Marrakech - The growing number of young people in Morocco should set the alarm bells ringing for the government and decision makers. In my last article, I hinted at one of the most promising solutions to youth issues in Morocco when I mentioned promoting employment and entrepreneurship. In this article, I will expand more on this point and attempt to build an understanding of social entrepreneurship as a ‘savior’ of youth in the Moroccan context.
Marrakech – The growing number of young people in Morocco should set the alarm bells ringing for the government and decision makers. In my last article, I hinted at one of the most promising solutions to youth issues in Morocco when I mentioned promoting employment and entrepreneurship. In this article, I will expand more on this point and attempt to build an understanding of social entrepreneurship as a ‘savior’ of youth in the Moroccan context.
The Moroccan culture and tradition encourage solidarity and sharing among family members and sometimes in extended families or tribal systems. This anthropological observation can be regarded as a positive factor in the Moroccan economy if we consider the high number of cooperatives and projects created on the basis of solidarity and profit-sharing. Therefore, I suggest social entrepreneurship as one of the key factors to the socio-economic situation of youth in Morocco.
When I first heard about social entrepreneurship I said to myself ‘I understand social. I understand entrepreneurship. But when I put the two words together, I had to pause.’ I pause because I wonder whether social entrepreneurship is really entrepreneurship in the regular sense where a business owner takes risk in the expectation of making money. Then, the observation: If it’s mostly about the social good, what makes it entrepreneurship? And if it’s mostly about entrepreneurship, what makes it social?
My research on the topic helped me come to the definition that social entrepreneurship is the process of employing market-based methods to solve social problems. Social entrepreneurs also take into account a positive return to society. Social entrepreneurship typically attempts to attain broad, social, cultural, and environmental goals. After establishing this understanding of social entrepreneurship I came to the observation that youth can guarantee benefits for themselves and their community if they developed social projects.
According to the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports, over half of Moroccan youth (aged 15-29) is not in education, employment or training. So, how can social entrepreneurship help in solving this problem? And what should be done to get convincing practical steps towards the end of this issue?
The initiatives of social entrepreneurs aim at generating employment opportunities and alleviating poverty by harnessing the available resources. While Morocco has a healthy tradition of social economy, in which cooperation and solidarity play important roles, the concept of social entrepreneurship is still a relatively new concept.
This is not only about creating profit-making enterprises with social purposes. The focus should be on creating an entrepreneurial mindset and encouraging young people to find innovative solutions to the issues they confront in their daily lives. It is perceived as a sustainable way to promote a practical participation of young people in their own communities.
Inbreathing this spirit of social entrepreneurship will have to face many systematic and well established constraints. A Social entrepreneur in Morocco faces the same kinds of problems as faced by a common entrepreneur in any business. They should have knowledge of the social need, their competitors, stakeholders’ attitude etc. The primary challenge faced by social entrepreneurs is gaining recognition, as social entrepreneurs, by the government. Recognition is associated with a number of incentives like monetary, fiscal and legislative requirements. In addition to the complicated regulations, tax laws also act as hurdles in promoting social businesses.
Entrepreneurship in Morocco is not a part of the educational curriculum in the early stages of studies. This discourages competent and skilled students to enter into business and especially social businesses. Hence the curriculum of social entrepreneurship development should be involved and invoked in the Moroccan educational system.
Lack of funding or capital is yet another area of trouble. Social entrepreneurs have to muddle through long procedures and sometimes unclear risks to take in order to fund their social projects. This financial burden pushes many social entrepreneurs to drop their ideas and think of governmental jobs. There also is lack of knowledge of local community in distinguishing between social business and normal profit driven business. Hence it becomes difficult for the entrepreneur to benefit from the positive cultural attitude most Moroccans have towards social projects that consider solidarity as a main component.
To cut a long story short, the answer to most of Morocco’s youth problems can come in the form of social entrepreneurship as it helps young people diagnose the social issues they live by adopting a participatory approach ,working with low cost , employing the untrained masses. Hence, the government should develop positive attitude towards young social entrepreneurs. Along with this, the government should include social entrepreneurship in basic educational curricula which will help youngsters to develop an entrepreneurial spirit.
In the new constitution of 2011, the article 33 called for the creation of Consultative Council of Youth, which has so far failed to see light. This council –if created- should take into consideration the implementation of social entrepreneurship as one of the major practices to be encouraged and adopted by the government for Morocco to start ‘making’ job makers not job seekers.
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission