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Meriem Zairi: The Powerhouse Driving Innovation and Startup Success in the MENA Region

Meriem Zairi: The Powerhouse Driving Innovation and Startup Success in the MENA Region

Meriem Zairi is a seasoned finance and investment professional with a robust background in private equity and venture capital.

She graduated from ESSEC Business School with a Master’s in Management, majoring in Finance, and started working in 2002.

Her first job was at Montagu Private Equity (previously HSBC Private Equity), where she was an investment director.

She managed a large European investment fund worth over €4 billion and gained valuable experience in various sectors like media, food, health, distribution, and automotive.

Moving to African Markets

In 2010, Meriem moved back to Morocco and became the Investment Director at Infra Invest in Casablanca.

She played a key role in raising and managing a significant African Infrastructure Fund worth €80 million.

One of her major successes was closing the fund’s first deal in Kenya, showing her ability to succeed in different market environments.

Leadership at SEAF

In 2017, Meriem joined SEAF (Small Enterprise Assistance Funds) as Senior Managing Director.

She led the SEAF Innovation Funds Initiative in the Maghreb Region, focusing on investing in innovative startups and tech-enabled small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

She also managed the SEAF Morocco Growth Fund, strengthening her influence in venture capital across the MENA region.

Founding EmergingTech Ventures

Meriem founded EmergingTech Ventures, a spin-off from SEAF’s venture arm, and serves as Managing Partner.

The firm invests in transformative, founder-led companies in emerging markets.

Her vision is to support knowledgeable founders and drive early-stage investments in challenging environments.

Meriem is a strong advocate for digital transformation and entrepreneurial growth in Morocco.

She is the President of CGEM’s (the Moroccan employers’ organization) Commission for startup and entrepreneurship initiatives.

Her advisory roles with various development finance institutions highlight her dedication to regional economic development and innovation.

Recognition and Legacy

Meriem Zairi’s career showcases her dedication to fostering entrepreneurial success.

Her journey from private equity to venture capital and entrepreneurship demonstrates her commitment to innovation and economic growth in Europe and Africa.

As a leader and mentor, she continues to inspire and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs, significantly contributing to the vibrant startup ecosystems in the regions she serves.

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