Majid El Jarroudi
Les entrepreneurs issus des quartiers (leaders de la création d’entreprises en France) manquent souvent de visibilité et d’accès aux réseaux des grandes entreprises (GE) ce qui écourte l’espérance de vie de leur PME et constitue un obstacle à la promotion de la diversité. Majid El Jarroudi propose de mettre en relation des responsables Achats des GE avec ces entrepreneurs des quartiers. En formant, qualifiant et accompagnant les entrepreneurs des quartiers d’une part et en accompagnant et conseillant les GE pour qu’elles intègrent davantage la diversité d’autre part, il facilite les relations commerciales entre GE et PME des quartiers, et offre de nouvelles opportunités de développement économique pour ces territoires révèlant une nouvelle génération d’entrepreneurs, reflet de la diversité française, pour qu’elles créent de l’emploi localement.
En 9 ans, prés de 2000 entrepreneurs et une centaine de GE et collectivités locales ont bénéficié des services de l’Adive. L’Adive se développe à l’échelle nationale et souhaite à moyen terme élargir son offre à l’ensemble des Très Petites Entreprises Françaises (TPE), moteur de l’emploi dans le pays.
QUI EST-IL ?
Issu d’une famille marocaine avec un père boxeur professionnel et une mère qui lui a donné le goût de la littérature, il étudie le management à la Sorbonne, le journalisme à Assas et obtient le diplôme de Sciences Po. Profondément inspiré par la politique américaine en faveur de la diversité, il devient serial entrepreneur à 25 ans et s’implique dans nombre d’actions associatives en faveur de l’égalité des chances et l’entrepreneuriat (Président de Humanity in Action, Vice Président des Jeunes Entrepreneurs Européens, Secrétaire Général des Jeunes Entrepreneurs de France etc…).
Through local networks, Majid identifies and vets a large number of entrepreneurs working in underserved areas and who have the potential to meet the needs of big companies. In addition to opening up new markets to them, he helps the entrepreneurs build capacity and trains them to the specificities of the tendering processes. Among the 200 entrepreneurs on Adive’s platform, one-third has successfully won bids. Furthermore, in a “satisfaction evaluation” 83 percent of entrepreneurs reported being “very satisfied” with Adive’s service and commented that their businesses would no longer exist without Adive. By acting as a bridge between big business networks and an emerging generation of talented, but marginalized, entrepreneurs, Majid’s marketplace strengthens vulnerable communities by building sustainable local companies, creating employment, opening up economic opportunities, and developing positive role models for youth.
Within a year and a half, Adive has had a tremendous impact on the business practices of 35 leading companies, who have purchased over 500,000 Euros worth of goods and services from companies they would have previously overlooked and undervalued. More recently, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS) decided to dedicate 50M EUR (US$70.644M) in purchase from the entrepreneurs supported by Adive. Starting with the 40 largest firms in France, Majid is fostering a world where all companies have the intuition and reflex to choose their suppliers among entrepreneurs from marginalized and underprivileged backgrounds, while still maintaining competitiveness.
Besides, the priority of procurement officers is to kill costs and the easiest way for them to do this is to give priority to their traditional networks of suppliers. As a result, only 5 percent of suppliers to big French companies are located in underprivileged areas, even though the business creation ratio in at-risk neighborhoods is 20 percent above the French average. It is often economically nonsensical: A company in Paris can have a paper supplier in Marseille and a printer in Lille, while they could access more price-competitive, high-quality services in a disadvantaged neighborhood only 5 kilometers away. There is a truly missed opportunity to tap into the goods and services of an emerging sector of innovative, low-cost and effective companies.
Entrepreneurs from marginalized neighborhoods have many obstacles blocking their entry into mainstream markets. For one, they tend to have lower levels of studies or degrees from public universities rather than elite colleges. They also tend to remain isolated from traditional business networks and do not know how to navigate the system to access procurement opportunities. Moreover, they remain invisible due to the lack of precise economic data from underprivileged areas. Confronted by these obstacles, these entrepreneurs struggle to keep their businesses afloat. This is evident in the fact that, when isolated and ignored, entrepreneurial endeavors in underprivileged areas create a third fewer jobs and have a third fewer chances of survival after three years than the national average.
