Attadamoun is a Moroccan cooperative that focuses on providing support and empowerment to women in the rural population of Morocco. Attadamoun uses argan oil to make organic products for the cosmetics and food industries to empower and inspire women entrepreneurs in rural Morocco. Argan oil comes from Argania spinosa fruit on a tree, which makes up 90 percent of the ecosystem in Morocco. The production of argan oil employs up to 300000 households. Its operations and center are located within the rich of international and local tourists. Therefore, it creates room for more development in its process to generate revenue. Conversely, to ensure its long-term sustainability needs to develop a business model that can generate income while fulfilling its social mission.
A cooperative business model is a derivative of the social enterprise, which members control and own. Customers, suppliers, and employees are some of the members of a cooperative business model (Drimmelen, 2013, p.860). The model diversifies revenue creation. With the principle of mutual aid and cooperation, Attadamoun aims to provide services to members at a given cost, making the model sustainable in addressing economic and social challenges. The model empowers communities and encourages self-reliance. The most efficient sustainable business model for Attadamoun is the cooperative business model, which uses innovation and its sustainable approach that combines a non-profit organization’s social mission with a for-profit business’s commercial approach.
Significance of the Cooperative Model
The cooperative business model suits Attadamoun because it aligns with its values and mission. The cooperative’s values include developing and displaying the village women as a means of empowerment. It also desires to transmit traditions associated with argan oil, one of the inputs that lead to its products. Conversely, Attadamoun was founded to empower rural communities in Morocco and improve their quality of life. By adopting the cooperative business model, Attadamoun can engage with women in the community of Morocco and provide them with access to resources and opportunities they might not have had otherwise (Dilger et al., 2017, p.32). The cooperative model will also allow Attadamoun to generate revenue while fulfilling its social mission, ensuring its long-term sustainability.
Even though the model borrows from the Social Enterprise Model, the combination of social and environmental objectives could sustain the cooperation financially. While social enterprises generate profits by providing goods and services to meet social needs, the cooperative model further reinvests in profits to achieve the social mission of the cooperative. Therefore, it is essential for Attadamoun to ensure the quality and effectiveness of its services and to maintain transparency and accountability in its operations. Consequently, I would redefine the business model as a hybrid cooperative model because it combines the traditional one with some elements of the for-profit business model. The diagram below illustrates the proposed business model from the sustainable business model of a cooperative.
Attadamoun’s Sustainable Business Model
Figure 1: Cooperative Business Model (Dilger et al., 2017)
Proposed Business Model
With the rise in population in Morocco, more women can engage in economic activities, and therefore labor is readily available (p.2). What is encouraging for Morocco as a market and an investment platform is that the level of inequalities has reduced such that more women can now engage in entrepreneurship. Women in the labor market increased to 22 percent from 2013 to 2021(p.2). Additionally, even though it uses the traditional method of making organic products from argan fruits, it requires creativity and innovation. The company cannot start exporting its products using only three outdated machines since the output volumes would have to increase. Offering delivery service also would create client loyalty to the products, as it will save them the cost and create more awareness to the specified clientele.
In the proposed model, Attadamoun operates as a cooperative, with its members consisting of the rural communities it serves. The cooperative will generate revenue only by investing in income-generating projects. It is a fact that the sale of argan oil products alone cannot sustain the business. The COVID-19 pandemic almost led to the company’s closure due to the high cost of inputs and lack of service offerings from employees and, therefore, close to no sales, as it had declined profits of up to 90 percent. However, investing in the ecotourism restaurant is essential to supplement the sustainable business, and establishing its brand is crucial to generating more revenue to sustain the business. Attadamoun is located at Sidi Bibi, close to Morocco’s Atlantic coast and full of tourism. Therefore opening a restaurant that sells organic foods such as tajines would increase sales due to the local and international tourists. It depended on the white-label brand as a corporate client for its products. Brand awareness would connect the company to export business. The new brand (Souss Drops) developed by the company would create equity and increase profit margins.
Nevertheless, from the model chosen, Attadamoun should also focus on member engagement. When members are involved in decision-making and business operations in line with their needs and interest, it establishes trust and loyalty among members, as Dilger et al. asserts (2017, p.29). Therefore a feature for the long-term sustainability of the cooperative. More important also is investing in education and training. Members need to build on their skills and knowledge to improve the quality of the products, services, and efficiency. From the article provided, the three managers of Attadamoun either dropped out of school or could need to get enough resources to continue their education. However, the little knowledge the founder has gained through trade fairs has enabled the cooperative to shift its mindset toward long-term sustainability.
Activities and Value Proposition
Attadamoun needs to set up product promotion channels through website creation. Traffic alone on the website could earn the cooperation a great amount of revenue and channel export business. Consistent, authentic, and prioritizing value creation over profitability would sustain the cooperative. Attadamoun must also develop a marketing strategy to promote its services and attract customers. Meanwhile, its marketing relies only on trade fairs, limited to only once a year, and cannot sustain it to create profits.
Attadamoun’s mission to empower rural communities in Morocco requires a sustainable business model to generate revenue while fulfilling its social mission. The proposed cooperative business model provides a viable and innovative approach to achieving this goal. The model aligns with Attadamoun’s mission of empowering communities and promoting self-reliance. The hybrid cooperative model would allow Attadamoun to engage in for-profit activities while maintaining its social mission and ensuring its long-term sustainability.
Dilger, M.G., Konter, M. and Voigt, K.-I. (2017) “Introducing a co-operative-specific business model: The Poles of profit and community and their impact on organizational models of Energy Cooperatives,” Journal of Cooperative Organization and Management, 5(1), pp. 28–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcom.2017.03.002.
Drimmelen, R. (2013) “New Business Models for Sustainable Development,” Handbook of Sustainable Engineering, pp. 859–879. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8939-8_53.