SwitchMed meets Tunisian youth

The delegation of the European Union in Tunisia organized the EU4YOUth forum allowing young Tunisians to meet different project leaders funded by the EU, in terms of mobility, creation of start-ups...

Published on Wednesday 11 December 2019· NETWORKING FACILITY

SwitchMed was also present to encourage these young Tunisians to develop ideas for green projects and to invest in the green and social economy, thus contributing positively to the economy and the environment of the country.

On November 28, 2019, at the Tunis City of Culture, more than 16,000 young people participated in the EU4YOUth forum. During this day dedicated to the Tunisian youth, several axes were treated according to the different programs that the European Union wants to dedicate to this youth: cultural creation, investment, study abroad, civil society, etc … This forum has also witnessed the participation of some programs dedicated to developing the entrepreneurship of young people.

On this occasion, young Tunisian entrepreneurs spoke about their “success stories” after having integrated the programs proposed by the EU.
Thus, the Switcher Leila Horchani could interact with thousands of people during her visit to the stage of the Opera House, to talk about her green project “Farm Bio Warda” based in Sidi Bouzid. This young woman, just 30 years old, began by applying for a green entrepreneurship training program: SwitchMed. Today, she runs her own project. A 100% organic farm, spread over 10 hectares of land, subject to international standards of organic farming.

Throughout the day, the SwitchMed stand brought together several Tunisian Switchers who came to show their green projects and the products and services they offer. Founders of Elma Eco, SICAP, Waste to Value, Dar zaghouan, Le Carré Traditionnel, BioFire, Association for the Integration of Forest Residents and others took turns to explain to the hundreds of curious young people their challenging entrepreneurial journey and success stories.

The day was also full of debates, shows, exhibitions, but especially lots of meetings. In fact, more than 300 young people were able to participate in the panel discussion on the circular economy at the “Salle des Jeunes Créateurs” organized by representatives of the SwitchMed and GIMED program. During this debate, the panelists discussed with the audience the situation of green entrepreneurship in Tunisia. The youth attending the panel did not miss this opportunity to discuss their own project ideas, and the obstacles they face to become green entrepreneurs in Tunisia. Ananda Alonso, Sallouha Bouzgarrou, Hichem Salem, Claudia Pani and Douja Gharbi, project managers at SwitchMed and Green Impact MED, explained how young people can benefit from these two programs as well as the tools available to develop their green project ideas. Find the presentation of “SwitchMed stratup vertes et circulaires” here as well as the presentation of GIMED here.

This debate has been enriched by the testimony of Mohamed Makki Maalej, a green entrepreneur incubated by SwitchMed and founder of M2M, a startup that has developed an application that reduces energy consumption in the agricultural and agri-food industries. In addition, our Switchers were even honored on the Tunisian radio of the Express FM channel as a guest on #EcoMag Special Live #EU4YOUth at the Cité de La Culture. Indeed, Yassine Ben Menadi founder of BioIntrants Technologies, Wahiba Ben Ali, founder of Artisanature, and the founder of Agritable explained how they were able to build their startup despite the lack of incentive for eco-innovative projects in the Tunisian legislative framework . Watch their intervention here.

The intervention of SwitchMed project manager Claudia Pani on Express FM followed the switchers. Ms Pani first presented the support schemes for entrepreneurs offered by SwitchMed, upstream and downstream of access to financing for a solid preparation for fundraising. She then listed the possibilities of financing green projects offered to young Tunisians, an issue that represents the most important obstacle to the development of this kind of projects. For more details on this topic, a report was published by SwitchMed: The White Paper.

"A simple form allowed me to connect with SwitchMed, who provided me with tremendous support to make my green project a reality"

Leila Horchani, Bio Warda Farm