La gazelle 72 - Page 116

I rencontre interview I encounters interview I ‫مقابلـة‬ ‫لقــاءات‬ I rencontre interview I encounters interview I ‫مقابلـة‬ ‫لقــاءات‬ Basically, we give these young entrepreneurs access to expertise, the market and the first funding. La Gazelle : What kind of start-ups do you support? NF : First, we encourage the human, the entrepreneur. Our selection criteria are based on young entrepreneurs’ will, dynamism, integrity, determination, technical competence and soft skills. We favour the Emotional Quotient (EQ) to the Intellectual Quotient (IQ). We of course choose to deal with new technologies that can help transform the Tunisian economy. This activity can affect all sectors such as education, trade, agriculture, renewable energy and even the informal economy. La Gazelle : In the time of social networks, do you think it is essential to promote one’s image to develop a business? NF : Yes absolutely! Today, to sell your product to a customer, whether it is another company or just a user, it is essential that the image conveyed by the company, the product and the entrepreneur is positive. What matters is the trust that people put in you. We therefore must inspire integrity and reliability.The 21st century looks like a big village where everything is based on trust. La Gazelle : How can young companies compete today in an international market with a non-convertible Tunisian dinar? NF : Are our young entrepreneurs innately competitive? The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES! Is the ecosystem favourable to them? Not yet. I think that as long as the dinar is not convertible, Tunisia will work below its economic capacity. The excuse is that we do not have the economic fundamentals to do it. However, I am convinced that Tunisia has all it takes to make its currency convertible, so why waste time? We are here trying to create a favourable ecosystem so that young Tunisian entrepreneurs are the least affected by the dinar’s non-convertibility and other constraints. The positive aspect of this economic situation is that we are testing the possible success of young Tunisians’ products and solutions abroad. Noomane Fehri entouré de l’équipe de b@labs I Noomane Fehri surrounded by b@labs team I B@Labs ‫بفريق‬ ‫حماطا‬ ‫الفهري‬ ‫نعامن‬ Noomane Fehri, B@LABS and the future of start-ups in Tunisia Technology and modern economy business development specialist, Noomane Fehri has more than one arrow in the quiver. With 25 years of international experience, he also was Minister of Technology, Information and Communications, twice elected as a Member of the Assembly. He is now head of w, a start- up incubator in the heart of Tunis, financed by the BIAT bank; a great opportunity to encourage the young entrepreneurs who will shape Tunisia’s future. La Gazelle : How would you define what you are undertaking in a few words? NF : It is the desire to move forward by trying to provide what is missing in Tunisia so that the entire Tunisian socio-economic system functions towards supporting Tunisian youth. La Gazelle : Tell us about B@Labs project NF : After more than 25 years abroad, I returned to Tunisia in 2011 to help build Tunisia 2.0. While being twice a member of the Constituent Assembly and the Assembly of the Representatives of the People then as a Minister, I came to 118 know how resourceful and full of energy young Tunisian entrepreneurs are and be acquainted with the opportunities that new technologies may offer in Tunisia. However, I was also given the chance to see how difficult it is for young people to fulfil their dreams. That’s why, at first, I set up programs for young entrepreneurs such as the technology card that allows young entrepreneurs to make payments in foreign currency, and the Start-up Act, this draft law on the promotion of start-ups, which was approved last December by the Council of Ministers and adopted in its entirety by the Committee on Industry, Energy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure and the Environment within the Assembly. I also learned that the public sector has some inertia peculiar to the public system. 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