VENTURES AFRICA – The career of Moroccan-born Anas Sefrioui is a story that tells of innate business talent, risk-taking, and a desire to succeed. Having dropped out of school aged only 16, today 65 year old Sefrioui boasts a net worth of $1.6 billion (Forbes, 2012). He is a successful businessman and has been labelled as an “African Billionaire to Watch” (Forbes, 2012). So what can be gleaned from Sefrioui’s unusual path to success?
Everybody has to start somewhere
Having dropped out of school aged 16, Sefrioui followed his father into the family business: producing a clay used for body and hair cleansing, known as “Gassoul”. While this may not be every budding young businessman’s dream, it provided Sefrioui with a business grounding and practical knowledge of running an enterprise. Not to mention the fact that it eventually earned him the capital to start up his own business. Opportunity, however seemingly slight, should not be passed up.
You have to invest money to make money
Aged just 31 years old, Sefrioui took the risky step of mobilising all of his savings and investing them in founding a new real estate development company: Douja Promotion Groupe Addoha. Buying-up run down and derelict residential buildings, Sefrioui made his name by renovating these structures and selling them off at a profit. Note, while making money he was also increasing the housing available on the market for those buying with a mid-range budget.
Hard work will get you noticed
Sefriouni’s big break came in 1998, when his work in producing residential property came to the attention of the late King Hassan II. Through this royal attention Sefrioui was awarded a construction contract and was asked to build a large number of government-subsidized housing units intended for the low and middle income residents. This contract made Sefrioui his first hundreds of millions of dollars, and set him up as a big player on the real-estate development scene.
Provide quality services to earn customer loyalty
Sefrioui completed the initial government contract to a very high standard, and finished well before the agreed completion date. He earned such favour with King Hassan II that in 2005 he was awarded another contract worth $1 billion. Under the remit of these two contracts, Sefrioui has built over 200,000 housing units in Morocco, covering over 15,000 acres of land.
When the time is right, go public
Following the successful completion of the 2005 government contract, in 2006 Sefrioui listed his company Douja Promotion Groupe Addoha on the Casablanca Stock Exchange. On going public, he sold shares earning him over 2.6 billion Moroccan dirhams ($330 million). The company now has a market cap of $2.3 billion, and Sefrioui maintains a 62 percent stake in the company.