Opportunities and challenges in a fast-growing sector
Startups are innovative companies that seek to solve problems and create value by offering revolutionary products or services.
If you’re curious to know how they are created, financed, developed and succeeded? stay until the end!
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the main advantages and challenges of startups, and give you some advice on launching your own entrepreneurial project.
What’s a startup?
The name start-up comes from the English verb “to start up” – a young company with an innovative concept that stands out from other legal forms.
It has high growth potential and a desire to impose a unique, value-added product or idea, but this new business model must first pass through a phase of experimentation.
At the end of its research phase, it will cease to be a start-up and become a highly profitable company.
This concept was created to exploit the opportunities offered by new technologies, social changes and emerging trends.
The status is temporary and evolving, aiming to develop rapidly and have a positive impact on society, and is characterized above all by a strong capacity for adaptation, a culture of experimentation and an ambitious vision.
On the other hand, it faces considerable uncertainty about its business model, customer base and profitability. So the challenge is to be agile, creative and responsive, so as to be able to adapt to market developments and last the test of time.
Often appreciated and supported, they are seen as drivers of innovation, job creation and economic growth.
Let’s talk history!
The concept of the start-up originated in the United States in the 19th century, to designate an innovative company. The first startups were pioneering companies in sectors such as transport, industry or commerce.
But it was especially in the 1970s, with the rise of computers and the Internet, that startups really came into their own, in a period known as the Internet bubble, which gave rise to major players who revolutionized their sectors of activity, such as :
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon, but also to numerous failures and bankruptcies.
Today, startups can be found in every field, from healthcare and education to finance and entertainment, with the emergence of fintechs, edtechs and healthtechs. They often benefit from the support of investment funds, incubators or boosters, which provide them with financial, technical and human resources.
The development of this concept in Algeria
Algeria is a fast-growing country for startups and technology. These innovative companies offer solutions adapted to the needs of local and regional markets, and are currently developing in a variety of fields, including digital, energy, agriculture and healthcare.
The Algerian government supports the development of startups through tax breaks, subsidies, training and easier access to financing, and also enables them to benefit from the emergence of a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem made up of incubators, boosters, mentors, investors and networks.
A number of events, conferences and trade fairs are frequently organized to enable entrepreneurs to present their projects, meet investors, mentors, partners and potential customers, and benefit from training, coaching and networking. For example, we have Le MEET-UP organized by the agency.
According to the Minister for the Knowledge Economy, Start-ups and Micro-enterprises. Algeria has just registered 5,000 start-ups, nearly 1,100 of which have been awarded the Start-up or Innovative Project label, while the number of incubators operating in the country has risen from 14 to 60 over the past three years.
This ranks Algeria as the 2ᵉ African country with the most startups active in 2023 in the global “Startup Ranking”.
What is an incubator?
We often hear about startup and incubators, but what are they really?
A startup incubator is a structure that supports young, innovative companies in their development. It offers them services such as financing, mentoring, training, networking, coworking, etc. An incubator can be public or private, generalist or sector-specific.
An incubator is important for a startup because it provides personalized support tailored to its needs. It gives them access to resources and skills that can accelerate their growth and success. It also gives them visibility and credibility with investors, customers and partners.
What’s the difference between a company and a startup?
There is no universal definition, but it can be said that a company is a traditional organization that produces goods or services and aims to make a profit.
A startup, on the other hand, is a company in an experimental phase, seeking to innovate and study its market in order to build its own business model. It is also characterized by its scalability1, and the fact that its business model is reproducible, which enables it to grow so fast and so far.
NB: Don’t confuse Business Model “The whole model, the mechanisms, which enable the company to generate revenues” and Business Plan which is “a document presenting the company’s financial situation and its projected activity in figures”.
How are they financed?
Startups need to finance their development. There are several sources of financing available, depending on their situation and objectives. The most common options include :
Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages, which need to be weighed up against your needs and potential.
The challenges facing startups?
Creating and growing a start-up is no easy task. It involves many challenges:
Startups are exposed to major risks, linked to the feasibility of their project, the viability of their business model, the protection of their intellectual property or the satisfaction of their customers. They need to anticipate possible scenarios, put action plans in place and be ready to pivot if necessary.
