Ambassador Bush Remarks
Sofitel in Rabat
March 22, 2016
Distinguished and honored guests, fellow Ambassadors, business leaders, entrepreneurs: Good Morning and Welcome!
As you all know, almost a year and a half ago Morocco was at the center of the entrepreneurial universe, when Morocco hosted the highly successful Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which included top American business leaders and policy makers, including U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden.
This monumental event highlighted how the partnership between the United States and Morocco can positively impact not only Morocco’s entrepreneurial ecosystem but also those of countries around the world.
Following on this global event, the U.S. Mission has continued to work with Morocco to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the monthly publication “Economie and Entreprise” we are here today to explore the power of crowdfunding, specifically its ability to drive innovation and encourage entrepreneurship.
I believe a strong entrepreneurial cultural drives positive economic change and development.
Entrepreneurship not only serves as an engine for innovation, economic growth, and job creation but also as indispensable building block for a peaceful, prosperous, and stable world.
As U.S. President Barack Obama has said on multiple occasions “entrepreneurs create jobs that fortify relationships between countries, build global markets, and help fulfill the dreams of all who desire the freedom to make of their lives what they will.”
Morocco’s entrepreneurial potential is limitless and given the right conditions can be one of this country’s greatest assets.
Morocco’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is strong and growing.
However, as in all countries, the ecosystem’s development is an evolutionary process.
As many of you know I am an entrepreneur and a business man. Over the course of my 2 years here, I have enjoyed meeting and sharing ideas with young Moroccan entrepreneurs.
In sharing my own experiences, I have come to understand a bit about the dreams and aspirations of Moroccan entrepreneurs.
Though everyone has a unique story, Moroccan entrepreneurs face similar challenges to their counterparts around the world.
The Moroccan entrepreneurs I have met cite three main obstacles to success:
1) Fear of failure;
2) Lack of mentorship; and
3) Lack of access to finance.
In my November “Le Matin” op-ed – part of the Embassy’s celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week – I talked at length about these three challenges.
Today, we have the opportunity to discuss one possible solution to the financial constraints facing Moroccan entrepreneurs.
Young entrepreneurs have described the challenges they face securing funding for their businesses.
Outside of Morocco, angel investors and venture capitalists are common sources of funding for early-stage entrepreneurs, but these sources remain scarce in Morocco.
Crowdfunding, a recent financing innovation that is extremely popular in the United States, is an online mechanism that facilitates the pooling of small amounts of capital from a large number of investors to start a business venture.
Crowdfunding has the potential to help Moroccan entrepreneurs in the start-up phase, especially those looking to test a concept or develop a prototype.
Crowdfunding is not currently permitted by Moroccan law.
Our goal today is to forge a path to enable crowdfunding in Morocco; to enable Morocco’s entrepreneurs to flourish and succeed.
Unlocking the power of crowdfunding will help Morocco’s realize its entrepreneurship potential.
We have brought together an excellent group of experts, key policy makers, and dynamic entrepreneurs to chart a course forward.
I sincerely hope that today’s fruitful discussions and exciting exchanges will help make crowdfunding in Morocco a reality.
And my team at the U.S. Embassy and I look forward to continuing our conversations with you about entrepreneurship in Morocco.
Once again, thank you to our partners at the Ministry of Finance and at Economie and Entreprises, and thank you to all of you for making the time to join us today.