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Recognizing Africa’s role in the global knowledge economy.

Open AIR Expansion into Morocco


Victoria Schorr - January 15, 2018 - 0 comments

By Sara Yassine

Over the past six months, the Research Laboratory Entrepreneurship and Management of Organizations (LABO-EMO) and Open AIR have been looking at ways to collaborate on research and activities. The LABO-EMO is a top-tier research unit at Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco, under the Faculty of Administration and Law.

About the LABO-EMO

The mission of the Entrepreneurship and Management of Organizations lab is to conduct research on entrepreneurship and contribute to the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Morocco. To do this, LABO-EMO promotes the creation of new projects and enterprises, develops educational materials on entrepreneurship, and helps organizations, especially NGOs, to make evidence-based decisions. LABO-EMO also works with several partners including the International Labour Organization and Cylatec, on projects such as entrepreneurship for women, e-learning, and entrepreneurship competency.

The primary areas of research for the Labo-EMO concern entrepreneurship dynamics  such as the performance of firms, how to effectively support local businesses, what is the role of social entrepreneurship, how to teach and support entrepreneurship training, how to support entrepreneurial financing, and more.

A Budding Partnership

Back in mid-July 2017, I made an introductory visit to Open AIR’s North African Hub, the Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) at the American University in Cairo (AUC). The objective of this visit was to explore areas of future collaboration between Open AIR and LABO-EMO.  It was a great opportunity to connect with the A2K4D team.

As part of this meeting, LABO-EMO is hoping to create collaborative opportunities for Open AIR within GEM, especially concerning how to measure innovation. The GEM report provides high-quality information on entrepreneurism and the factors that lead to entrepreneurism around the world. It is hoped that GEM data could be an information repository used by Open AIR to better understand how local businesses can scale-up in Africa.

In addition, I also had the opportunity to meet AUC’s Venture Lab (V-Lab) Director, Dr. Ayman Ismail. Like LABO-EMO, Dr. Ayman Ismail is the GEM report leader in Egypt and the V-Lab conducts research in Egypt on start-up and entrepreneurship. Located on AUC’s campus, the V-Lab enables startups to capitalize on AUC’s intellectual capital, world-class facilities, and research capacities. Just like LABO-EMO, the V-Lab’s mission is to help startups commercialize their innovative technologies and business models into viable ventures that contribute to economic growth and job creation.

Since my visit, both the Labo-EMO and A2K4D have maintained close contact and are looking forward to launching joint research studies this year. I want to thank A2K4D for this rich experience and for their hospitality throughout my visit.