New competition builds community in Tunisia


Collaborations in the start-up ecosystem in Tunisia cover all the bases. From government involvement to start-up enablers and the entrepreneurs themselves – everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets involved. Here are two examples of recent initiatives.

HealthTech Challenge COVID-19: New competition builds community in Tunisia

Sometimes healthy competition among like-minded thinkers can help build a community and expand the ecosystem of collaborators. In 2020, Make-IT in Africa worked with the group Tunisian Startups, the Tunisia Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to launch the HealthTech Challenge COVID-19. It was a call to every researcher, “start-upper”, project leader, SME manager or entrepreneurial player to share their idea for a supporting project in Tunisia’s fight against COVID-19. Participants had a chance to showcase their ideas, but also to get to know others working in the healthcare innovation sector.

The HealthTech Challenge focused on three main fronts in the fight against COVID-19: the tools and equipment for diagnosing the virus, data collection & visualisation, and the wider public support needed to manage the COVID-19 crises. The primary aim of the competition was to create solutions with direct results through funding winning projects that promised the greatest advancement in scientific, societal or health knowledge. The challenge also served to bring to light more than 80 innovative projects in Tunisia and offered dedicated mentoring sessions to nine shortlisted projects for their scalability.

She Starts: Networking Tunisian women entrepreneurs

Successfully crystalising a business project is just one entrepreneurial milestone that can prove difficult for women entrepreneurs in Tunisia. Another challenge? Building and maintaining contacts and in the larger tech community. She Starts Africa wants to change that and provide some stepping stones to a wider network of financial and technical partners for selected women entrepreneurs.

With financial support from Make-IT in Africa and organisational support from Tunisian Startups, in the summer of 2020 She Starts Africa is holding a series of webinars, live sessions and mentoring chats with other female entrepreneurs from different countries (Lebanon, France, Dubai, Tunisia) as well as connecting participants to a wider network.

This first coaching programme will reach out to women entrepreneurs who have already created a business project related to technology and have begun to market their product/service. It aims to boost skills and expand their network of financial and technical partners.

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