“She Entrepreneurs was a life-changing experience”

Even two years after completing the She Entrepreneurs programme, Fadila Bennani thinks back to the programme often. No wonder, considering one of the biggest impacts the programme had on her was on a personal level. ‘The She Entrepreneurs programme was a life-changing experience. It had a profound impact on myself, my well-being, on how I treat myself.’
A woman in dark brown hair standing by a wall.

Fadila used to put a lot of pressure on herself, thinking that she was not doing enough, despite her hard work and having started a company from scratch.

– What I got out of She Entrepreneurs was the idea of putting myself first, and that also gave me self-confidence. I now believe in myself and my business. After the programme I felt empowered. I realised I was doing well. I just have to take care of myself.

Fadila has a solid background in business, having studied at a business school in France, where she also started a career in strategy consulting before returning to her native Morocco. She continued with consulting and worked for an international company until she became pregnant and started to think more on her professional career, her goals and objectives, and on what impact she wanted to have in life.

– That’s when I decide to become an entrepreneur. I had an idea of launching an ethical brand of fashion where I would mix contemporary design with Moroccan craft. At the same time, I wanted to respect all my values regarding the environment, animals and people. It resulted in the ethical fashion brand, Amaz sneakers.

In the beginning, she was doing everything except the craft by herself, including deliveries. She now has colleagues, a delivery firm, and a physical point of sale, and she expect the business to grow even more once the pandemic slows down.

– I am so grateful to the programme. The first impact was on me and the way I work. But I also learned to structure my business better and become a better leader. And how to measure our social impact through indicators. This helped me identify what my impacts were and how to measure them, so now I am able to communicate this.

For every pair of sneakers sold, her company, in partnership with the NGO Education For All, pays for one day of boarding school for a girl from the remote villages in the Moroccan High Atlas mountains. One out of five continue on to university, which is a huge step in their lives and in those communities. There are also environmental indicators to consider.

– Being vegan, we avoid the negative impact of using animals. Even though some local people see me as an E.T.,’ she says and laughs. Then there’s the recycled materials they reuse and upcycle. Even with so many direct effects on her business and person, she values the experience in itself very high.

– One of the most valuable things I will keep is the amazing women I met. I got to spend weeks with all these amazing women from the MENA region. I discovered a world of very strong women. Now we have a supporting friendship. And we also stay in touch for business reasons.

Fadila is involved in an organisation that empowers young women through mentorship, women supporting women, both professionally and personally.

– I try to share as much as possible from the programme there. I want to thank the Swedish Institute and all the people and the amazing things that were in the programme. Thank you!

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