How to find your co-founder – lessons from Orange Corners Algeria

When embarking on an entrepreneurial journey, an inevitable question arises: should one go solo or look for a co-founder? This decision holds significant weight, as it can profoundly influence the trajectory and success of your business. Finding a co-founder demands careful consideration of compatibility, shared values and vision, and mutual trust. There are plenty of stories of co-founded businesses gone awry. However, despite all that’s at stake a number of success stories worldwide highlight the potential advantages of having one (or more) co-founders.

In Algeria, it’s common to find emerging co-founded enterprises. In this light, let’s dig into three of Orange Corners Algeria‘s successfully co-founded businesses, and the peculiar stories of their co-founding journey. These ventures – all part of our latest cohort – exemplify the synergy and diverse skill sets that co-founders bring to the table, complementing each other in strategic vision and resilience.  

From a LinkedIn connection to a business partner

It can be hard to believe in LinkedIn’s potential until an unexpected opportunity presents itself at your door. This was certainly true for Karima Bougueroua, co-founder of K-marine, a premium Spirulina production company. Her co-founder is Abderraouf Mohamed Drissi.

Their journey began when Abderraouf was conducting research on hydrogen extraction using algae. His focus turned to Algeria, where he sought to explore local algae production. This is how he came across a couple of articles about Karima.

Intrigued, Abderraouf reached out to Karima initially for his study, but after several meetings and in-depth discussions, it became evident that their shared passion for algae and sustainability could lead to a fruitful collaboration in Spirulina production.

“I looked for Karima on LinkedIn and sent her a message. We met and discussed if there was a possibility of collaboration. After asking around, we decided to start with Spirulina at first, and we now look forward to expanding and diversifying our production” says Abderraouf Mohamed Drissi. Since then, his wife Sabah Boulaouinat has also joined the business as a co-founder.

“We still work together to this day. We had our ups and downs, as life is not all pink, but we learnt to solve our issues through communication, which also helped us value the importance of updates and working sessions”, says Karima.

Karima pitching K-marine

From life partners to business partners

Asma Ferraz and Amine Guedaoura are the co-founders of Flor’est, a business specialised in extracting vegetable and essential oils from medicinal and aromatic plants. Their story is quite different from Karima and Abderaouf’s, but equally unique. 

After two years of working by herself on her business, Asma sought her husband’s assistance when she was on maternity leave. That’s when Amine started being involved in his wife’s project. As they collaborated he began to envision its far-reaching possibilities, says Asma: “It was once he started working on my business, that he saw the vision, and from there he joined me. Together we became co-founders and are now working on growing this company”

Their journey shows how mutual support and a shared vision can transform a personal endeavour into a successful business.  

Amine Guedaoura and Asma Ferraz

From thesis partners at university to co-founders in the field

Biosphere, co-founded by Fairouz Mahtout and Amira Messous, is another co-founded enterprise from our latest cohort, specialising in producing organic and fresh produce.  

Their journey began as biology students at the USTHB University in Algiers. During their master’s years, they got introduced to sustainability through a module that sparked their entrepreneurial aspirations.

Fairouz recounts how it all started with a classmate’s project on sustainable agriculture, where they first heard of Torba Association. Amira was particularly intrigued and kept it in the back of her mind. After graduation, she suggested to Fairouz that they join the association. Coming from an urban background, Fairouz was a bit reluctant as she recounted: “You have to know that we had no notions whatsoever about agriculture, not even from my grandfathers! We learned everything in the association. Torba provided us not only the knowledge we needed, but also our first plot of land.” 

This experience led Amira to suggest launching an organic fruit and vegetable production enterprise, and that’s how Biosphere came to be. Today, they stand as a well-established business in sustainable agriculture, and their journey is a model of two young women who went from novice learners to successful entrepreneurs.

Fairouz Mahtout and Amira Messous with Orange Corners Algeria programme advisor Rachel van der Pol

Finding the perfect co-founder

What we can conclude from these experiences is that finding the right co-founder isn’t always that complicated! It involves tapping into networks, working with a trusted friend, seizing an opportunity when it comes at your door…etc. These stories prove that co-founding a business extends beyond mere professional compatibility, it’s delving into a shared passion for innovation and a shared vision for business growth and impact in Algeria’s dynamic ecosystem. 

A spouse, a long-term friend and team project, or even on social media, these peculiar and original stories are proof that with careful consideration and trust, your co-founder can be within reach!

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