At only 33 years old, Tayeb Sbihi has a BSc in Computer Science, a Master of Science in Computer Networks and an Executive MBA in International business. He is also a member of the Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council, the CEO and founder of B2N Consulting, a member of CEED and the co-founder of iTaxi.ma, a mobile application that recently won a Microsoft 4Afrika Innovation Grant award.
Despite all of his success and achievements, Tayeb says that being an entrepreneur in Morocco has had its challenges, including lack of funding and regulations. However, he believes Morocco is rich with opportunities and encourages more local entrepreneurs to explore them. His biggest piece of advice to fellow startups is this: Gather the strengths necessary to become an entrepreneur. Fill the knowledge gaps you might have in finance, business and marketing. Having a good idea for a business is not enough. You need to have the skills to market your idea too.
A: “Growing up, I always wanted to be a telecoms engineer. I’ve always been fascinated by new technologies and how computers work. In line with that passion, I started B2N Consulting, where we test, evaluate and optimise our clients’ telecom infrastructure. We help them to improve productivity and reduce the cost of their communications environments.”
Q: You recently put B2N Consulting on hold to start iTaxi.ma. Can you tell us about that?
A: “Geo-location technology is growing in popularity, so I saw an opportunity to do something with it. There are currently 35 000 taxis operating in Morocco – 8 700 in Casablanca alone – so together with my partner Ali Echihabi we developed iTaxi.ma, a mobile application that lets users book, track and rate taxis in Morocco. One of its best features is that it allows users to track their booked taxis in real-time.”
Q: iTaxi.ma recently won a 4Afrika Innovation Grant award. What do you hope to do with the grant?
A: “The 4Afrika innovation grant includes financial support as well as mentorship from Microsoft, so we hope to use it to scale our business across Africa and adapt the service to other forms of transport, including goods.”
A: “I joined the council as a youth leader and my vision is to help bring affordable broadband access to the youth. I would love to see a market where everyone has access to the internet. Connectivity is one of the solutions and tools that can help us solve some of our biggest issues. It can help reduce illiteracy through e-Learning and it can give the population a means to speak and share their issues, giving them strength to stand for their rights.”
Q: What are your future plans?
A: “My goal is to make my companies sustainable across various regions in Africa. But I also have a new goal, and that is to be a source of inspiration and motivation for my son. He is 9 months old now and I want to ensure that there are enough resources available when he grows up, so that he can promote our great continent.”
Follow Tayeb on Twitter at @staieb