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Scaling-up Collaborative Business

Models in the Mediterranean Region:

Photo: Marc Metni

Analysis of Case Studies on Collaborative Economy Projects


in the Middle East and North Africa Region

Coordination and Supervision: Burcu Tuner, Regional Activity Centre


for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC)
Author: Asmaa Guedira, OuiShare Global Connector and MENA Coordinator.
Cover Design: Folch
Date of publication: December 2015

SwitchMed
Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC)
Mediterranean Action PlanUnited Nations Environment Programme
Regional Centre under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site Nostra Senyora de la Merc Pavillion
Carrer Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167. 08025 Barcelona (Catalunya) Spain
T:. +34 93 553 87 82
F:. +34 93 882 36 37
M: +34 671 512771
E-mail: btuncer@scprac.org
www.switchmed.eu
b a j

SwitchMed Programme is implemented by United Nations Industrial


Development Organization (UNIDO), UNEP Division of Technology,
Industry and Economics (DTIE) and UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan
(MAP), with Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption
and Production (SCP/RAC) as main executive agency.

SwitchMed Programme is
funded by the European Union

In collaboration with Ouishare

Table of contents
1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................... 4
2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY................................................................................................... 5
3 SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY............................................................................................. 5
3.1

METHODOLOGY

3.2

GEOGRAPHY

3.3

SELECTION PROCESS

3.4

PROJECTS

3.4.1

Co-working and alternative places: Remodeling Space

3.4.2

Carpooling and carsharing: Rethinking Mobility

3.4.3

Circular design and craft: Sustaining Tourism and Crafts

4 PANORAMA ........................................................................................................................ 10
4.1

THE GLOBAL COLLABORATIVE ECONOMY TREND

10

4.2

SPECIFICITIES OF MENA REGION

11

4.3

COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION BUSINESS MODELS

12

5 CASE STUDIES ................................................................................................................... 13


5.1

OVERVIEW OF THE PROJECTS BUSINESS MODELS

13

5.2

PROJECTS FOCUS

15

5.2.1

HBR Creative Platform (Lebanon)

15

5.2.1.1

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 15

5.2.1.2

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 15

Debbo52 (Tunisia)

16

5.2.1.3

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 16

5.2.1.4

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 16

5.2.2

Tilli Tanit (Tunisia)

17

5.2.2.1

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 17

5.2.2.2

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 17

5.2.3

Orange Bleue Maghreb (Morocco)

18

5.2.3.1

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 18

5.2.3.2

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 18

5.2.4

Karhebtna (Tunisia)

19

5.2.4.1

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 19

5.2.4.2

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 19

5.2.5

Kartag (Egypt)

20

5.2.5.1

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 20

5.2.5.2

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 20

5.2.6

Carmine (Morocco)

21

5.2.6.1

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 21

5.2.6.2

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 21

5.2.7

Sheaply (Morocco)

22

5.2.7.1

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 22

5.2.7.2

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 22

5.2.8

Craft Draft (Morocco)

23

5.2.8.1

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 23

5.2.8.2

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 23

5.2.9

Anou (Morocco)

24

5.2.9.1

Business Model ..................................................................................................... 24

5.2.9.2

SWOT.................................................................................................................... 24

5.2.10

Waste (Lebanon)

25

5.2.10.1

Business Model ................................................................................................... 25

5.2.10.2

SWOT ................................................................................................................. 25

5.2.11

El Mensej (Tunisia)

26

5.2.11.1

Business Model ................................................................................................... 26

5.2.11.2

SWOT ................................................................................................................. 26

6 OVERALL SYNTHESIS ....................................................................................................... 27


6.1

ADDRESSING REGIONAL CHALLENGES

27

6.1.1

Building Trust & Community

27

6.1.2

Including Gender

28

6.1.3

Addressing sustainability

29

6.1.4

The financing issue

30

6.2

IMPLEMENTING KEY SUCCESS TOOLS

31

7 FINAL OVERVIEW AND PERSPECTIVES ......................................................................... 32


7.1

REMODELING SPACE

32

7.2

RETHINKING MOBILITY

33

7.3

SUSTAINING TOURISM AND CRAFTS

34

7.4

CONCLUSION AND PERSPECTIVES

36

8 APPENDIX ........................................................................................................................... 38

Introduction

The SwitchMed Program aims at facilitating the shift toward Sustainable Consumption
and Production in southern Mediterranean countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt,
Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Israel, Algeria and Libya. The programme is about
changing the way goods and services are produced, sold and consumed, so that
human development and satisfaction of human needs is decoupled from
environmental degradation.
OuiShare is an international community of innovators working together on emerging
paradigms such as collaborative economy, open source manufacturing, decentralized
organizations and zero waste societies.
The vision of the SwitchMed program, especially the Green Entrepreneurship and
Civil Society Empowerment activities, has many synergies with the mission of
OuiShare: build and nurture a collaborative society, by connecting people,
organizations and ideas around fairness, openness and trust. We believe that
economic, political and social systems based on these values can solve many of the
complex challenges the world faces, and enable everyone to access to the resources
and opportunities they need to thrive.
OuiShare activities consist of building communities, producing knowledge and
incubating projects around the topics of collaborative practices, as well as offering
support to individuals and organizations through professional services and education.
During the last year, OuiShare has been expanding in the MENA (Middle East And
North Africa) region, with communities growing in Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria,
Tunisia, Israel, Palestine, and Egypt.
Therefore, OuiShare and SwitchMed decided to get involved in coordinating the
development of actions for sustaining and expanding the pilot activities of the
SwitchMed Initiative, related to collaborative consumption business models and
circular economy business models.

Figure 1: OuiShare Global Network


Source: OuiShare official presentation

Purpose of the study

The following study is a first collaboration step, aiming at identifying key leverage
points for scaling-up sustainable collaborative economy and society initiatives and
green entrepreneurship ones, based on 12 case studies selected among the MENA
region.
It describes the challenges and opportunities for scaling-up, based on the different
projects business models.
This study is based on ground research. The MENA region has been lately witnessing
a lot of creativity and ideas emerging, resulting in a combination of collaborative
economy, social and green entrepreneurship and digital innovation initiatives.
These young innovative projects are building bridges between their local traditional
heritage and creative entrepreneurship concepts. There are different business models
rising, and we are analyzing how the different projects are building and sustaining
them. The overall goal is to identify what they need to scale individually and to
replicate in the region as well.

