In an effort to boost its economy, Algeria is creating a culture of start-up business enterprise. Evermore entrepreneurs are seizing this opportunity and starting businesses, and some with great vision and ambition. One such example is Yassir, a transport service already operating in several countries in the region.
The company Yassir is a pioneer of Vehicle for Hire (VFH) in Algeria, where it was founded in 2017 by two childhood friends. It now has 6 million users in the country and more than 40,000 partner drivers.
The group raised 30 million dollars from investors last year, and already offers its services across the Maghreb, West Africa, Europe and Canada. It employs more than 650 people worldwide, many of them are in Algiers.
But Yassir is a tree hidden in a forest of Algerian young tech companies, gradually freed from bureaucratic constraints and encouraged to take risks. The number of confirmed start-ups has doubled this year. And all of them have been supported by Algeria Venture, a public accelerator that helps project holders to scale-up, raise funds and solve problems. Sid Ali Zedrrouki is the General Manager of Algeria Venture,
"We open innovation. What does this mean? It means that we give them the means to access markets to companies, which they often saw as closed off to them. Today we give them the means to access these companies with solutions, to knock on their door, to solve their problems, to get order forms, and to find markets".
Algeria Venture is where start-ups are officially registered and it is also here that the tech players can meet to generate partnerships.
Beyn's growth is consistent with the expansion of the Fintech sector in Algeria. The company offers solutions to major national and international banking groups and has launched its own solution for money transfers between individuals. Reda Benbouzid is the CEO of Beyn Algerie,
"Beyn is a company that needs start-ups to complete its offer. Until now, I didn't have access to these people. I didn't know they existed. Maybe they existed, but they were hidden. Now they are there, the ecosystem is there and the communication channels are getting better and better. "
To unleash an economy that has long been dependent on hydrocarbons, Algeria has created a Ministry of Start-ups, the first one in the region.
It is headed by Yacine el Mahdi Oualid , a 29-year-old former start-up entrepreneur and one of the most influential young Africans of the year according to Forbes magazine,
"The African market, as you know, is a huge market that is evolving rapidly. For many sectors such as Fintech, it is the market that is experiencing the greatest evolution in the world and it is the natural market for Algeria. We hope that today's start-ups will be the champions of tomorrow's economy. That they enable Algeria to position itself as an essential pole of new technologies in Africa. We want Algeria, which in the past was the Mecca of revolutionaries, to be the Mecca of new technology enthusiasts and allow startups to develop in Africa".
Algiers will also host the first edition of 'Africa Disrupt', a trade fair that will bring together the main continental players in innovation, will take place later this year.