Farah Souimtou is an expert tailor who for years dreamed of opening her own business. After earning a diploma in tailoring from a private tailoring school in Safi in 2004, she remained on as a trainer for 12 more years. Now at age 32 and the mother of a four year old son, Farah wants to build something on her own for herself and her family. So when her sister told her about the Empowering Youth through Entrepreneurship (EYEM) project in early 2016, Farah seized the opportunity to pursue her dream.
The EYEM project, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and implemented by the Near East Foundation, provides young entrepreneurs in Morocco with the tools and training they need to turn their ideas into viable businesses. Farah participated in the EYEM project’s Enterprise Development Training to learn basic entrepreneurial skills, including how to identify her market, clients, and competitors. She also learned how to formally establish her tailoring business, along with the legal requirements in Morocco.
Farah’s business plan was selected to receive a grant of 20,000 Moroccan dirhams (approximately $2000) in May 2016. The grant enabled her to purchase textiles and two tailoring machines needed to launch her business. Now that her business is up and running, Farah is earning enough money to support her family, and the quality of her work and network of friends have made her well known in the Safi market. With the success of her shop, Farah has been inspired to work with a group of three other tailors and the EYEM project team to launch a tailoring microfranchise called Rashma. This new and unique pilot project will build the sustainability of these tailoring enterprises and provide an opportunity for other youth to become involved with the microfranchise. Along with launching Rasha, Farah also hopes to train other tailors in Safi through a private tailoring school. “I was very satisfied with the training and coaching sessions provided by the EYEM project team,” Farah says. “With their support, I was able to develop my business plan with confidence.”
To date, the EYEM project has trained 486 youth in microenterprise development (263 men and 221 women), assisted more than 349 youth in developing and improving professional business plans, and helped launch 250 businesses (47 percent female).