3
3.1

Scope and Methodology


Methodology

To conduct this study, we selected some projects among countries well known by
OuiShare and that are representative of the collaborative economy in the MENA area.
We sent them a set of questions1 to gather their data, and conducted one to one
interviews as well. This data was analysed through the collaborative economy
framework developed by OuiShare2.
This process allowed us to assess the projects business models and analyse their
strengths and weaknesses, as well as see the opportunities they have and the threats
they are facing.
We were therefore able to identify some common key challenges3 thanks to the
answers and data from the participants. Our conclusions were based on the interview
questions (Appendix 1), online research and personal analysis. Each project has been
attributed a score on a scale from 1 to 5, depending on how strong it addresses the
challenge in its business model and how far it is included in its strategy. For example,
a project that both recycles materials and promotes low environmental impact
behaviors internally would be ranked 5 on the addressing sustainability challenge.

see Appendix 1
see Sharevolution study developped by OuiShare and the New generation internet foundation in France (FING)
3
see Part 6.1
2

The same methodology has been used to find the key leverage points4. The score
from 1 to 5 was given regarding how each project was performing on the success
tools, and how much it was included in their strategy. For instance a project using a
digital platform and a mobile application with a fluid user experience is more likely to
score 5 on the using disruptive technology leverage point.

3.2

Geography

In all over the world the collaborative economy has helped people solve many of
todays most complex challenges.
The disruptive potential of these models in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
region is enormous, but challenges still lie ahead because there is little knowledge
about the collaborative economy ecosystems in the region.
Scope of the study
As we wanted our study to rely on concrete cases and active communities, we have
decided to focus on the countries where OuiShare MENA connectors are strongly
involved, as well as another country were we are building strong communities:
Morocco
Tunisia
Lebanon
Egypt

3.3

Selection process

We selected twelve cases in the four countries mentioned before. We really aimed at
showing a variety of business models among innovative social, sustainable and
collaborative projects.
The selection was also aligned with the scope of the Green Entrepreneurship activities
in the SwitchMed target countries. We tried to seek environmental and social impact
from the start when selecting the projects. Indeed, some of these cases were selected
as Switchers - individuals, enterprises or civil society organizations that have been
able to develop an ecological and social innovative solution, making an impact for
sustainable living within the Mediterranean region, and contributing to the switch to a
sustainable and fair consumption and production pattern. All these projects are
showcased on the Switchers online platform: www.switchers.org.
The cases aim at representing the transformation in three crucial sectors in the MENA
region. These topics are at the same time challenges to solve and great opportunities:
Co-working and alternative places: Remodeling Space
Carpooling and car-sharing: Rethinking Mobility
Circular design and craft: Sustaining Tourism and Crafts

see Part 6.2

3.4 Projects
3.4.1 Co-working

and

alternative

places:

Remodeling

Space

HBR Creative Platform, Lebanon


Coworking space, incubator and
maker space, for designers and
entrepreneurs.

Debbo52, Tunisia
Coworking space
projects incubator.

and

artistic

Orange
Bleue
Maghreb,
Morocco
Social incubator, permaculture
garden, and maker space.

Tilli Tanit, Tunisia


Coworking and coproduction
space for women embroiderers
and young designers.

3.4.2 Carpooling and car-sharing: Rethinking Mobility

Sheaply, Morocco
P2P shipping platform, connecting
travellers with package shippers.

Carmine, Morocco
Car-sharing platform.

Karhebtna, Tunisia
Long distance carpooling platform.

Kartag, Egypt
Short distance carpooling platform.

3.4.3 Circular design and craft: Sustaining Tourism and Crafts

Craft Draft, Morocco


Open access craft community for
locals and foreign visitors in Fez.

El Mensej Nefta, Tunisia


Collaborative social project for
women
making
rugs
and
accessories from second hand
clothes.

Waste, Lebanon
Collaborative design and craft of
bags, accessories, and furniture
from sustainable and recycled
materials.

Anou, Morocco
Collaborative C2C digital platform
allowing rural craftsmen to sell
handmade local products worldwide.

4
4.1

Panorama
The global collaborative economy trend

Since 2010, OuiShare has been witnessing through its network the rise of new
business models, all over the world, empowered by the Internet and social medias. In
order to analyse them, we have been conducting various studies and analysis trying to
explain and bring together different phenomena into one coherent vision. Together
with other thinkers and thought leaders, we have called this new paradigm the
Collaborative Economy. It has transformed the way we consume, finance, learn and
produce through building organized networks of connected individuals and
communities based on sharing, collaboration and openness. This new paradigm
allows us to design our economic relations differently, in addition to improving
business and market opportunities.
FOCUS 1 Collaborative Economy Categories
THE SHARING ECONOMY OR COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Collaborative consumption is the seamless circulation of products and services among
individuals through sharing, swapping, trading, renting, borrowing or giving, fostering access
over ownership and reducing waste.
CROWDFUNDING AND PERSON-TO-PERSON BANKING
Crowdfunding and person-to-person banking enable the circulation of capital between
individuals to fund creative, social and entrepreneurial projects.
OPEN KNOWLEDGE
Open knowledge enables anyone to freely use, reuse, and redistribute knowledge such as
content, data, code or designs. This principle is the foundation of commons-based peer
production (such as free software, the creative commons, open science) as well as open
education, open data and open governance.
MAKERS, OPEN DESIGN & MANUFACTURING
Open design and manufacturing democratize the process of designing, producing and
distributing physical goods by combining open knowledge with distributed infrastructures.
They rely on tools, spaces, communities and marketplaces and are fueled by the maker
movement, the culture of hacking and Do-It-Yourself (DIY).
OPEN AND HORIZONTAL GOVERNANCE
Open and horizontal governance are transforming organizations, public services and civic
action. Leading examples include civic engagement platforms, participatory budgeting, open
government initiatives, cooperatives, open value networks, horizontal organizations, swarms,
doocracries and holacracies.
Source: www.ouishare.net

10

The collaborative economy is defined as initiatives based on horizontal networks and


participation of a community. It is built on "distributed power and trust within
communities as opposed to centralized institutions" (R. Botsman)5, blurring the lines
between producer and consumer. These communities meet and interact on online
networks and peer-to-peer platforms, as well as in shared spaces such as fablabs or
hacker and maker spaces and co-working spaces.

