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    HomeAnalysis & OpinionsWhy Are More North African Startups Emigrating to France?

    Why Are More North African Startups Emigrating to France?

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    In recent times, an increasing number of startups from North Africa, particularly the Maghreb region, comprising Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia, have found a new home in France. This migration trend is noteworthy, with companies such as Algeria’s Yassir, Tunisia’s Save Your Wardrobe and Winshot, and Morocco’s Sobrus and Cloudfret either fully relocating or establishing regional branch offices in France. The allure of France as a hub for North African startups is multifaceted, with factors ranging from enhanced access to funds, larger markets, and a thriving pool of migrating talent.

    Access to Funding

    One significant driving force behind this trend is the heightened access to funding in France. Notably, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia are predominantly French-speaking countries, and many investors from French-speaking African nations have their headquarters in France. This proximity has naturally led startups to gravitate towards France, seeking to overcome the persistent challenge of limited access to funding in their home countries. An illustrative example is Save Your Wardrobe’s recent establishment of an office in Paris, a strategic move aimed at tapping into the financial opportunities that France presents.

    Hasna Kourda, CEO of Save Your Wardrobe, explains, “France is currently at the forefront of promoting maintenance and repair initiatives. This year, the country took a significant step forward with the creation of the Repair Fund (a €154m Fund), thereby taking the lead in promoting a culture of circularity and responsible consumption. In line with this vision, our new French office is ready to play a central role in promoting the principles of maintenance, repair, and post-purchase responsibility.”

    Access to a Larger Market

    The relocation to foreign markets, particularly France, has enabled North African startups to serve larger clients and expand their horizons. For instance, Expensya from Tunisia has secured multi-million dollar contracts with major conglomerates in Europe, such as Le groupe Electricité de France (EDF). The move to France has not only broadened the startup’s clientele but has also facilitated partnerships with other European industry giants like Uber, Orange Business Services, Microsoft, H&M, and more.

    Omar Sefiani, co-founder of Sobrus, underscores the strategic importance of positioning in France, stating, “Deployment in Lille, France serves as a catalyst for growth in an established, mature, and competitive European market.”

    Access to Migrating Talent

    The pursuit of talent is another crucial aspect of the migration wave. While tech talents in North Africa may opt to stay home, a significant portion is increasingly migrating to Europe. France, facing an anticipated deficit of 400,000 tech talents by 2030, has become a magnet for these skilled individuals. The cross-border migration of North African startups aims to tap into this talent pool and shift the competition for skills to a new battleground.

    The phenomenon of brain drain, often considered a challenge for North African countries, is viewed as an opportunity by countries seeking skilled professionals. France, in particular, has implemented initiatives like the “French Tech Visa” to encourage professional immigration in the digital field, simplifying visa application procedures for innovative companies.

    Sami Nasr, a sociologist, emphasizes the changing dynamics, stating, “The culture of failure is no longer bearable in Tunisia. A young graduate can no longer be content to watch his neighbor, who has immigrated illegally abroad and found a job, while he, with his degrees in hand, remains unemployed.”

    In essence, the surge of North African startups to France is a complex interplay of access to funding, larger markets, and the pursuit of migrating talent — a strategic dance that shapes the landscape of the startup ecosystem on both sides of the Mediterranean.

    The story by Charles Rapulu Udoh first appeared on Afrikan Heroes.com.

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