Meet the Winners of Disrupt!/Graphics!/ Rabat

In the weekend of 14-16 October Rabat had its own first Disrupt!/Graphics!/ event.

32 candidates were selected to participate in this first edition. They came from 9 different cities, some of which were quite far from Rabat, to be present during the 3 day training. These stats are to give you an idea about how excited and engaged the participants were.

On the first day the participants presented their projects and had a discussion about social entrepreneurship, innovation and creative industries with Eric Asmar from Moroccan CISE and Mohamed Rahmo from madNess. After that they moved to more practical sessions. First, a workshop about human centered design, then an inspiration session with the great Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares, a designer and typographer, who generously shared her experience and some of her projects with the participants. It was nice to see that some of the participants knew certain projects of hers but never knew who was behind them, when they found out they were pleasantly surprised.

Before our participants started working on their projects, they were introduced to a very useful tool, the Business Model Canvas. The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to getting to know more about this tool and working with it. Some of them had never heard of it but got used to it very easily. Oussayd Bouayad from Wuluj was the facilitator of this workshop. When the day was over, the energy wasn’t, because some of the participants stayed until late that night to keep working on their project.

The second day the participants were more relaxed since they already had the opportunity to get to know each other and the facilitators. This time they started the day with an engaging storytelling workshop led by Ali Ghassani from Avito. The objective was to show them how they can pitch their projects in a way that will have the jury’s attention and understanding. An excellent panel of entrepreneurs and designers came in afterwards to share their experiences and tell us how they moved from being “artists” to entrepreneurs, using their talent to create value and income. After which more local mentors joined for the afternoon session and once they were all present, a speed mentoring session started. During the speed mentoring session each mentor had 10 minutes with each team. During this time the mentors could give advice and provide the participants with suggestions and food for thought in regards to their projects.

During the last day, participants kept receiving constructive feedback from the mentors about their ideas, business models and pitches. The participants had the time during the morning to continue the work on their projects and prepare for the final pitch. Every team was working hard and preparing slides to show the jury how far they were with their projects and to convince the jury later that day that their project was the best one. The participants were also coaching each other and giving each other feedback on their pitches, this was a very nice dynamic and showed the great atmosphere that was around for the duration of the Disrupt weekend.

Around 3.30pm, jury and attendees arrived. It was the moment of truth! Each team had 5 min to pitch their project in front of the jury members and the public and an additional 3 minutes to answer questions from the jury. Although stress levels were high, they all presented successfully. After some deliberation time among the 3 headed-jury they chose the following three winners :

First prize was for MADRASTI LHILWA (My sweet school), Yousra Kessam and Ayoub Dadouche, the project holders from Rabat, they want to bring artists to schools in order to reinvent the drawings and illustrations that we usually find in the classrooms and walls of institutions. Their idea is to make it also an opportunity for artistic education by including students in the process. Artists will do workshops with the students and they will both work on the illustrations.

Second prize went to Omar Moussali from Meknes, who is a great storyteller, he worked on a creative web series that raises awareness about ecological issues.

Third prize was for Abdellah Ajebar from Marrakech who is doing a brilliant job creating recycled toys and organizing creative workshops to inspire kids.

These three winners got the cash prizes, but the jury also made a special mention to two other projects which they were very impressed by and promised them some more support outside of the Disrupt. In the end after this long weekend all participants won something beyond money. The participants walked away from this weekend with the experience of having an entrepreneurial mindsets that will change the way they look at their talents and maybe even how they lead their future careers. A follow-up meeting is scheduled to see how the participants advance in the coming weeks.

Have a look at the compilation video of the Disrupt!/ weekend here.