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Mashrou3i Supports a New Generation of Labeled Startups

May 6, 2022

In recent years, particular attention has been paid to the startup economy as a distinctive approach to economic development because of its strong contribution to GDP growth and the creation of wealth and jobs.

Tunisia has witnessed the emergence of a new generation of startups, all areas of expertise. Whether RetailTech, ArtTech, Gaming, FoodTech, AgriTech or BigData, an increasing number of startups have been launched in the Tunisian entrepreneurial ecosystem. What they have in common is that they are founded by young, talented Tunisians willing to conquer the world with new technologies and a new mindset.

“The stars of tomorrow will come from Tunisia” is the headline that you can find on the official website StartupTunisia. It aims to inspire and invite startups, investors and support organizations to participate in the development of a more dynamic economy. Since the adoption of the new Startup Act, which was voted into law by the parliament in October 2018 and officially published on the 17th of April, 709 startups have already been labeled.

With an average of 11 jobs created per startup, obtaining the startup label is an important lever for wealth and job creation. This business creation movement is not limited to Tunisia’s capital or coastal regions – as entrepreneurs supported by the Mashrou3i project in the country’s interior governorates demonstrate.

“After officially launching my company in September 2020, I was happy to be counted among the most innovative startups in the country. Apart from the wider visibility, which enabled me to secure new contracts with public institutions, labeled startups also get a one-year grant of up to 1,000 TND per month to help activities get off to a good start, as well as social security benefits.”

Ali Boukhachem, founder of Wow Soft, digital development agency, TataouineTunisia intends to facilitate the launch and development of 1,000 labeled startups, 10,000 jobs and the creation of a unicorn (a startup with a turnover of one billion) by 2024. The scheme includes 20 incentives structured around a label of merit and numerous benefits for startups, their founders and investors. The program, which was initiated in April 2019, is now well established and records around twenty labeled and/or pre-labeled startups each month from around fifty applications.

“I submitted my application to the Start Up Act in January 2020. After finalizing the administrative creation of my company and receiving the encouragement of the jury, my company was officially labelled on 5 August 2020. I was the very first entrepreneur to receive the startup label in Tataouine, which is a great source of pride! This marks the beginning of a new era in the technology sector in the south of the country.

Hajer El Hedi, founder of Examido, educational platform, Tataouine

Mashrou3i is a public-private partnership project between the Tunisian government, USAID, the Italian Cooperation and HP Foundation, and implemented by UNIDO. Through HP LIFE training for entrepreneurs, business coaching and technical assistance, Mashrou3i aims to create 6,000 jobs in 14 disadvantaged regions of the country.