Posted by: ALL AFRICA

Enhancing support for Tunisian entrepreneurs

In order to improve the support services provided to Tunisian entrepreneurs countrywide, Souk At-tanmia’s partnership launched a capacity-building program for public and civil actors operating in the field of entrepreneurship in Tunisia. This training cycle aims to foster synergies between public institutions and civil society organizations in order to improve the quality of the services offered to Tunisian entrepreneurs.

“This training is in line with the orientations of the African Development Bank’s Jobs For Youth in Africa Strategy 2016-2025 (JfYA), which aims to create 25 million jobs and positively impact 50 million youth over the next decade across the continent,” said Mohamed El Azizi, Director General of the AfDB’s office for North Africa. “Promoting entrepreneurship and creating productive jobs for young people will help improve their living conditions and stimulate the growth of Tunisia and its economic transformation.”

The content of the training was designed following a needs assessment based on a participatory approach, which involved various stakeholders and planned to better meet the expectations and needs of the target audiences and avoid duplication of similar actions already undertaken by other actors.

The training cycle encompasses 10 modules with different themes and includes in-person and e-learning workshops to help beneficiaries to acquire the essential technical and non-technical skills in business practices.

Following a national call for applications, which received more than 400 proposals, 200 candidates were selected to take part in the first phase of the training. Twenty-four three-day workshops were organized in the different regions of the country. Out of the 200 beneficiaries coming from the 24 governorates of Tunisia, 63% represent the public sector and 37% the civil society.

The first phase of the training recorded a strong participation of women (49%) and young people under 37 years of age (48%) and enabled participants to learn how to design an effective entrepreneurship support programs; identify promising entrepreneurs and select best business ideas; and optimize the relationship with the entrepreneur (soft skills and communication aspects).

During these three-day-training, participants also had the opportunity to exchange ideas and broaden their respective network as well as explore areas of collaboration and synergy with public and civil actors. 92% of the surveyed participants indicated that the training had enabled them to establish interesting relationships and fruitful exchanges with other beneficiaries.

“This training helped me to learn more about the missions of each participant and its areas of intervention,” said Awatef Miraoui from the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training. “I had the opportunity to create an acquaintance in each administration, which would enormously help me in accessing to information, either when preparing business plans or for guiding and connecting young entrepreneurs to the relevant organizations in order to effectively meet their needs.”

The next phases of this training program will include new modules through e-learning while taking into account the professional constraints of the participants. A third and final phase will consist of a training of excellence in the form of a boot camp, which will bring together the 60 best “champions” who have succeeded and obtained the best results during the two previous phases.

Providing young Tunisian entrepreneurs with valuable know-how

Following the public sector and civil society training, a 60-hour capacity-building program, based on the Build Your Business curriculum (BYB), was offered to 251 shortlisted candidates out of the 601 who were competing in the second round of the selection process of Souk At-tanmia’s third edition. The training intends to build capacities and strengthen the skills of young Tunisian entrepreneurs, particularly in business management, to help them better manage their ventures, as well as prepare and finalize their business plans. With financial support from the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), Education For Employment (EFE), which provided the training, designed the BYB’s curriculum, in collaboration with Microsoft and the International Youth Foundation, adapted its content to meet Souk At-tanmia’s specific needs based on lessons learned from the second edition.

“Our goal is to deliver a practical and interactive training program while providing the young candidates for Souk At-tanmia’s third edition with entrepreneurial know-how and necessary skills to help them set up their own businesses,” stated Lamia Chaffai Sghaier, Executive Director of EFE-Tunisia.

Group photo of a Build Your Business workshop in Bizerte, Tunisia (June 2017)

“The training has been highly beneficial for pursuing my career as an entrepreneur. Thanks to my trainer’s support and the enriching exchange with other participants, the training helped me to finetune my business idea, validate my business model as well as finalize the technical study of my project,” said Aymen Talbi, 28.

Talbi, desires to create InstaDrive, a new platform providing innovative services dedicated to the transport sector. Among the 251 trainees are 201 young people under 35 years of age (80%), 170 unemployed (67.77%) and 107 women (42.63%).

After completing the BYB training, applicants who have submitted their respective business plans, will be evaluated by a committee comprising Souk At-tanmia’s partners through a transparent process according to the competitiveness and quality criteria as defined by Souk At-tanmia’s program. The finalists who have achieved the highest scores in the post-training evaluation will be invited to participate in a three-day boot camp, which will mark the official kick-off of the intensive coaching phase. They will also receive tailored support and assistance for their project during the fundraising phase. They will then be rewarded with funding support through grants, combined with a comprehensive non-financial support to facilitate the launching and development of their business.

About Souk At-tanmia

Launched in July 2012, Souk At-tanmia is a partnership bringing together development institutions, public and private sectors and Tunisian civil society, to fight unemployment in Tunisia. Souk At-tanmia aims to create new opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs by helping them to create their own projects. To this end, the partnership offers comprehensive support, combining funding (in the form of grants) and support services to enable them deal with financial constraints and the capacity deficit Tunisian entrepreneurs are facing. Given the success of previous editions, the Partnership launched its third edition of Souk At-tanmia in March 2017.

About Souk At-tanmia’s partners

The United Kingdom Embassy in Tunisia, the African Development Bank (AfDB), la Banque de financement des petites et moyennes entreprises (BFPME), la Banque tunisienne de solidarité (BTS), le Centre des jeunes dirigeants d’entreprise (CJD), la Confédération des entreprises citoyennes de la Tunisie (CONECT), the Government of Danemark, the United States of America’s Government, Education For Employment Tunisie (EFE), l’Association des Tunisiens des grandes écoles (ATUGE), Microsoft Tunisie, Mediterranean School of Business (MSB), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Tunisie Place de Marché (TPM). Organizations and associate partners: l’Agence de promotion de l’industrie et de l’innovation (APII) et l’Agence de promotion des investissements agricoles (APIA).

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