he suggested.
For Yassir Ismaili, press relations is only one substantial part of public relations. As part of sharing Careem's experience in PR, Yassir advised entrepreneurs to focus and try to promote their start-ups on the company's different stakeholders.
To close the panel, Reda Essakalli reminded the audience of the importance of adapting messages to the different editorial lines of the Moroccan media. "You have the chance to live in a country that offers a diversified media landscape. When talking to a Business daily newspaper, it is preferable to define your company's business-mode, ambition, and perspective. When targeting a fashion magazine, opt for a slightly lighter approach, feature your products, and if you have the budget, invite journalists to an informal event."
After thirty minutes, the present start-ups took the lead. Kenza Lahlou of StartUpYourLife gave the floor to three promising entrepreneurs to share their public relations stories. Kenza Bennani, Founder of MySportner, and Ismail Bargach explained how participating in international contests were an asset that helped them promote their companies. Ali Lakrakbi, Founder of AirMote stated how a corporate video uploaded on Youtube created a "snowball effect" and was shared by hundreds of people in a small amount of time.
All in all, the launch of the Jumia Market Entrepreneurs Club has not reneged on its commitment to provide educational insights to entrepreneurs. The first workshop was informative and productive, the atmosphere very pleasant, and the Q&A session interactive.
This successful event most importantly sends a noble message: It is possible to support entrepreneurship in Morocco, and start-ups need this support.
As Mr. Marian said during his opening speech, "The best is yet to come." The positive feedback provided by entrepreneurs at the end of the workshop suggests the same.