Ali Jaouhar is a 42-year-old personal development coach, a graduate in Energetic Massage Therapy, and Founder of the 17th Sense Wellness Center.
His story is a fantastic illustration of hope and tenacity. He is an inspiring role model for any young person who wants to start a business. Ali entered the world of work in 2006 as a sales consultant in a call center. Since then, he has continued to grow and learn the ins and outs of his job. Nevertheless, despite the financial stability that his job provided him, he was not satisfied. He felt a significant void eating away at him that nothing seemed to fill.
“I was doing my job mechanically just to support myself,” Ali recalls. ”The call center was like a morgue for my dreams and ambitions. I lost them in the tumultuous din of the phone calls.” The constant stress and overbearing monitoring of his time and tasks on the part of his superiors, along with the heavy workload, took a toll on his health and psyche, and he eventually experienced a devastating burnout.
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can get back on track, as the saying goes. The burnout he felt was enough to persuade him to launch his own project and free himself from the constraints of working a nine-to-five job. As such, he decided to open a wellness center.
Aware of the difficulty of this task, Ali equipped himself with patience and his abundance of experience and began his entrepreneurial journey. To develop the 17th Sense brand, he started by offering trainings and coaching in wellness, and he invested everything he had in the massage therapy business.
On July 23, 2022, Ali commenced entrepreneurial coaching from the Legal Clinic of the Faculty of Law in Fez as part of the “Engaging Underserved Communities in the Fez Region through Legal Aid, Awareness-Raising, and Socio-Economic Integration” program, which is housed at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, implemented by the High Atlas Foundation, and funded by the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative. The coaching represents a turning point in his life and an important source of support for his wellness project.
During the training and coaching sessions, Ali acquired legal and financial information to help him launch his business. He also had chance to build his soft skills and management competencies, which enhanced his sense of legitimacy and self-confidence in launching his initiative. After receiving one-on-one mentoring and training in digital marketing and financial management, Ali completed his business and financial plan and started assembling the administrative paperwork required to obtain legal status and commercial registration for the wellness center. He has also received additional training to obtain funding from the Intilaka and Forsa programs.
The High Atlas Foundation program team is still working with Ali today, supporting him toward the launch of his business while also assisting with developing the wellness center’s website and strategizing for its enhanced visibility on social media platforms. “I will always be grateful for this program, which I hope will endure for many generations to come,” he says.
Mentorship and accompaniment toward the realization of income-generating projects were part of the program “Engaging Underserved Communities in the Fez Region through Legal Aid, Awareness-Raising, and Socio-Economic Integration” which was implemented by the High Atlas Foundation in partnership with the Faculty of Legal, Economic, and Social Sciences at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fez and with funding from the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). The program aimed to elevate the status of youth, women, and underrepresented communities by providing pro-bono legal aid and entrepreneurship training as a means to engage civically and economically.