Pilot programme trains female entrepreneurs in Morocco
By Naoufel Cherkaoui for Magharebia in Rabat -- 05/03/09
To help women start small businesses and achieve financial independence, the Chorouk Centre for Social Development recently launched a two-part training programme in Fez.
On Thursday (February 26th), the female participants received a detailed guide entitled, "The Guide for Women Entrepreneurs". It includes the stories of two women who lived in poverty and who started their own businesses to secure an income to provide for their families.
"The guide is simply a book that includes a straightforward explanation of the stages for establishing businesses," said Fatima Ghilani, executive manager of the centre.
In November, 32 women participated in phase one of the programme. A workshop showed them how to come up with business ideas, calculate the set-up costs and explore ways to execute their objectives. The women also learned how to write business proposals.
"The focus group meetings that were organized by the centre in the past were beneficial in determining the women’s needs and their future vision," Ghilani said. "After receiving training on how to build businesses, they now have a clear vision following their initial confusion."
"Supporting women is one of our priorities," said Martin Saint Armand, representative of Oxfam Québec, which is collaborating with the Chorouk Centre. "Therefore, we were interested in the Chorouk Centre's project. We considered it a natural thing to support it. We’ve always found guides essential in helping women establish businesses."
The centre will not provide funding, Ghilani said, but will help new entrepreneurs find partners who are interested in funding those small businesses. Another training phase will be held, but not until the centre has made sure the first two phases were effective, Ghilani added.
Local authorities have shown support for the programme. Hassan Saou, vice president of the Fez District Council, attended the meeting to launch the guide, and said that the scheme will also help the city.
"This initiative will help build many businesses, which in turn will contribute to the development of those women's skills; something that would lead to the development of the area," he said. "This type of projects will help improve the economic condition of many families by creating jobs that preserve the dignity of the women of Fez, where many poor families live."
Loubna Laghouil, one of the beneficiaries of the programme, said that although she already has a job, her income does not cover her family's needs. Therefore, she decided to participate in the training.
"We have benefited a lot from the training," she said in the meeting. "The training has given us an accurate idea about all the stages necessary in establishing and managing projects. I'm in the process of preparing for the establishment of a small business that would guarantee an additional income to help me meet my family’s needs."
Khadija Bouassria is a homemaker. "After I attended the training, which has been very useful to me", she said, "I decided to start a small sewing factory with the aim of ensuring an income that would help me achieve economic independence; so that my husband will not be the only source of income for the family."
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