Throughout her life, Fatima Zahra Beraich never departed from the idea that entrepreneurship can do good. Convinced that innovation is the answer to all problems, she managed to combine her two passions through her doctoral research, by creating a R&D based company specialised in the construction and installation of biogas and composting plants. The first company of its kind in Morocco, BIODOME offers solutions to transform organic waste such as food and agricultural waste into biogas and energy self-sufficient solutions. “I wanted to tackle two problems that are widespread in Morocco: the lack of recycling solutions, especially for organic waste, and the tedious access to energy in rural areas.” By finding a way to apply her PhD into real life innovations, Fatima realised she could bring added value to people’s lives, not just write theories that would stay on dusty shelves. Whilst the idea of turning organic waste into biogas was not new, Fatima brought a twist to it, by conceiving a new bacterial mix that largely improves the quality and rentability of the biogas, gaining patent in Morocco and a number of foreign countries.
Victim of its innovative nature, BIODÔME nevertheless took time to be accepted by clients, especially small farmers unused to being advised by startups, let alone one run by a woman. But, with perseverance and a core belief in her idea, Fatima succeeded. “Since the beginning, I deeply knew that this was a promising and viable technology.” BIODÔME received a grant that allowed them to supply a small farmer with a processing installation in a slaughterhouse, the first step on a long and cutting-edge-path. “Now, we have expanded our scope to large agro-industrial companies, universities and schools, while still remaining dedicated to our core base of small farmers.” Is it easier now then? Not necessarily. ”I consider myself as a scientist fighting every day to be recognised as an entrepreneur. So the fight is never over!” she explains with a laugh.
A fight that she also embraces as a woman in a field dominated by men: “we always have to put the extra work to be taken seriously, especially compared to male peers. It is an everyday struggle but we got used to it. And we are here to stay!”
Fatima Zahra Beraich was supported by the Tech Booster Programme of The Next Society initiative funded by the EU.
THE NEXT SOCIETY is an open community of changemakers, entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, NGOs, public and private innovation, research and economic development hubs from Europe and 7 Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. THE NEXT SOCIETY aims at mobilising, promoting and reinforcing innovation ecosystems and economic development in the MENA region.
Women in Science
On the occasion of the International Day of Women in Science (February 11), the EU Neighbours South programme designed and launched a campaign to raise awareness about the inequalities faced by women in the field of science.
The campaign started on February 11 and ended on March 8 to mark International Women's Day. In the frame of this campaign, a high volume of content was produced and published on social media and/or ...