Entrepreneurs play a key role in economic growth and job creation in Tunisia

Entrepreneurs play a key role in economic growth and job creation in Tunisia

During my travels in Tunisia over the past three years, some of my most influential contacts have been with entrepreneurs, whose initiative and passion for innovation continue to remind me of the country’s immense potential. These Tunisians are driven not only by the desire for personal success but also by the desire for a more prosperous future for their communities and their country.

Today, Tunisians face a high unemployment rate, and an increasing number of young inventors are considering emigrating. At the same time, the Tunisian economy needs to undergo significant reforms, which have long been delayed. The US government is ready to support these reforms in accordance with the democratic will of the Tunisian people. Throughout this critical period, Tunisia prioritizes its support for entrepreneurs who are one of its most valuable competitive assets.

Keep in mind that silicon fence giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft did not succeed overnight. They started with a small group of young entrepreneurs who showed incredible ingenuity and perseverance, and they were supported by a disciplined environment conducive to innovation. These small businesses grew into large multinational corporations over time. These three former start-ups are now responsible for the direct employment of nearly half a million people worldwide. There is no doubt that there are Tunisian entrepreneurs with the ability to create similar industries and jobs, and I have actually met such entrepreneurs.

Many young Tunisians show the energy and agility of the pioneers of Silicon Valley, and this country already has the materials needed to create a dynamic and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. Tunisian policymakers can support the success of small and medium enterprises across the country. This was demonstrated by the enactment of the Startup Act of 2018 – a huge step forward that helps inventors in the complex process of starting a new business.

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However, the question remains: how will Tunisia develop this site and meet the current demands of entrepreneurs and small business owners? First, the implementation of economic reforms that encourage private sector job growth – especially within the country – is essential to the future prosperity of every Tunisian. In fact, any potential investor when starting his project takes into account the choice of location of his new operations and his partnership. Given Tunisia’s role as a “gateway to Africa”, it is important to act quickly to stay competitive in the region.

Second, Tunisian entrepreneurs must enjoy the freedom to operate in global e-commerce on an equal footing with their counterparts around the world. This includes the ability to pay suppliers freely without resorting to time consuming and costly administrative procedures. In fact, access to global electronic payment sites is essential for easy purchases and, most importantly, for payment by customers. In addition, the revision of the foreign exchange index regulations to meet the needs of the global trading environment will attract new funding from foreign investors who are in the habit of allocating capital freely and quickly.

Third, Tunisian entrepreneurs, especially those in the technology sector, will increasingly need information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure that provides robust data protection. Entrepreneurs do not have to worry about losing valuable intellectual property that they have created over the years due to unreliable ICT infrastructure or cyber attacks. Foreign investors need to be confident that communication and data sharing with local partners is secure and secure. New cyber security policies may be designed to open up rather than block opportunities for technological startups.

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In recent years, the US Embassy has intensified its involvement with entrepreneurs and the government, and this involvement has become a cornerstone of our economic assistance. Through USAID’s $ 69.5 million JOBS program, we support increasing sales of more than 30,000 small and medium enterprises across the country to TD 1.5 billion and creating approximately 42,000 new jobs. In addition, through our programs with Columbia University, Deloitte, Endeavor and Open Start-up Tunisia, thousands of young entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to benefit from the experience and advice of top American and Tunisian experts. We will work to connect Tunisian start-ups with US-based venture capitalists, including the SelectUSA Summit in June. Just last week, I started a USAID partnership between the Bank of Tunisia (ATB) and the American International Development Finance Corporation for bank loans.

However, more efforts need to be made. The US government is ready to strengthen support for entrepreneurs and small business owners across Tunisia. We hope the Tunisian leaders will create a more open environment for entrepreneurs and remove barriers to creating the jobs the country needs. Every Tunisian deserves economic security and the ability to achieve a more prosperous future. It is in our hands to act without delay to ensure that Tunisian entrepreneurs, the key drivers of tomorrow’s economic growth, have the tools and regulatory framework to realize this vision.

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

"Alcohol evangelist. Devoted twitter guru. Lifelong coffee expert. Music nerd."

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