4.2

Specificities of MENA region

As said above, these new business models and dynamics have scaled in an
exponential way thanks to the use of social media and digital platforms, and Internet in
general.
In the MENA region, the collaborative economy has emerged in a slightly different
form, as the practices and principles of sharing and collaborating are not new. Sharing
of household and consumer goods or rides and cars has been a very common way of
life. The historical values and culture within the whole region have always involved a
collaborative lifestyle, relying on the community. We still find these strong links in rural
areas or within families, where the sense of tribe is dominant. But with economic
development and fast cities growth, the individualistic way of living has gained
strength, and the sharing behavior has lessened in urban life.
Indeed MENA countries are undergoing profound changes, in various areas:
Political Transition: unemployment, inequality, social and territorial disparities call
for economic democratization and direction of the productive system towards
satisfying the needs of people.
Economic Transition: the need to overcome a model of growth and development
that has shown its limits and commit to a sustainable and inclusive model.
Social Transition: the actors of the collaborative economy and society are willing
to contribute to changes taking place in MENA societies by developing modes of
governance and regulation and by experimenting with new responses to the
tensions and imbalances in these countries.
Demographic transition: the emergence of new needs among populations partly
reflects the socio-demographic changes, in particular regarding women, youth and
people over 60 years. Social protection (old age, illness, disability, etc.) and health
are two major priorities MENA is facing today.
The challenges of collaborative economy and society development in the MENA
region are particularly relevant at this time given the socio-economic context and on5

Whats mine is yours, Rachel Botsman, 2010.

NB: she recently published a new definition of the collaborative economy: Systems that unlock value from underused
assets* by matching needs and haves in ways that bypass traditional intermediaries and distribution channels".
(source: https://medium.com/@rachelbotsman/the-sharing-economy-dictionary-of-commonly-used-termsd1a696691d12#.5wbg644zq)

11

going transitions in the region. In addition, the collaborative economy can prove to be
a promising sector as a vector of mutual relations between the North and South of the
Mediterranean. The role of the collaborative economy is fundamental in providing
innovative answers to social and economic development needs that are poorly or not
met in territories facing multiple changes.

4.3

Collaborative consumption business models

Consuming differently is the first step of shifting towards a more circular and
collaborative economy. When changing the way we share goods and services, we are
more able to change the whole system by teaching, learning, designing and
producing, and even relate to money differently.
When we talk about collaborative consumption we cover various cooperation models
(around the redistribution of property, functionality, P2P services, local systems) and
various stakeholders. OuiShare drew up a map of the offer, its actors and
ecosystems6. It shows a great diversity of actors (major platforms, smaller players), a
coexistence of merchant models and non-market models, differences of scale (local
vs. global), etc. These new players disrupt established organizations and sectors with
their distributed business models.
Collaborative consumption, the so-called sharing economy also leads to question the
objects and terms of sharing. If it continues to grow, the objects could be designed to
meet the upstream sharing practices; places should be designed to facilitate
circulation, stimulate trade and equip collective projects in the territories.

FOCUS 2 Sharing Economy or Collaborative Consumption?


COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Systems that reinvent traditional market behaviors - renting, lending, swapping, sharing,
bartering, gifting -in ways and on a scale not possible before the Internet.
Note: When using this term, we need to consider whether the behavior around exchanging
assets changes and becomes more efficient through technology.
SHARING ECONOMY
Systems that facilitate the sharing of underused assets or services, for free or for a fee,
directly between individuals or organizations."
Note: When using this term, consider whether the example unlocks the value of an
underused asset be it space, skills or stuff, and whether the user behavior involves sharing.
Source: https://medium.com/@rachelbotsman/the-sharing-economy-dictionary-of-commonly-used-termsd1a696691d12#.5wbg644zq

see also appendix 1

12

Due to the reinvention of market behaviors and the optimization of underused assets,
collaborative consumption also appears to have a positive influence on the
environment. If it is easy to say at a glance that the sharing economy lowers our
environmental impact, some research have been exploring this question to measure
with data the real impact.
A study from the Iddri7, a French research center has recently stated that
sustainability, as a long-term social behaviour is a necessary condition for a positive
environmental impact: Sharing practices open new areas of innovation for ecological
transition through distinguishing the users of the object by reassessing more or less
radically property. In addition, if the sharing initially seems a matter of quantity of
goods, the quality of shared property appears as a key condition for the reduction of
the environmental impact of sharing models.
At the end, of the opportunities available, it seems that collaborative consumption
could contribute to meeting social and environmental challenges, but also challenges
faced by certain populations, such as youth, especially in the MENA region. This last
point is particularly true regarding the initiatives that we will analyse here. The
collaborative consumption initiatives in the MENA region are often including a social
and sustainable component.

5
5.1

Case Studies
Overview of the projects business models

We analysed our panel of projects following the Sharevolution framework8, sorting


them through the four main existing models9:
Re-distribution systems, which give individuals access to resell, gift or barter of
various objects;
Product-service systems, which describe all hiring practices, lending and sharing
hardware resources between individuals (here, there is no transfer of ownership). It
can also be called the service economy;
Peer-to-peer services (on-demand services) services between individuals in
general, including carpooling, jobs and classes;
Cooperative local systems relying on the mobilization of local communities
without resorting to an online platform, like short circuits, etc.

Available here (in French): http://www.iddri.org/Evenements/Interventions/ST0314_DD%20ASN_eco%20partage.pdf

see Figure 2
source: http://magazine.ouishare.net/2015/04/sharevolution-is-now-available-in-english/

13

Figure 2: The Sharevolution framework


Source: OuiShare and la FING

When referring to the Sharevolution framework above, we can see that our twelve
projects are built on different business models. We we will analyse them in detail
further in the study.

