Second Phase of Rural Entrepreneurship Trainings Officially Begins for 16 Cooperatives

BY YOUSSEF ROCHDANE, TRANSLATOR AND CONTENT WRITER

Building a brand, targeting specific audiences and overcoming challenges, the High Atlas cooperatives are back in Marrakech for three days of learning and sharing.

This August, 16 participants representing their cooperatives gathered in Marrakech for a three-day workshop marking the start of the second phase of the Rural Entrepreneurship Project.

The Rural Entrepreneurship Project is part of the High Atlas Cultural Landscapes Programme and focuses on supporting rural entrepreneurs in Morocco to promote sustainable land-use practices. The second phase is a continuation of the successful one-year-long first phase of the programme, benefitting 16 rural cooperatives in the High Atlas region. This continuation allowed both new cooperatives and those that had joined before to participate, fostering practical entrepreneurial skills for varying capacities.

Ahmed Haouaria, who has more than 10 years of experience working with non-profits and cooperatives, delivered training on two topics: Market Analysis & Testing as well as Brand Identity & Positioning, with the goal of helping cooperatives take their businesses to the next level.

Participants were eager to collaborate and enjoyed the different training methods, from icebreakers and practical activities to interactive exercises and case studies. The workshop was well received due to the topics covered, which ranged from establishing your brand and branding to the tools needed to analyse the market and how to better position yourself within it.

“We could not find a brand name that could be used for all the products we sell, but thanks to the tips of Mr Haouaria and the suggestions of the other participants during the open discussion, I believe that we finally have a brand name that everyone in my cooperative will agree on”, she explained.

Some cooperatives already had a marketing strategy in place and were able to discuss the challenges they faced and strategies they used to overcome them. It was a great opportunity for the other cooperatives to learn from the experience of participants who have already walked the path they are planning to go through. By identifying challenges, competitors and target consumers, our facilitator was able to suggest practical solutions for an economically sustainable future.

 

“I was worried that our brand name was limiting us as a cooperative, though after the group discussions on brand identity and market targeting, I realised that our brand can target various audiences that speak Tamazight, Arabic, French or English in creative ways”, said Hafida from Wardat Al Atlas Cooperative.

“It was truly wonderful to see how the participants shared their experiences during the round table discussion to benefit the others and help them avoid some of the challenges they have experienced themselves” – workshop facilitator Ahmed Haouaria

We have a handful of upcoming workshops to look forward to in the coming months, gaining more experience that informs our collective process each time. Stay tuned through the Stories section of our website for updates on the entrepreneurship skills the cooperatives are developing through their participation in this programme.

Thanks to the support of the MAVA Foundation and the Darwin Initiative, in addition to the expertise of partners such as the Moroccan Biodiversity & Livelihoods Association (MBLA), as well as our resourceful facilitator Ahmed Haouaria, we continue to support rural cooperatives. 

This workshop was made possible thanks to the Project Coordinator Hafida Mazoud, Project Assistant Fatiha Tachakourt, Liaison Officer Nihad Aassimi and our In-house Translator Youssef Rochdane.