While still in its early development stage, Morocco’s startup ecosystem has the potential to reinvigorate the small business environment and reduce the 40 percent youth unemployment rate. In 2013, Start Up Your Life, a non-profit organization with the mission of helping early and seed startups grow and turn into high-potential businesses, operates at the “seed” stage of the startup ecosystem and is a current Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) grantee, as was Injaz Morocco, providing assistance to entrepreneurs at the project “formation” stage. MEPI and Embassy Rabat’s public affairs grants have supported Injaz Morocco’s ability to instill a sense of social entrepreneurship among high school and university students. MEPI also supports entrepreneurship focused actors not currently participating in the startup ecosystem, but which will have lasting impacts in Morocco such as the Near East Foundation (NEF). NEF has helped establish over 300 new micro-businesses over the last 18 months.
A similar project called “Fostering a New Generation of Social Entrepreneurs” equipped over 2500 students, ages 13-17, attending public schools, from middle- and low-income families, from Meknes, Fez, Sale, and Kenitra with social entrepreneurship education and skills. By the end of the project, students participated in local and national competitions and pitched their newly created junior enterprises. All beneficiaries had the opportunity to compete for the “Best Social Enterprise Award.” The Winner team received the Award of the “Best Social Enterprise.” The overall project was based on a “learning by doing” method and helped strengthening school-to-work transition. These MEPI projects boost entrepreneurship initiatives and are leveraging and bridging existing resources for youth economic empowerment throughout Morocco.