Figure 3: Analysis of the projects business models through the sharing economy framework
Source: Authors analysis

14

5.2 Projects focus


5.2.1 HBR Creative Platform (Lebanon)
HBR is a creative platform and design lab. It is a co-working and maker space where
designers and creative minds meet to share innovative ideas, and design and
prototype them.
HBR mission is to provide a space that bridges the gap between designers and
market, to collaborate and co-design solutions for better living.
Activities:
Fab Lab: access to all machinery needed for fast prototyping eco-friendly services;
Consulting: environmental friendly solutions for businesses and municipalities;
Partnerships programs: Unit for Research and Innovation in Design and Unit for
Industrial Design, promoting eco-friendly living;
Learning Platform: mentoring and training, workshops and courses.
5.2.1.1 Business Model
Team: 6 people, in addition to collaboration and outsourcing with their community
on given projects;
Initial funding: Personal investment and bank loan;
Revenue: monthly or annual subscription, in addition to consulting services;
Governance: SARL (classic company structure).
5.2.1.2 SWOT

Strengths
Collaboration between designers and
mentors in one space
Fab Lab: tools for prototyping fast

Weaknesses
Little revenue
Difficulty to implement other services
for digital fabrication and electronics

Low environmental impact: up-cycling


material used; bike messenger service
Promotion of eco-design and living and
sustainable solutions through programs
and mentoring
Instability of the political environment
Lack of knowledge / skills (brain drain)

Recruiting more talented and skilled


people

Lack of collaboration culture in the


country

Incubator
support

Threats

and

trainings

for

more

Opportunities

15

Debbo52 (Tunisia)
Debbo 52 is an interdisciplinary space and incubator of artistic projects at the center of
Tunis. Its an open co-working and maker space where artists meet and collaborate,
along with mentors. It is located in an industrial and working class area.
The project aims at improving the local environment and residents quality of life. Its
mission is to encourage the culture of risk taking and artistic innovation, production
and distribution in the arts through mentoring young independent artists to achieve
their artistic projects, and opening a space for sharing, designed for musicians,
photographers, designers, journalists, activists, designers, programmers, NGOs, etc.
Activities
Mentoring and incubations of artistic projects: music, digital arts, visual arts,
theater, cinema, etc.;
Good and services bartering;
Art classes for children;
Music concerts.
5.2.1.3 Business Model
Team: 6 people;
Initial funding: cultural resources, Friedrich Ebert foundation, self- financing;
Revenue: bartering, time bank. No money flow despite fundraising;
Governance: Association Taabir.
5.2.1.4 SWOT
Strengths

Weaknesses

Network and Collaboration

Lack of financing (no income)

Fostering creativity among a poor area

No food or drinks services offered


(difficulty to attract / retain people)

Hybrid shared space


Innovative idea (first in Tunisia)
Bartering
Recycled materiel and up-cycled furniture
from plastic and wood waste
Including sustainability in the selection
projects criteria
Instability of the political environment

Opening a garden / green space

Difficult access to financing

Work space development

Lack of sharing culture


Threats

Opportunities
16

5.2.2 Tilli Tanit (Tunisia)


Tilli Tanit is a social enterprise. It is a space of co-creation and co-production of
embroidery between women embroiderers and young creators in Mahdia.
This company allows the autonomy of embroiderers in the region, values the young
designers, empowers consumers and finally, ensures the transmission of a local
expertise and knowledge disappearing, while being economically viable.
Activities
Providing a shared co-working and design space;
Mentoring and training of local women tailors and embroiderers;
Design of hand made embroidered clothing.
5.2.2.1 Business Model
Team: 13 people (10 crafts women, 3 young fashion designers);
Initial funding: Tunisian Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Labess, self-funding,
cultural resources, investment from Souk Attanmia;
Revenue: funding, and fashion and design pieces sales;
Governance: social enterprise, aiming to evolve in a cooperative.
5.2.2.2 SWOT
Strengths
Collaboration
between
designers and local women

Weaknesses
fashion

Lack of financing

Saving the local craft of the region


Use of sustainable and natural raw
materials (thread, dye, textile, etc.)
Instability of the political environment

Recruiting more talented people

Lack of collaboration culture in the


country

Training and
incubator

Threats

kick-starting

in

an

Opportunities

17

5.2.3 Orange Bleue Maghreb (Morocco)


Orange Bleue Maghreb is part of a multi-pole of social innovation and sustainable
projects based in Casablanca and connected with Europe (France) and Sahel
(Burkina Faso). The pilot version of Morocco is an urban permaculture garden in Sidi
Moumen, a working class neighbourhood in Casablanca. It was built on an old waste
collection area.
Orange Bleue aims at fostering collaboration between the kids residents of Sidi
Moumen, the gardeners, associations and local authorities.
Activities:
Teaching children in the area;
Permaculture training;
Conferences.
5.2.3.1 Business Model
Team: various (coordinator plus many volunteers and woofers);
Initial funding: self- financing, fundraising;
Revenue: No money flow despite fundraising;
Governance: Association.
5.2.3.2 SWOT

Strengths

Weaknesses

Collaboration with local schools,


restaurant, gardeners and authorities

A fluctuant team, project relying mainly


on the founder and volunteers

Multi-countries
network
Morocco, Burkina Faso)

No revenue

(France,

Promotion
of
permaculture,
sustainable agriculture and eco-living
Instability of the Sahel region

Threats

Development of non fossil energy


projects: wind turbine, solar batteries

Opportunities

18

5.2.4 Karhebtna (Tunisia)


KARHBETNA is a carpooling web platform offering exchange between the drivers and
passengers who have the same route.
Through the platform, Tunisians can consult the carpooling offers and can also
register to add their own journeys for free.
The goal is to allow a significant reduction of budget expenditures of fuel and the
density of traffic and its impact on the environment.
Activities
Connecting drivers wishing to amortize their travel expenses and passengers with
no vehicle available;
The platform calculates transport costs generated by each path and allocates these
costs to the passengers of the vehicle;
A mobile application is under development.
5.2.4.1 Business Model
Team: 2 people;
Initial funding: self- financing, incubation in Labess;
Revenue: freemium, adds;
Governance: social enterprise.
5.2.4.2 SWOT
Strengths
An
economic
and
technologic
innovation that does not exist in
Tunisia
Good communication

Weaknesses
Lack of a clear marketing strategy
No data available to clearly assess the
environmental impact performance of
ride sharing

Service dedicated to women


Solution for traffic issue and
alternative for unsustainable public
transport (positive environmental
impact)
Instability of the political environment

Threats

Developing a communication
following a good strategy

plan

Opportunities

19

5.2.5 Kartag (Egypt)


KarTag is a transport network company, whose mission is to offer sustainable
transport solutions including safe and reliable carpooling, traffic updates, ordering taxi,
and events transportation to individuals and communities (company, university,
school, friends network).
It aims at offering reliable and sustainable transport solutions to companies,
organizations and individuals across the world.
Activities
Helping commuters carpool together (for daily commutes to work, university);
Providing traffic updates;
Ordering cabs and finding carpooling and taxi sharing companions.

