Published on Arab Voices

Profiles of the Diaspora: Hanane Benkhallouk

There are approximately 20 million citizens of the Middle East and North Africa region living abroad. For their countries of origin and the region as a whole, they represent a potential goldmine of knowledge, skills and business networks that remain largely untapped. A new World Bank report Mobilizing the Middle East and North Africa Diaspora for Economic Integration and Entrepreneurship makes the case for regional governments to partner with their diaspora as they can be a source of much more than remittances alone. This blog series aims to introduce readers to individual members of the diaspora, to put a human face on the vast potential they represent.
Hanane Benkhallouk

"You can take the man out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the man."
A native of Morocco, Hanane Benkhallouk began her career in New York before moving to Dubai in 2005. Along the way, she held senior positions in sales and marketing, communications and business development. She has led multinational, interdisciplinary teams for international market projects – MENA, Asia, Europe and the USA – and in diverse sectors, from finance and banking to retail, real estate investment, franchise development and consulting services.
She is the founder of C2C, Concept to Completion, a consultancy firm focused on micro entrepreneurs and small businesses and begun as an extracurricular activity while preparing her MBA. The company was later further developed into a more structured services provider to entrepreneurs, building on her natural coaching and mentoring skills.

Her passion for human capital development was further honed when, as a member of the lead team for the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation Benkhallouk was in charge of innovation and entrepreneurship programs across the Arab world. Citing the Foundation’s mission statement, "The Foundation aims to develop the knowledge and human capabilities of the Arab World", she was inspired to focus her energies on making a difference nurturing leadership talent and contributing to the development of human capital in the Arabic-speaking world.

Benkhallouk supports a number of social initiatives but participates actively in associations that support women's empowerment and female entrepreneurship in Morocco and the Arab region. She is a mentor and co-founding member of the LINK, a mentoring initiative for professional women, and Vice-President of the Dubai chapter of Soroptimist International, a worldwide organization for the empowerment of women and girls.

She was actively encouraged to run and participate in initiatives and events organized by the Council of the Moroccan Community living abroad (CCME), a national consultative organization and initiative of King Mohammed VI. The CCME monitors and evaluates national public policies in the light of Moroccan nationals living abroad. The CCME publishes reports defending the interests of Moroccan expatriates, strengthening their contribution to the economic, social and human development of the country.

Benkhallouk would like to create a platform that would serve as an interface between the Moroccan expatriate community and Moroccan micro-enterprises looking for funding, not as a charity but as a social enterprise, that helps engage Moroccans all around the world in the long term investment in sustainable national development. This would be crowd funding with a twist, a specific tool to capture the goodwill of Moroccan expatriates of the diaspora.

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