Last week I had the pleasure of presenting HAF’s innovate social enterprise, High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal (HA3), at the Agora MedSpring brokerage event held February 12-13 in Cairo, Egypt. Chosen as one of 15 idea carriers from throughout the Mediterranean region, HAF was given the opportunity to pitch its sustainable and eco-friendly business model to a group of researchers, experts, and investors, resulting in the creation of new partnerships for the success of this agribusiness startup. With a strong focus on food, water, and energy, this event celebrated creative solutions to the challenges that face Mediterranean nations including environmental protection, food security, and water conservation.
The event began with brief 5-minute pitches from the 15 chosen projects. These presentations were used as the basis for coaching sessions, where I met one-on-one with startup mentors and experts from the region. HA3 received positive feedback from the Agora Med coaches for its commitment to human development and its potential for commercial growth with the sale of organic and Fair Trade produce on an international scale. HA3 was also recognized by the SEED Awards in the fall of 2013 for its sustainable, and innovative, reinvestment business model.
Following the coaching session, I had a second opportunity to present HA3 to potential investors and interested parties from civil society, government, and research institutions. The brokerage event sought to provide a venue to connect all these different sectors for increase collaboration, which was accomplished through a matchmaking session open to the chosen idea carriers and the event attendees. I met with several representatives from civil society and startups working in the agricultural, environmental and energy conservation sectors, and I am confident that once fully established, HA3 will greatly benefit from the new partnerships formed at the Agora MedSpring event.
After speaking with many young entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers from throughout the Mediterranean region, I am more hopeful than ever that dynamic partnerships and intersectoral cooperation will help overcome some of the most challenging obstacles to environmental conservation and food security. The HA3 social enterprise will confront these challenges throughout rural Morocco by reinvesting profits from the sale of organic walnuts and almonds into human development projects that benefit the community, such as in education, health, and women and youth empowerment. Stay tuned for more information about HA3 developments…