Building Entrepreneurial Culture at Moroccan Universities

Entrepreneurship is the ability of an individual to move from idea to action. It entails creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects to create value.
 
Entrepreneurship training plays a key role in developing these abilities and behaviors, promoting self-employment at the same time. University entrepreneurship programs and modules offer students the tools to find creative solutions to problems, to analyze ideas objectively, to communicate, network as well as to direct and evaluate any project. What is more, testing ideas in an educational context makes students less hesitant to start their own business and engage in entrepreneurial activities. These are just a few reasons why training students in the field of entrepreneurship is a sustainable way to enrich the economic system with wealth-creating entrepreneurs and creative managers.
 
The entrepreneurship training was almost absent in Moroccan universities and schools until about 10 years ago, with the exception of a few companies who trained their employees. From the years 2000 - 2002, some schools started introducing entrepreneurship courses into their curricula.

These measures emerged in response to changes in the economic and higher education systems, which were characterized by:
  • Reform of the higher education system in Morocco which gave new impetus to the entrepreneurial vision impacting the educational curriculum and which enabled tightening linked between universities and the labor market. Thus the first entrepreneurship projects were university-based incubators;
  • The implementation of sectoral strategies bringing more visibility to the reform and prompted some institutions to develop entrepreneurial training courses aimed at students;
  • The establishment of regional investment centers, following the royal letter of January 2002, which brought a new approach to the creation of businesses in Morocco. The regional investment centers became partners for the institutions that opted for the development of entrepreneurship training;
  • Multiplication and the involvement of associations and aid agencies in business creation in Morocco (Injaz AL Maghrib, Morocco undertake, e.g.). These associations work to raise awareness at Moroccan universities, prompting them to develop training modules.
 However, the actual awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship training came from international organizations with proven experience in this field. Some of them provided structured training, for instance:

-Understanding the Company (CLE) at universities in partnership with the International Labour Office (ILO);
-The Entrepreneurial Culture Programme of the Moroccan Engineering Schools (CEEIMTEMPUS);
 
The actions taken by the universities to develop an entrepreneurial culture focused on the following components:

- Awareness raising to introduce entrepreneurship as a career option and to go beyond the binary system official / employee
-Educational activities aimed at equipping students with behaviors, skills and qualities necessary for the development of entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurship training targets the following objectives:

a) Development of qualities and skills which constitute the basics of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behavior;
b) Raising awareness of career prospects that can give  self-employment and entrepreneurship;
c) Realization of concrete business projects and activities such as the creation of mini enterprises run by students;
d) Acquisition of professional skills and knowledge to start a business.
 
Alongside these structural programs, some institutions have implemented continuous training or masters in entrepreneurship, and in partnership with foreign universities. Most of these formations combine entrepreneurship with other adjacent areas such as innovation, SME management, project management, etc.
 
Accompanying the students in the process of learning allows them to be more efficient in the development of their business plans. Attendants are solicited for the following:
- The development of market research;
- The methodology for estimation of the turnover;
- Preparation of the technical study;
- Evaluation of investment program
- The development of the account projected income and expenses;
- The choice of the financing plan;
- The finalization of the business plan.
 
However, the interest of entrepreneurship education is not limited to the increased number of new businesses, launching innovative projects and job creation.
 
Entrepreneurship is a key competence for all, it helps students to be more creative and self-confident in all the activities they undertake.
 
The strong involvement of the Moroccan universities for the promotion of entrepreneurial culture is important because with 180,000 university graduates entering the labor market each year their integration into the labor would require a growth rate of 6 %. Therefore, the entrepreneurship is a viable alternative to achieve this goal.
Themes
Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Curriculum Design and Ecosystem, Education Policy and Reform

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