Yassine Laghzioui heads up the Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique’s (UM6P) new investment arm, which is tasked with advancing entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa and beyond.
What factors led to the formation of UM6P Ventures?
UM6P Ventures emerged as an extension of UM6P, an innovation-driven university focused on projects that address the challenges of Africa and the world. We knew that transforming technology into thriving businesses required more than support programmes. So, to bridge the gap between ground-breaking ideas and successful commercialisation, we established UM6P Ventures. Despite limited venture capital in the region, we saw immense potential.
What criteria does UM6P Ventures use to identify new opportunities?
Our focus is on early-stage ventures that have disruptive potential and are led by ambitious founders with a link to either Morocco or Africa. We prioritise agtech, energy tech, water and health tech, and green tech – domains with extensive reach.
Is your focus on economic impact or quality-of-life impact?
It is on making an impact economically and improving lives. We want to “do well by doing good”. For instance, in health tech, we address pressing healthcare challenges in Africa with cutting-edge solutions. And in green tech, we back startups for a more sustainable planet. Our vision extends beyond profits: it’s about progress and meaningful impact.
What makes Morocco an exciting landscape for start-ups and SMEs?
Morocco is a booming hub for startups and SMEs. UM6P offers an unmatched campus for innovation and abundant talent fuels a dynamic tech ecosystem. Positioned strategically between Europe, the US and the Middle East, Morocco opens doors to a world of opportunities and serves as a gateway to Africa. Investors find enticing prospects and tax benefits while entrepreneurs thrive in a stable, business-friendly environment.