5.2.5.1 Business Model


Team: 3 people;
Initial funding: self- financing;
Revenue: Pay per use, service fee, user data;
Partnerships with leading traffic updates, taxi and other local companies to
incorporate all the services on the platform;
Governance: SARL.
5.2.5.2 SWOT
Strengths

Weaknesses

Network

Lack of sharing culture

Team, application (has already


gained some traction in Egypt)

Digital user experience: the look-andfeel of the app needs to be more


intuitive and easy to use

Solution for traffic issue and


alternative for unsustainable public
transport (positive environmental
impact)
General
challenges
customers

of

gaining

No data available to clearly assess the


environmental impact performance of
ride sharing
Seed funding and partnerships inside
and outside MENA region

Adaptation of the mobile app


Threats

Opportunities

20

5.2.6 Carmine (Morocco)


Carmine is the first concept that offers carsharing in Morocco. It allows distributed
disposal of shared vehicles for occasional trips, accessible at any time over several
locations in Casablanca.
Its mission is to provide an affordable alternative, simple, effective and economical to
car ownership. Carmine is committed to reducing congestion and CO2 emissions in
cities or she operates.
Activities
Providing carsharing offers to individuals with one or no cars or businesses with
transportation needs.
5.2.6.1 Business Model
Team: 3 people;
Initial funding: love money and self- financing;
Revenue: Pay per use, service fee, user data;
Governance: SARL.
5.2.6.2 SWOT
Strengths

Weaknesses

Active members basis

Lack of a clear financing strategy

Occupancy rates of 3 hour daily

Sales & Marketing: Refine sales and


Marketing strategy

Car-sharing technology
and software)

(Hardware

Strategic alliance with local authorities


for special parking permits

Corporate Governance: Create a board


of advisors

Administrative
limitations:
Preauthorized payments are not available

Development in Marrakech, Rabat and


Tangier by 2016

Mentalities: Lack of early adopters

Customized
operations
circumstances.

Financing: Lack of
investors to financing

early

stage

to

local

Acquiring clients, cars and parking spots


Low environmental impact: projection of
20% electric cars by 2017

Threats

Opportunities

21

5.2.7 Sheaply (Morocco)


Sheaply is a peer-to-peer platform that connects travellers with package shippers or
people willing to make abroad purchases. It offers a collaborative and social solution
to ship packages at a very low price, get any item from anywhere in the world without
dealing with high price of delivery or customs and making extra cash from trips.
Sheaply aims at scaling this concept by creating an alternative model to the current
solutions and give back the power to the individuals through a social experience.
Activities
Allowing customer to ship or receive a package from abroad and take profit from
their trip
Enabling customers to have a traveller buy an item for them abroad and deliver it in
their country during their trip.
5.2.7.1 Business Model
Team: 5 people;
Initial funding: Love money, self-funding, raised 30k$ at Oasis500 at a very early
stage and won award and prizes at a total of 35k$;
Revenue: Pay per use, service fee, user data;
Governance: SARL.
5.2.7.2 SWOT
Strengths
The team
Community of users
Waste sorting and carpooling for
office transportation
Lower environmental impact using
people already travelling instead of
additional shipping plain
Online banking services not effective
Lack of events with real opportunities
for start-ups

Weaknesses
No legal advisor or sharing economy
lawyer to help anticipate regulations
issues
Cultural issue: lack of familiarity with
new technologies and online payment

Seed funding (150k$) from the Silicon


Valley
Office for the team

Too disruptive technology


Threats

Opportunities

22

5.2.8 Craft Draft (Morocco)


Craft Drafts mission is to protect handicraft through creating cultural experiences.
Beyond the normal way of preserving the craft in museums, we show people how to
be and feel as an artisan through: learning by doing; being part of preserving history.
Craft Draft is an open-access craft community allowing locals and foreign visitors to
Fez to have access to (1) craft sites, (2) craft knowledge, (3) craft know-how and (4)
artisans' friendship.
Activities
Workshops: Etching with a master artisan and Arabic Calligraphy;
Production and Consulting: production of copper tea trays, teapots and all other
traditional craft articles in the coppersmith sector;
Round-Tables and Archives: open space for students and researchers;
Artist Studio: creative space to meet local artisans/artists;
Kids Activities: workshops for kids between 10 and 16 year-old group ages;
Mobile App: Al-M'n.
5.2.8.1 Business Model
Team: 8 people;
Initial funding: self- financing;
Revenue: workshops, classes (self sustained project);
Governance: Company (social business).
5.2.8.2 SWOT
Strengths

Weaknesses

No competition in the market

Lack of tools for long time training

Social innovation

Fostering and sustaining handicraft


Decoration with recycled materials
Water source from a local river-fountain

Dimension of the system is not


strong enough to address all the
calls of actions received from
individuals and organizations

Hand transportation and donkey carrier


No work after sunset time (no electricity)
Challenges in financing new ideas and
new programs.
Issues in recruiting talents

Threats

Potential to work on environmental


aspects and communicate to the
consumers
the
comparative
advantages
regarding
similar
products
Opportunities

