happy smala has operated in the crowdfunding domain in Morocco, Africa, and the Middle East since 2014. We began with the launch of smala & co, the first crowdfunding platform for high-impact African projects.
A crowdfunding campaign is effectively a communication campaign that needs preparation to improve its chances of success. The experts at happy smala have developed a methodology to accompany leaders of all types of projects through all types of crowdfunding, that is based on the effectiveness and the strength of mobilizing a crowd to attain contributors.
Due to the legislative restrictions on crowdfunding in Morocco in 2014, smala & co was legally based in France, but operated in Morocco. In parallel, with its team's expertise, happy smala joined a working group to draft and advocate for crowdfunding legislation in Morocco. This group assembled players in the ecosystem, regulators, and lawyers who worked pro bono to help crowdfunding legislation to see the light of day in Morocco.
After smala & co, happy smala launched Wuluj with Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, an online presale platform for entrepreneurs innovating in the MENA region. Wuluj is a go-to-market booster that helps entrepreneurs reach economies of scale by preselling their products and services to their clients. Rewards are generally delivered a few weeks after the end of the campaign. This process allows entrepreneurs with a prototype to test their products with their customers and validate market needs.
Always exploring, the happy smala team took inspiration from existing collaborative models to launch CIWA in 2018. CIWA is a digital solution for securing and managing circular lending (called Dar't in Morocco). It lets a group of people mutually support each other with credit and/or saving needs.
In 2019, the efforts of the group working on the crowdfunding legislation bore fruit when the Moroccan Government Council took interest in the bill and proposed it for a vote at a session of parliament. In January 2020, the House of Representatives voted "yes" on the crowdfunding bill. The parliamentarians were accompanied through the process by the teams of SimSim - Participation Citoyenne, happy smala, and the stakeholders of the ecosystem.
Medi 1 TV: Crowdfunding: Morocco Gets Up to Date
(Crowdfunding : Le Maroc se met à la page)
BBN S2 - Ep 4 - The A to Z of Crowdfunding in Morocco
(Journée du Crowdfunding)
happy smala - MCISE
le360: Entrepreneurship: Crowdfunding for Dummies
(Entrepreneuriat: Le crowdfunding pour les nuls...)
Oumel Ghit Guelzim
General Crowdfunding Presentation (in Darija)
Oumel Ghit Guelzim
Crowdfunding, What is Morocco's Future?
(Le crowdfunding, quel futur pour le Maroc ?)
Everything about crowdfunding
What is collaborative financing or crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is an alternative means of financing, a method that permits enterprises, startups, individuals, or NGOs to call on the greater public to finance a project from a web platform.
How does it work?
Crowdfunding is a mechanism that permits the collection of funds, generally small amounts, from the greater public. The call for financing is done by a description of the specific project through an online platform that collects the funds for the project leader.
Collaborative finance, participative finance. What's the difference?
The two terms are variations of the term crowdfunding. In Morocco, participative finance is a term dedicated to Islamic finance, so Islamic banks are called participative banks. Collaborative finance is the term reserved for crowdfunding in Moroccan law.
What are some examples of crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding existed several centuries before the start of the digital era.
In 1875, the Statue of Liberty was constructed thanks to 260,000 contributors: about 8 million dolllars were collected to construct the statue at the time.
In 2008, Barack Obama's first presidential campaign in the USA raised a record-setting $600 million through small contributions by the general public.
Circular lending (tontine / دارت) : a rotating system of credit and savings between individuals.
Technology has multiplied the impact of this practice by allowing project leaders to attain more contributors outside of the project's geographic area.
What are the types of crowdfunding ?
Donation or crowdgiving is the collection of donations without anything in return. This mostly applies to projects that are charitable, social, artistic, or cultural.
Presale or reward-based crowdfunding is the collection of funds with remuneration expected in return. The project leader repays funders with something material or symbolic in exchange for the amount collected. The reward is delivered several weeks or months after the end of the campaign.
Participatory investment or crowdequity permits people to invest in startups with strong growth and scalability potential and become shareholders.