Adding to these obstacles is a policy framework that limits and even hinders the success of underserved entrepreneurs. European Union legislation prevents companies from targeting their calls for tenders to specific categories of suppliers. Policies cannot change without available information on underserved entrepreneurs and their economic and social value to communities. In France, however, since large companies are not authorized to request ethnic criteria and other personal background criteria from their suppliers, it is impossible to quantify the economic benefits arising from underserved entrepreneurs. Furthermore, because diversity is only valued in terms of corporate social responsibility and not in terms of economic competitiveness, there is no measurement of these entrepreneurs double or triple bottom-line impact on communities.
Next, Majid encourages companies to create a position of interface between human resources, diversity and procurement departments, which is solely dedicated to the issue of supplier diversity. For example, the pharmaceutical laboratory of Bristol-Myers Squibbs (BMS) has designated a manager to ensure all the company’s calls for tenders target underserved entrepreneurs and that the company pays special attention to the bids they receive from disadvantaged neighborhoods. In the long-term, Majid is fostering the creation of this diversity-oriented position in each company of the CAC 40 (i.e. the benchmark French Stock Market Index which includes the country’s 40 largest corporations) so that a focus on diversity is part of the daily business of these firms.Finally, Majid works upstream to shift the culture of future decision-makers by giving specific trainings in leading business schools, like INSEAD. His goal is to integrate the question of “diversity” into all existing responsible procurement training programs.
Convinced that his integration efforts will only work if they make sense economically as well as socially, Majid has designed Adive as a marketplace to facilitate commercial relations between large companies and underserved entrepreneurs. Relying on local partners to identify entrepreneurs, his platform uses a set of precise criteria to methodically qualify an entrepreneur’s activities, assess his/her capacity to supply to big companies and match the entrepreneur with the most appropriate calls for tenders. Adive also provides entrepreneurs with training, thanks to a partnership with HEC Business School, and ongoing feedback throughout the tendering process. These capacity-building efforts ensure the entrepreneurs are recognized for their quality and competitiveness, so that they may enter and remain in big business networks.
Majid’s marketplace works both ways. It helps large companies connect with a diverse range of entrepreneurs, but also allows emerging entrepreneurs with highly innovative goods and services to enter Adive’s database and use its platform to promote their offers to businesses. This allows them to kick-start their business and to be at the cutting edge of technology and innovation. It also demonstrates the great innovation potential of companies in emerging neighborhoods.
A year and a half into the creation of Adive, Majid has demonstrated on a small-scale the potential of his marketplace model and is virally engaging increasing numbers of large companies and potential suppliers in the Paris area. In line with his strategy to include all discriminated groups into good procurement practices, he is expanding his networks to Marseilles, Lyon, and the North of France by connecting with the local branches of his current partners.
Majid’s unique template has the potential to bring many other discriminated groups into the mainstream economy. He is preparing for the inclusion of entrepreneurs in other regions in France as well as entrepreneurs who suffer from other forms of discrimination, such as women and the handicapped. Additionally, Majid is working on much needed studies to evaluate precisely the economic weight and impact of discriminated entrepreneurs. Since national data on the diverse background of suppliers does not exist, Majid is developing criteria to measure the impact of these entrepreneurs. He is therefore creating the necessary conditions to make up for the lack of information on and visibility around these entrepreneurs. Moreover, Majid also identifies high potential entrepreneurs, whose products or services are so innovative that they do not enter into traditional supply chains. By connecting them with large companies, he accelerates their entry into the market and provides a cutting edge to companies who play by the rules of diversity.
Returning to France, Majid started his first company at the age of 22 and continued to launch new initiatives and businesses to support entrepreneurs in their success, including a strategy consultancy firm, a real estate agency (both dedicated to entrepreneurs) and a cultural café. Working alongside many entrepreneurs struggling due to their social and cultural origins, Majid took an active part in many initiatives to promote diversity and entrepreneurship, such as working with Ashoka Fellow Abdellah Aboulharjan in starting Jeunes Entrepreneurs de France (JEF), to help young entrepreneurs successfully launch their companies. As honorary roles, he still takes part in Jeunes Entrepreneurs de l’Union Européenne, a European network based on the same model as JEF, and is Vice-President of Humanity in Action, an international non-profit working on the protection of the rights of minorities.
Seeing the limits of all other approaches and with the Small Business Act in mind, Majid set up Adive at the end of 2008 and has since then gained increasing recognition for his work. He is now considered an expert in the fields of diversity and entrepreneurship; spreading his vision and expertise through lectures in some of France’s leading business schools (HEC, and INSEAD), at national media interventions, and conferences. In May 2010 Majid represented France at Barack Obama’s 2010 Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington, D.C.