Just after launching the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme programme, Swisscontact followed up with an entrepreneurial Ecosystem Health Check in Morocco to facilitate the implementation of the Youth Inclusion and Employment Project (YIEP).
The Danish-Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP II) is Denmark's collaborative programme with North Africa and the Middle East. The programme aims to build partnerships to strengthen good governance and ensure economic opportunities, especially for youth and women, in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. In Morocco, the Youth Inclusion and Employment Project, which falls under the first pillar of the DAPP, will be implemented by ActionAid Denmark and Alianza Por La Solidaridad in collaboration with Swisscontact and Turning Tables. The project aims to enable young people to be inspired and actively included in economic life by equipping them with the technical and soft skills needed to get a decent job or to engage in entrepreneurship.
In 2021, Swisscontact and its partner DEEP Ecosystems developed the Ecosystem Health Check – a self-serving toolkit that supports actors in startup communities to measure and analyse the state of their entrepreneurial ecosystems. DEEP Ecosystems is a platform for the acceleration of entrepreneurial ecosystems that works with innovation leaders worldwide to help them grow their regional communities and institutions to support more entrepreneurs to succeed.
Swisscontact worked with DEEP to build a strong basis for the project and to ensure improved business environments for entrepreneurs and SMEs in a very complex, economical and social environment such as Morocco. In January 2023, CEO of DEEP Ecosystems Thomas Kösters, Ecosystem Expert Sara Usinger, and DAPP coordinator Zineb Fakihani jointly started elaborating an Ecosystem Health Check that will serve as a tool to compare and benchmark the state of development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, plan strategic interventions, and identify key metrics related their impact.
To reach a better understanding and deliver the right recommendations that will promote the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Morocco, key metrics included the level of international connectivity and network density, among others.
In order to collect data for the analysis of the startup community, the team conducted a review of studies on the local ecosystem, brainstorming sessions, roundtables and surveys with leaders of the ecosystem. 641 startups were identified and a list of Entrepreneurship Support Organisations (ESOs) was created.
The results of the analysis were summarised in a guideline. The findings show a strong performance in terms of the startup environment:
Despite the fact that support for startups has a positive impact on the success of these startups, the ecosystem is not able to rally behind a successful strategy just yet:
As a general guideline, the recommendation for a future strategy should refocus away from structural development and guide towards talent and community objectives, combined with an ambitious growth mindset. The results show that education and inspiration for entrepreneurial talent is needed to capture the great economic potential of the Moroccan youth:
Swisscontact and its implementation partners in the DAPP project will place these recommendations at the heart of their activities to maximise their impact.