23

5.2.9 Anou (Morocco)


Anou is a community of artisans working together to establish equal access to the free
market. The Anou enables you to purchase rugs, housewares, accessories, art,
jewellery and paintings directly from the Moroccan artisans who make them. The
objective is to help artisans gaining the freedom to set their own prices and engage
directly with customers, without middlemen.
Activities / Process
Artisan Led: each artisan interested in joining Anou's community is connected with
and trained by more experienced and successful artisans
Technology: allow the artisans to add products, manage inventory, and track
orders. All pictures on the Anou store are taken by the artisans with their own
cameras or phones
Orders: When a product is purchased, the artisan receives an SMS text message
including the shipping address. Artisans then reply back with SMS text messages
to confirm shipments and send in tracking numbers. Post office staff assists Anou's
illiterate members in writing out address labels.
5.2.9.1 Business Model
Team: 6 people;
Initial funding: self- financing and love money and fundraising;
Revenue: generating income from a 15% fee that is added to every product that
sales. 60% of the operating budget is carried out by the artisan leaders themselves,
so operational costs are funnelled right back into the community ($300,000 USD in
sales for 2015);
Governance: First national cooperative of Morocco.
5.2.9.2 SWOT
Strengths
Community owned and managed
First national cooperative in Morocco
70% market share in the USA, the rest
in Europe, Australia, Asia

Weaknesses
Difficulty for an artisan community to
stand out against the organizations
who are trying to help them

Fair natural and local raw materials


(textile, painting, jewellery, etc.)
Difficulty to ensure basic operation
issues like shipping
Complex: lack of strategic partnerships
that can help the wider community
coalesce
Threats

Scaling in Morocco
Improve
marketing
and
communication strategy, insisting on
positive sustainable aspects

Opportunities
24

5.2.10 Waste (Lebanon)


Waste is designing and crafting urban and classic bags, accessories, and furniture
from sustainable materials while caring for the environment and their community. The
idea started by wanting to reduce the overuse of plastic bags while one of the
designers who was in print production knew about vinyl banners and how they are
being disposed of. They experimented with material and created the first shopping /
grocery. Then they acquiring a workshop and registering a company that brought
designers and professional tailors together in the same space to collaborate and
create.
Activities
Designing and manufacturing products from reused and sustainable materials such
as advertising banners;
Reducing non-recyclable and non biodegradable plastics;
Reusing the material in designing sustainable and smart products.
5.2.10.1 Business Model
Initial funding: love money and self funding, loans;
Revenue: product sales;
Governance: SARL (Company).
5.2.10.2 SWOT
Strengths

Weaknesses

Company staff

Marketing

Waste reduction and sustainability


criteria in sourcing materials

Branding
Communication

Raising awareness with events on


Waste reduction and recycling
Ability to diversify
Difficult access to financing: extremely
conservative approach in availing
finance to start-ups (sole focus on the
IT industry)

Better international exposure and


marketing generating growth in sales
Improve
communication
sustainability performance

on

Developing a formal EHS Management


System (EHSMS
Seeking eco-labelling
Threats

Opportunities
25

5.2.11 El Mensej (Tunisia)


El Mensej is a social enterprise with the mission of putting the craftsmen in the heart
of the economic value chain, valuing the work of women artisans of Nefta in South
West Tunisia. El Mensej works with women who weave rugs and accessories from
thrift reknitted. The goal is to help commercialize their work, rethink their product, and
develop their skills.
The long-term objective is to open a structure allowing weavers to obtain social
security and contribute to the pension.
Activities
First group of artisans are women who weave kilims and accessories from second
hand clothes, using used wool;
Sales of offer carpets (klims) and accessories (covers, bags) woven by craftsmen
by hand and from recycled raw material;
Selling products socially and environmentally responsible to the consumers;
Accompaniment and training: artisans are accompanied to better understand
customer needs and provide quality products to contemporary taste and order if
necessary.
5.2.11.1Business Model
Team: 10 people (including craftwomen);
Initial funding: self- financing;
Revenue: from sales;
Governance: no legal structure yet, planning to start an association and a
company.
5.2.11.2 SWOT
Strengths
Artisans at the heart of the value chain
due to a short circuit

Weaknesses
No legal structure yet
No revenue / income

Recycling wool as a natural raw material:


available, cheap and sustainable
Carpooling transport to work
Manual wooden looms
Instability of the political environment
Difficult access to financing

Difficult
access
customers

market

and

Lack of knowledge and sufficient


income
Threats

Opportunities
26

Overall Synthesis

6.1 Addressing regional challenges


As mentioned in part 3, analyzing the business models has allowed us to identify
some key challenges common to all projects, but specific to collaborative structures in
the MENA region.
We came up with four challenges, visible in figure 4 below:
Building Trust and engaging community
Addressing Sustainability
Accessing Financing
Including Gender

Figure 4: Overview of the challenges ranked by project


Source: Authors analysis

As mentioned earlier, we evaluated each challenge for each project from 1 to 5


depending on how deep the challenge is addressed by the project in its business
model and its strategy.

6.1.1 Building Trust & Community


Trust and community are at the heart of all collaborative business models. Indeed
trust is the first requisite for sharing and building a community, even further for a
27

platform or any collaborative project. This principle explains why all projects rank so
high on this topic. They all understood the need to build trust with their customer and
their external community and take care of their internal community (staff) at the same
time.

Figure 5: Projects performance on the trust and community challenge


Source: Authors analysis

For instance projects like Anou or Sheaply score around 5 as they take into account both
levels: they pay particular attention to their internal team -for Sheaply- and artisans
community -for Anou-, engaging them fairly in the project; and they work at building a
strong customer peer-to-peer online community on their platform.

6.1.2 Including Gender

Figure 6: Projects performance on the gender challenge


Source: Authors analysis

28

Most of the projects tackle the gender issue, some even putting it at the heart of their
concept and strategy. Women are therefore either involved in the core of the project or
in making their offer relevant to the public.
For example, we can notice two different approaches in the same country, Tunisia:
Tilli Tanit is a cooperative aiming at supporting women crafts; it is using an
inclusive gender approach in its own governance and structure.
Karhebtna is also addressing the gender issue, but from a customer perspective.
They integrated gender in their marketing strategy to create a new offer dedicated
to women. We can easily see this idea replicated in the region for other similar
projects.

