Changing the Landscape for Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment in Morocco

With youth unemployment in Morocco over 25%, NEF’s efforts to promote entrepreneurship and job creation among young people in Morocco continue. With support from the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), NEF is working with local partners on the Al-Rawabet Morocco: Connections for Youth Enterprise Growth and Employment project aimed at helping high-potential businesses in Marrakech and Safi to grow and create jobs.

NEF and its partners, including Marrakech Generations and Maisons des Associations, are working to engage and support the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Safi-Marrakech region. The project is improving the effectiveness of regional business growth service providers by supporting and coordinating their efforts, facilitating regional market events, and hosting roundtables to encourage learning and collaboration.

Working with local partners, these efforts aim to grow 260 established businesses in the region and create 100 new jobs in the process. The project will coordinate incubation and acceleration services such as targeted training, technical support, peer networks, and individual coaching—meeting entrepreneurs where they are and helping them rise to their full potential. For businesses lacking funds for re-investment or access to credit, NEF will work to connect them with viable financing options. The project is also developing microfranchises to improve market access, lower the risks associated with business growth, and generate additional employment.

As part of its efforts to build the local market, the project is launching a joint media and marketing “Buy Local” campaign to encourage consumer support for local products and services.

To increase market access to new consumer audiences, NEF is working with a project participant, a local company called SVTI Enterprise, to develop an e-commerce platform to help businesses sell their products online. The first of its kind in the Marrakech region, the platform will help entrepreneurs access regional, national, and eventually international markets. The products featured include everything from food to cosmetics, to art and textiles—all made by local businesses and cooperatives.

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