Hayat Bachak is a 26-year-old kinesiotherapist from El Jadida, Morocco—and now also an entrepreneur, running her own clinic to help patients of all ages manage pain, facilitate recovery, and prevent disease.
The youngest of seven children, Hayat graduated with a degree in Kinesiotherapy from the Institute of Technology and Auxiliary and Multi-Purpose Nurses (ITIAP) in El Jadida in 2013. While in school, Hayat undertook a four-year internship at Mohammed V Hospital in El Jadida, and a two-month internship at the SALMIA Center for Kinesiotherapy. She also worked as an apprentice at the Alfath Center in El Jadida where she learned how to manage a center administratively and financially. “I learned to manage a center, organize administrative papers, and manage clients,” Hayat said. “I learned more about the field of work and the market.”
Her experience in helping to manage the Alfath Center gave Hayat the strength and self confidence that pushed her towards opening her own clinic, however she didn’t have the financial resources to receive the necessary authorization. “I started thinking about setting up my own business because I wanted to be the owner and not be controlled by someone else,” Hayat said. “The only obstacle that pushed me not to start earlier was not having enough money to do so.”
To seek help, Hayat visited the Chamber of Commerce in El Jadida, and it was there that she 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 businesses.
Hayat visited the EYEM office and joined the project immediately. During the coaching sessions, Hayat learned about different types of enterprises, creation procedures, and how to develop her marketing skills. She also had the opportunity to meet other
entrepreneurs and exchange ideas and knowledge.
Hayat developed a business plan for her center, which was approved for a grant of 20,000 Moroccan Dirhams by the EYEM project selection committee. Hayat’s family supported her by providing a space to launch her business. Hayat’s Center opened on August 1, 2016. The Center provides services for people affected by injury, illness, or disability through movement and exercise. Kinesiotherapy helps with back pain or sudden injury, and managing long-term medical illnesses such as asthma.
Since launching her center, Hayat has made a profit of 4000 Moroccan Dirhams (nearly $400 USD). She is happy with these results, but has plans to expand her clientele by offering some “one-time” free services to attract new clients.
The EYEM project has trained 486 youth in microenterprise development, helped over 300 youth to develop professional business plans, and helped launch over 250 businesses.