Start-up of the week: Sayna wants to take the digital elevator to young Malagasy developers
Matina Razafimahefa, a 20-year-old Franco-Malagasy entrepreneur, offers developer training in partnership with local companies. The idea, to pay a portion of the cost of training by the future employer, the young can repay his share once his first salary pocketed.
“I’m still a student, I’m a woman and I do not really have tech fiber,” I’m leaving with a lot of disabilities! “Laughs Matina Razafimahefa, before bursting into laughter. Yet not enough to scare this young French-Malagasy self-entrepreneur, who launched, just 20 years, the start-up Sayna, which aims to train developers in Madagascar, modeled on the School 42 created by Xavier Niel.
“We offer digital training, accessible and open to all, to help disadvantaged Malagasy young people and allow them to get a permanent contract in a local company”, summarizes the young woman, a second year Bachelor of Political Science at the Sorbonne, Paris. All at a low cost, since it is the employer himself who will finance the student’s learning.
Dream of a child
This company, Matina Razafimahefa has dreamed since the age of fifteen, when she arrived in France with her family, having lived part of her childhood in Antananarivo, the Malagasy capital. “When I moved here, I realized how lucky I was to have access to free education and the internet,” she recalls.
An idea then begins to germinate in the head of the teenager, who revises the math “watching tutorials on YouTube”, she wants to create a training center for computer scientists in her home country, “with unlimited internet access” . But it is discouraged: “too young”, “not competent”, “wait a little”, he is told.
She is patient then. Until last year, when she attends a conference organized by several churches in London. The theme: “How to become leaders”. It’s the click. In November, she decided to “go ahead” and resume her unfinished project, with the support of her mother, Nirina Rahoeliarivahy, who became her partner. “It is she who found the name Sayna, it means” intelligence “in Malagasy,” says the young entrepreneur.
“My mom is my first support, she has encouraged me since the beginning,” she says. His mother, his sister, but also his friends, contribute on a crowdfunding platform to raise 3,200 euros and help him start his startup. The rest is paid from “her pocket”, thanks to some savings she has aside and the money earned with her little job of distributing flyers.
“The prize money set at 4,000 euros will be used to pay the trainer, to buy 12 computers and my round trip to Madagascar,” said Matina Razafimahefa, who has been running the crowdfunding campaign since January by posting videos on Facebook and Instagram.
The first Sayna training session will be launched on March 26th. It will welcome twelve students, selected among the 16 who had presented themselves, thanks to a competition composed of tests of logic, personality and practical tests.
The accelerated training will last four months, followed by six months alternately in the company of the young person. The cost of the session (1,700 euros), is paid 70% by the employer, the remaining 30% to be paid by the alternating “but it will not refund us once he has his first salary, “says Matina Razafimahefa.
Meet the needs of 1,000 companies
The stated objective – ambitious – is to “bring out 10,000 digital workers in five years to meet the needs of a thousand companies. Several French and Malagasy partner companies have already expressed their interest and have committed to hiring several young people to leave: the company specializing in consulting in innovation and digital transformation Maltem consulting, which hosts the start-up, and the telecom group Malagasy Axian, whose HRD participated in the student recruitment process.
A partnership agreement is also being negotiated with the Malagasy Agency for Economic Development and Business Promotion (AMDP). The young leader does not hide her ambitions, she wants to “become a key player in the world of tech” and make Madagascar a digital eldorado in ten years. ”
Hard to impose in this world of 40-year-old white men
The path is still long on the Big Island. Today, only 4% of the Malagasy population has direct internet access in the country. “There, students who want to learn the code have no choice, they must either pay a very expensive training in Madagascar or go to France to benefit from the free training of Simplon or School 42. We We want to give a chance to all young people, including the disadvantaged, so that they can get hired locally and no longer have to go abroad to work, “says Matina Razafimahefa.
Juggling between meetings and partial
Until recently, the young woman had to juggle between her classes at university and professional meetings. “It was very difficult in the first half with my partials, but now I have just passed into terminal control, I can finally be 100% on Sayna! “The student enthused, leading a team of two people, still volunteers for the moment, his mother Nirina Rahoeliarivahy, a 52-year-old engineer and consultant, and Bacely Yorobi, a 30-year-old Ivorian developer who founded ConnectX Global, a platform that brings together emerging entrepreneurs.
If she recognizes that it is sometimes difficult to impose herself in “this world of 40-year-old white men”, Matina Razafimahefa does not hesitate to put back in place those who would be too familiar with her or who would not take her seriously. “My secret when I have an important appointment and I must impose it: I take my mom with me, it works every time! She slips, all smiles.
The young woman sets a goal of profitability from 2019. “It should reach, according to my forecasts, a turnover of 61 000 euros, and we hope eight million in 2023,” she plans. The biggest challenge that awaits him is to ensure a working capital, since the companies will only pay it after the first session of the training of the young person, after five months.
So before being able to afford her own office, the itinerant entrepreneur works at home, in the family home in Nanterre in the Paris region, or at the Matamata café, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, QG for “freelances” and “coworkers” . Matina Razafimahefa has already taken the opportunity to create a partnership with the two managers: for every donation made to Sayna, a free coffee.