Being close to the entrepreneur’s reality
Could you please describe the organisation where you work?
This is a foundation set up to help young entrepreneurs in order to endow them with technical skills. We work mainly with entrepreneurs outside of urban areas.
We have set up 10 proximity sites in order to work closely with young people, known as the Young Entrepreneur Centres. There, these young people can find permanent staff to help them, to respond to all their needs, such as assistance in producing a business plan or in the procedures for obtaining financing.
All told, we have helped more than 400 young people in the five years that the foundation has existed.
At the same time, we have also set up a website where we can virtually assist young entrepreneurs who are unable to go to our centres. The Internet address is: http://online.medlab.ma/.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am the foundation’s director, as well as an essayist and writer, and an observer of the Moroccan social and political scene. I also occupy various positions at a number of institutions. I hold a state engineering degree from the ISCAE management post-graduate course in Political science, am an expert in green economics for the World Bank and am also the founding president of the INMAA Microcredit Association.
What are the key ingredients for building an ecosystem for green entrepreneurship in Morocco?
Most certainly the issue of financing. We have to find mechanisms that take the reality of these young people into account. They often come up with projects that, in the eyes of the investors, are too risky and do not have enough guarantees.
Next, we have to multiply the number of incubators because they lack technical support.
We have to find mechanisms that take the reality of these young people into account
800 Business Plan finalized, 400 proposed to financial institutions, 70 projects accepted by banks, 260 enterprises created… FJE seems to be very active. Can you tell us success stories that could inspire other entrepreneurs that are creating start-ups that have sustainable as a core business?
I have no precise examples to offer you. What we are most proud of is still having in operation the 400 projects that we have supported
What are the top 3 mistakes that entrepreneurs often make?
The first thing that comes to mind is a lack of patience. This is a very common error in young people who are eager to get started, and the barriers and obstacles create a sense of impatience that is not always easy to manage. In that sense, they often have a tendency to spread themselves thin, ready to abandon their projects if they come up with other opportunities.
Next their financing is often too little or too much. Either their vision is too broad or too narrow!
FJE has trained many entrepreneurs. If you look at green and social entrepreneurs, in general, which aspects of the training programme do you think entrepreneurs are more in need of learning? What are the strengths of Moroccan potential entrepreneurs?
Ecology is still getting started, and social and green entrepreneurs have to confront the same problems as everyone else, meaning obtaining financing and guidance in all the stages involved in setting up a company. They want technical assistance on a legal, management and strategic level, and they are often not aware of all the procedures.
The strength of Moroccan entrepreneurs? Their strong desire of wanting to make it on their own. In addition, they have lots of ideas.
Their strong desire of wanting to make it on their own