6.1.3 Addressing sustainability


Sustainability has been a very interesting challenge to analyse. It has clearly
appeared as an overall approach present in the DNA of all projects. Referring to what
we mentioned in part 3, it seems to be a common trait among collaborative projects,
especially for the MENA region.

Figure 7: Projects performance on the sustainability challenge


Source: Authors analysis

This statement is not very surprising at the end since we were keen on selecting
green collaborative projects, aiming to become Switchers. As a reminder, SwitchMed
Initiative considers that a project is fully sustainable when he addresses both green
entrepreneurship and civil society component:
Eco-innovation as a new business and/or organizational strategy to enhance
sustainable performance from a long-term sustainability perspective, in terms of
process, product or system.
29

Social-innovation as a new solution (products, services, processes) meeting


social needs and able to lead to new or improved capabilities and relationships,
and better use of assets and resources, for benefit of people and planet.
Both environmental aspects - including energy and water savings, raw material use,
biodiversity, etc.- and social aspects such as labour conditions need to be tackled to
ensure a fully sustainable business or project10. To quote Waste projects founder:
Waste reduction is not a target per say because it is our belief is that it should be
common behaviour and part of being responsible, which also includes ethical
behaviour, sustainable growth while benefiting the largest number of stakeholders and
not at their expense.

6.1.4 The financing issue


Compared to the previous challenges, we can easily see that access to financing is
the major difficulty. Most projects rank around 2.5, relying on fundraising and love
money to self-sustain. All of them shared with us the strong need to access loans,
funding, and also incubation and acceleration.

Figure 8: Projects performance on the financing challenge


Source: Authors analysis

In addition to the classical financing problem in the region, the main issue when
looking for funding for these collaborative projects is their innovative business models
resulting in a hybrid positioning.
On one hand investors are very picky and bounded to ROI criteria when it comes to
social innovation projects like the ones in our study. Even some projects very Silicon
Valley oriented, such as Sheaply, mainly complain about the lack of seed funding and
banking facilities, a pretty common difficulty for digital and tech projects in the region.

10

see https://www.globalreporting.org/information/news-and-press-center/Pages/New-GRI-booklet-gives-SMEs-ahelping-hand.aspx

30

But at least they answer more or less the investors selection criteria and have
sometimes access to available funding in the region.
On the other hand most of our portfolios projects are social businesses. They have
trouble accessing both type of financing they could pretend to: investment or
patronage and grants. If investors can be very risk averse when the return on
investment is too low, social organizations giving grants and patronage can also be
very restrictive in their selection criteria. They would fund only association or nonprofit, ignoring social businesses. The latters find themselves in a sort of no-mans
land of fundraising.
This stream deserves to be analysed in a whole new study to assess how both
OuiShare and SwitchMed can help them and must think of how to solve this
challenge.

6.2

Implementing key success tools

All of these projects can be considered as social innovations. We found out that most
of them are using similar tools to address their local problems. Using the same
process than for the challenges, we have identified four key success factors common
to all projects:
Leveraging on Social Media and Digital
Managing People and Talent
Using disruptive technology
Using an inclusive governance

Figure 9: Overview of the key leverage points ranked by project


Source: Authors analysis

31

If the projects all leverage on social media and digital platforms for their
communication they dont all use a disruptive technology. The combination for
success relies on an equivalent focus on all four areas identified.
For instance, Anou is the project with the best overall ranking on the leverage points.
This project is a great example of the use of a disruptive technology, easy to use by
the artisans. It is an Etsy-like platform for selling goods to the foreign market, with very
inclusive governance, as it is the first national cooperative in Morocco. The will of
including the artisans who produce the value in all the product life cycle is an essential
key to success. It is the best way to empower local people by letting them share their
skills and do peer-to-peer learning trainings, as well a a great opportunity to scale and
spread without the need of an intermediary to recruit workforce.

7 Final overview and perspectives


We want eventually to conclude that study by reviewing the main project categories
with the lessons learned from the business models analysis.

7.1 Remodeling Space


Urban space design is a key issue for growing cities in MENA region. The coworking
and alternative spaces are reinventing the way we consider and develop space in our
cities. By allowing collaboration between populations usually left aside, they foster
new dynamics in neighborhoods that are deeply missing it. This explains why these
projects ranks all high on trust and community as well as on sustainability challenges.
They rely on inclusive governance (with cooperative models) or put a specific effort on
managing their people and team.

32

Figure 10: Overview of the ranking on challenges and leverage points for coworking and
alternatives spaces projects
Source: Authors analysis

7.2 Rethinking Mobility


Mobility and traffic are becoming increasing endemic problem in MENA. Global fuel
price rises, an ever-increasing number of cars on streets in big cities coupled with
often unsustainable, unaccessible and unsafe public transportation (bus or collective
taxis) pushed many people to either spend significant amounts of money on private
cars or commute in taxis. It is not a surprise to see emerging carpooling and
carhsaring platform in big MENA cities like Cairo, Tunis or Casablanca trying to offer
innovative solutions for the daily commuters (work, university, school) - that are
working pretty well in Europe and the US.
This categorys projects have almost the same rankings for all criteria. It makes sense
as they have similar business models and challenges. However, there are a few
differences regarding gender inclusion, as Karhebtna is the only one really addressing
the topic in its business offer.
The overall question for mobility is how will the adoption of these platforms evolve in
the next years as citizens already use shared taxis for example (but without the same
comfort), and above all as people in the countries analysed here dont use mobile
internet the same way western urban people do.

33

Figure 11: Overview of the ranking on challenges and leverage points for carpooling and
cars haring projects.
Source: Authors analysis

7.3 Sustaining Tourism and Crafts


This category is of particular interest in terms of business models diversity and
originality. Indeed the projects from both previous categories already exist, and their
development in MENA countries is the result of a global trend affecting most cities and
metropolis in the world. But sustainable and collaborative tourism and crafts are an
area of particular social innovation, strongly attached to roots and traditions of the
region.
The projects in this category are very similar when we observe their purpose
(supporting and empowering local fashion and crafts by innovating). They score all
very high on addressing sustainability, as it is in their DNA to solve environmental
issues and be careful with the social component.
Nevertheless, their business models and legal structures are not the same, and in that
case they do not influence the success of the project. Lets take for example Anou and
Waste, the two most performing projects regarding our criteria. Anou is a cooperative,
whereas Waste is a company. In both cases their staff is their biggest strength and
seem fulfilled by working with them. They have a strong online and offline community,
as well as an online shop with a good user experience. They also include gender by
having both men and women artisans making their products, and empower them by
having them belong to and owning the project.