But what are the advantages?
- The satisfaction of taking part in an ambitious and stimulating project, which can have a positive impact on society by changing lives for the better.
- The flexibility and responsiveness of a young, motivated team that can adapt to market changes and opportunities.
- Create job opportunities.
- A relaxed, flexible working atmosphere that simplifies exchanges and relations between employees and employers, which will generate efficient performance from the start-up company.
- Creativity and the freedom to experiment with new ideas, test hypotheses and validate solutions.
- The opportunity to benefit from financial, technical or human support from investors, incubators or partners.
- Contribute to the competitiveness, influence and economic development of the country or region in which it operates, by attracting foreign capital, partners and customers.
- A startup has great potential for financial gain. If it succeeds, its founders and investors will see a significant return on their investment.
Some Algerian startups :
Fridoc is a leading platform dedicated to collecting and making available all the documents required for various administrative, technical and legal files.
It also has a mobile application offering high-quality administrative guidance. With its continually enriched database of over 5,100 files, Fridoc has established itself as the undisputed benchmark for administrative guidance.
The startup also offers recommendations from professionals, companies and specialized service providers, all of which can be consulted directly via profiles integrated into the user’s search files, to guarantee an optimal experience in terms of administrative and commercial guidance.
Immotify is a North African Proptech startup that democratizes access to affordable, quality housing, while promoting transparency in the real estate market. Its mission is to bridge the gap between real estate developers, buyers and financial institutions.
By deploying cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, Immotify is revolutionizing the way new properties are explored. This innovation translates into greater transparency in real estate transactions and increased efficiency throughout the entire process.
With more than 350 real estate developers, offering a diversified catalog of over 30,000 new apartments. the startup has already helped more than 1,000 families become homeowners, demonstrating its resolute commitment to transforming the real estate sector in Algeria and across Africa.
How to create your own startup?
You’re probably wondering how to go about creating your own startup project. Obviously, the key ingredient of a startup is the idea!
1. Find the idea and conduct market research
It would be necessary to identify a need among potential users. Based on personal experience, that of friends and family, or market trends.
Once you’ve identified the problem, you’ll need to think about the best way to solve it in an original, efficient and cost-effective way. Be creative, think outside the box, test your hypotheses. What added value can you bring? What’s your unique value proposition?
To validate that your idea meets a real market need and is economically viable. It’s important to carry out a study of your potential market. This will enable you to determine your target customers interest in your project, as well as take note of their comments and target your competitors.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to have a unique, revolutionary idea for an innovative project. It is possible to adapt an existing idea by developing it differently.
2. Develop a prototype or minimum viable product
It involves producing a simplified version of the product or service, enabling essential functions to be tested and initial user feedback to be gathered.
3. Find a business model
It’s important to define how the startup is going to generate earnings, what its costs and margins are, what its distribution channels are, and so on.
4. Raising funds
To finance the startup’s development and growth, it’s necessary to find sources of funding, as we saw earlier.
5. Construct a team
It’s important to recruit complementary talents who share the startup’s vision and values, and who are capable of working in an agile, collaborative mode.
6. Develop your product or service
It’s important to continue testing, learning and improving our offering in line with the needs and expectations of users and the market.
7. Make yourself known and grow
It’s important to implement a communications and marketing strategy to make yourself known, build customer loyalty and conquer new markets.
Of course, these steps are only meant to give you an idea of what’s involved, but we advise every project owner to call on the services of a consultant to help you launch your project, or a startup incubator, a structure that can provide you with financial, material, human or training resources. It can also put you in touch with potential investors or strategic partners.
So it’s important to prepare your application and pitch well, and to be ready to receive constructive feedback and adapt your project if necessary.
Our world is changing fast, and innovations and new ideas are replacing the old. Startups are the result of the realization of new ideas that change people’s lives, solve their problems and simplify their daily routine. All the while contributing to society’s economic, social and environmental progress.
Written by Sarah Brahmi
- To be scalable, you need to think ahead about what your company is and what it can become. This includes the desire not to remain a start-up, but to become a major player in its market and aim for international expansion. ↩︎