Yassine Khalfaoui, a 32-year-old nurse from Safi, dreamed of opening his own pharmaceutical shop to provide high quality services in Safi. Yassine graduated from the Canadian school, Diana of the Polyvalent Nurse in Safi in 2010. He then undertook various internships at Mohamed 5 Hospital, the Nour Clinics surgical unit, and at different clinicsthat helped him gain skills. Through the Scouts Association of Morocco, Yassine learned about the Empowering Youth through Entrepreneurship in Morocco (EYEM) project.Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and implemented by the Near East Foundation (NEF) in partnership with the Moroccan Association for the Support and Promotion of Small Businesses (AMAPPE), the Moroccan Social Solidarity Economy Network (REMESS), and alAmana Microfinance, the EYEM project provides training
in entrepreneurship, business incubator support, and start-up grants to give young professionals the tools they need to turn their ideas into viable
In December 2015, Yassine joined the EYEM program with the hope that he would be able to learn and acquire the necessary business skillsso that he could one day soon open his pharmaceutical shop. Taking what he learnedin the coaching and training sessions,Yassine developed a business plan that was approved by the project’s selection committee. He was then awarded with a grant of 20,000 Moroccan Dirham (approximately $2,000 USD) to purchase the materials he would need to open his shop. “Thanks to the EYEM project, I created an agreement with a locally-based company (STAM).
Through the agreement, I provide health services, consultants, and referrals to STAM’s employees,” Yassine explained.
After a year of work, Yassine’s company has achieved great progress and success, even with financial obstacles and competition. With the profit he makes, Yassine is able to cover all of his business expenses and also save 2000 DH per month. The EYEM project has trained 486 youth in microenterprise development, helped over 300 youth to develop professional business plans, and helped over 250 businesses. This project is funded through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). MEPI is a unique program
designed to engage directly with and invest in the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). MEPI works to create vibrant partnerships with citizens to foster the development of pluralistic, participatory, and prosperous societies throughout the MENA region. To do this, MEPI partners with local, regional and international non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academic institutions, and governments.