34

Figure 12: Overview of the ranking on challenges and leverage points for circular design
and crafts projects
Source: Authors analysis

35

7.4 Conclusion and Perspectives


This study draws a first business overview of the sharing economy in the MENA
region. The way the projects we analysed have tackled their local challenges with
innovative collaborative concepts is of particular interest. They are using digital
platforms, physical spaces and various networks to share goods and services with a
different perspective than in Europe or the US, adapting to the local realities of
developing countries. According to Teo Benjamin, a Global Shaper from Brazil, in the
developing countries collaborative ideas are inseparable from the ideas of social
equality, ecologic responsibility and positive impact. The sharing economy start-ups
are created by social entrepreneurs. They are born with a deeply meaningful purpose,
not just a good business opportunity. Shared value and social business are a common
language among these innovators. 11
All the projects analysed in the study addressed their specific regional challenges with
an ecological and social innovative mind-set, and can become an inspiration in MENA
region if we spread their business models and train the other projects to overcome the
challenges identified. We have seen in our analysis that the financing issue is the
main challenge where projects need external help to scale and replicate in the region,
but not only. There is a strong need of cross-cultural collaboration, knowledge and
skills sharing, that we identified after SwitchMed Connect conference in Barcelona in
October 201512. We worked together with SwitchMed local partners, projects,
switchers and OuiShare MENA connectors, to efficiently combine both our local
knowledge and networks and convert them into actions. We collaboratively came up
with many actions to answer the local challenges and help scale and spread
innovative collaborative business models like those of the study.
For example, regarding the financing challenge, one solution would be to include more
flexibility in the selection criteria for both types of financing institutions. But it will only
be achieved through raising awareness among these institutions about these new
types of business models and projects who need mentoring and access to financing to
be able to scale. It is part of our role as facilitators and connectors in the MENA
region.
Crowdfunding is another promising alternative. Together with the sharing economy,
peer-to-peer finance is already spreading in the region with initiatives like Smala & Co
or Zoomal. But again, in order to spread and become an efficient alternative way of
financing projects and businesses, we need to implement a permissive
macroeconomic environment, allowing and supporting these social and financial
innovations. The ideal would be to have the different countries in MENA region
moving together towards the same direction, becoming pioneers in accompanying
collaborative circular projects in the world.
To conclude, there is a strong opportunity to use the sharing economy, open source
and collaborative practices to engage the projects, help them grow and replicate in the
MENA region. OuiShare and SwitchMed must structure and coordinate their actions in
11
12

https://agenda.weforum.org/2015/08/have-we-got-sharing-economy-wrong/
See Focus 3 int the following page

36

the next years to help these entrepreneurs and projects thrive, connect them and give
them the tools they need to build a more sustainable future.

FOCUS 3 - SwitchMed Connect 2105 Session


SCALE-UP BUSINESS MODELS OF COLLABORATIVE INITIATIVES IN MENA
OBJECTIVES OF THE SESSION
Provide an overview of business models of collaborative society and economy in MENA
and develop leveraging actions for scaling these up, based on the study results
Assessing the different actions to be taken together by SwitchMed, the local partners and
OuiShare MENA communities in the targeted countries
WORKSHOP CONTENT
Pro-Action Caf: collective intelligence workshop especially adapted for the session
objectives and size (approximately 100 participants)
A team of 10 connectors & facilitators to address a specific questions to each countries
with local partners present that day
SNAPSHOT OF RESULTS
Help develop and monitor public action
Develop a common taxonomy in Arabic; increase the partnerships with corporates and
companies; develop an incubator;
Leverage on the diaspora; promote collaborative spaces;
Use a neutral institution like SwithMed and grassroots organization like OuiShare to train
and incubate both civil society and green entrepreneurship projects with a collaborative
mind-set, etc.

For further information, please download the presentation and session summary from the SwitchMed Connect online
platform: http://www.switchmed.eu/en/switchmed-connect/switchmed-connect-2015

37

8 Appendix
8.1 Questions sent to the projects
Profile
Start date / Years of existence
Your profile & team (number of people working with you?
How was the project financed (money, time)?
Business model
What is your main audience & target?
Who benefits from your project?
What is you marketing strategy (if you have one!)?
Data & Figures
Number of: users / visitors
Number of active members
Number of transactions
Evolution of the transaction
Evolution of users
Project dynamics (depending on you/ your organization):
What are the best assets of your project?
Do you see any weaknesses or limits you would like to improve?
External influences and impact (linked to your environment)?
What would it take to scale your project? Where do you see the best chances?
What challenges do you face? Do you think they are specific to your country or
region?

38

8.2 Duration of the projects in months

Figure 13: Overview of the projects maturity (months of existence as for September 2015)

8.3 The collaborative economy framework

Figure 14: The collaborative economy framework developed by OuiShare

39

8.4 The Pentagrowth


Pentagrowth is a model that describes the five exponential growth levers that the
Ideas for Change team has identified after studying 50 organisations which have
grown more than 50% in terms of revenue and number of users during 5 consecutive
years since the year 2008. There are the 5 levers of exponential growth:
Connect: the larger the number of nodes (people, situations, things) that an
organisation is able to connect, the greater the growth potential of the
organisation.
Collect: the smaller the internal e ort an organisation makes to build its available
inventory, the bigger its growth potential.
Empower: the more an organisation takes advantage of its users capacities, the
bigger its growth potential.
Enable: The greater the number of value creators that use the tools provided by
the organisation to generate their own business, the bigger its growth potential.
Share: The larger the community that has a shared sense of resource ownership
with the organisation, the greater the growth potential.

Figure 15: The Pentagrowth model developed Ideas for Change and Javi Creus (OuiShare
advisor)

For further information, the study can be downloaded on: http://pentagrowth.com/

40

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