Al Karama Foundation Finances Morocco’s Female Led Start-Ups
In March 31st, 2000 the Al Karama Foundation for Microfinance embarked on a mission to promote the development of the poorer classes of Morocco. The Rabat-based organization was created in response to observing the financial depression among many families in Morocco. The traditional banking system excludes serving the poorer classes and Al Karama opposes these conservative methods. The organization helps individuals from uneducated or illiterate backgrounds acquire small loans for their startups.
Al Karama Foundation helps individuals from uneducated backgrounds acquire small loans for startups.
As of June 2019, Al Karama has assigned the majority of their loans to social impact projects and female entrepreneurs, who make up 62% of their customer base. Media outlets reporting about Africa’s growing entrepreneurial scene have stated that the continent is seeing quick growth in this area, mostly male-led. According to a 2016 study by Venture Capital for Africa, a Netherlands-based organization for startups, reported there are only 9% female-led businesses in Africa.
Al Karama, which means dignity in Arabic, is working to change this. Among its missions is to change the social educational complex of Morocco. The organization is inspired by Morocco’s hardworking women leading their families. Al Karama’s micro-financing system has been especially helpful for bakery and fruit stand businesses.
The process of granting a loan involves speaking to members of the individual’s community to learn if they are responsible and capable of paying it back. Since it’s opening, Al Karama’s has served 16,200 customers throughout its 46 branches. It has a Gross Loan Portfolio valued at MAD 35,4 million (USD 4.2 million).