Loans or crowdlending is a method where the project leader must repay their lenders, with or without interest. The model with interest is often used by SMEs or entrepreneurs looking for working or investment capital.
What are the advantages of crowdfunding?
Depending on the type of crowdfunding chosen by the project leader, this kind of financing can have several advantages:
Helping underprivileged communities reach contributors to support a social or environmental cause
Testing Product/Market Fit and acquiring a startup's first clients in the prototype phase of their products and services
Accessing loans with lower credit history requirements, less substantial prerequisites, and easier procedures than classic systems
Attaining potential investors without negotiating a company valuation
Do Moroccan crowdfunding platforms exist?
Since 2014, a few crowdfunding platforms have begun operating in Morocco. Today, the following platforms are still operational:
Cotizi: the first free and secure online service dedicated to the collection of donations and the launch of petitions in Morocco and the MENA region. Associations can more easily collect funds calling on the generosity of internet users. It also lets any person or organization give voice to a concrete collective opinion of citizens.
Wuluj: the first presale platform dedicated to startups and enterprises with innovative products in a prototype phase. Wuluj allows them to presell their product online and validate their product/market fit.
CIWA: a digital platform for collective lending and saving, an informally used model called, "Dar't" or "9or3a". CIWA offers its users access to a system that is digital, secure, and transparent.
Flowingo: a platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. Flowingo lets entrepreneurs showcase their startup, while expressing their investment needs. Investors, in turn, have a large selection of startups to invest in.
Is this mode of financing adequate for all entrepreneurs?
Crowdfunding is a very flexible means of financing, limited only by the will of the communities that want to support the project. That said, it is more adapted to B2C projects, those that target individuals. Gathering small sums from many people, "backers" in our jargon, is easier to achieve with individuals than with companies.
In our experience, cultural and creative projects, like fashion and accessories, music, books, and comics, generate a lot of interest from Moroccans. Charitable and humanitarian projects, like annual back-to-school campaigns for school supplies, are equally supported by the greater public. New collaborative lending and investing markets are developing quickly in the Middle East and we find that they could become a substantial means of financing for SMEs.
How do crowdfunding platforms work?
A crowdfunding platform recruits projects to promote with defined fundraising objectives. These projects, thanks to intensive communication campaigns, convince backers to contribute to a campaign that has a limited duration (15-60 days on average). If the platform uses the "all-or-nothing" model, the project must meet or surpass its funding goal to obtain the funds. Otherwise, they get whatever amount they have raised. The platform receives a percentage of the sum collected (5-10% on average) if the campaign succeeds.
At what stage can an entrepreneur launch a crowdfunding campaign?
This depends on the type of project and the type of financing being sought, but in general, an entrepreneur can launch a presale campaign as soon as he/she has a complete prototype of their product or service and a plan to produce enough to satisfy the orders of their community of backers.
Before launching a collaborative lending or investment campaign, the project must already be in the commercialization phase and see growth: since the financing amounts are more substantial, so are the expectations of the backers.
What are the principle stages of a crowdfunding campaign launch?
Know your financial needs: Make a list of elements to finance through the crowdfunding campaign and calculate your budget.
Choose the platform: This stage depends on several criteria since each platform is specialized in one type of crowdfunding and operates in specific geographic zones. The criteria to take into account are: type of project, stage of project, business model of the platform, and geographic region in which the platform operates.
Prepare the project page: All platforms set up a page where contributors can find each project. You must present your project simply and efficiently to attract the maximum number of contributors.
List potential contributors: This is a crucial step before launching the campaign because it allows you to create a complete community map for the project, from the people closest to the project leader all the way to the general public.
Plan communications: It is important to prepare an online and offline communication plan: the channels, the publications, the events, the press releases...
Is there a law governing crowdfunding in Morocco?
Bill 15.18, a Moroccan bill of collaborative financing and crowdfunding, was unanimously voted in January 2020 by the House of Representatives of the Kingdom of Morocco. A second stage of validation remains to be put into effect by the House of Councillors of the Kingdom of Morocco.