Impact of the WES Business Awards

We are excited to share a new Voice video that highlights the impact of the WES Business Awards, a competitive award given to 24 WES graduates in February 2014 to provide seed funding and raise their visibility. The awards were funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative of the U.S. Department of State with support from Craig Newmark, founder of craigconnects and craigslist.

Watch the stories of several of the award winners and hear about their development since winning the award here!

 

Meet the WES Entrepreneurs Series: Mounira Ben Boubakker

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Mounira Ben Boubakker, WES graduate from the NOOR Association for Human Development (ANDH) WES Center in Sousse, believes that participating in WES trainings increased her confidence and productivity, and was the catalyst for her successful business endeavors.

Watch the video to learn more about Mounira and the impact of the WES program.

WES Sustainability & Networking Conference

WES entrepreneurs showcase their products and share business ideas with WES staff and partners at an entrepreneurs marketplace.

Last month, the Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES) program brought together representatives from each of the eight WES partner organizations and 24 women entrepreneurs for a two-day conference in Hammamet, Tunisia. The goal of the conference was to exchange best practices and lessons learned; showcase and celebrate WES achievements; and plan for the sustainability of WES centers and entrepreneurs’ network. We were very honored to be joined by distinguished guests from the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and Microsoft, as well as a panel of experts on entrepreneurship in Tunisia.

In opening remarks by U.S. Chargé Kathleen Hanson, she highlighted that WES is a model of U.S. and Tunisian partnership for expanding economic opportunities.

WES Country Director Chéma Gargouri shared program accomplishments after two years of programming including that, as a result of WES, 150 women have started or expanded businesses, while over 600 Tunisian women have developed business plans and are well positioned to launch new businesses once a new microfinance law is passed.

An excellent panel discussion on supporting women entrepreneurs in Tunisia was led by Leila Belkhiria Jaber, Vice-President, National Women Chamber of Commerce (CNFCE); Fares Mabrouk, Tunisia Country Director, Yunus Social Business; Dr. Soukaina Bouraoui, Executive Director, Center on Arab Women Research (CAWTAR); and Tahar Ben Lakhdar, Chairman of the Board and CEO Esprit -Ecole Supérieur Privée d’Ingénierie et de Technologie.

During a highly interactive World Café activity, participants on how to better support women entrepreneurs including to establish a WES Boutique to display and sell entrepreneurs’ products, expand partnerships with the private sector, encourage mentorship opportunities and develop nation-wide WES brand awareness.

A highlight of the conference was the entrepreneurs marketplace where WES Business Award winners displayed (and sold) their products and services and presented their business ideas to WES staff and partners. For example, Mouna Bouchaala presented her idea to develop green housing for college students in Sfax and Mouna Werchefani, an electromechanical engineer, shared her business ideas on rehabilitative robotics (she is creating a robotic finger that you can use on a keyboard using a sensor activated by head movement).

Participants left energized and even more committed to the work we are doing through WES to support women entrepreneurs in Tunisia.

Business Award WES Lauréates

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Le Programme WES a le plaisir d’annoncer les 24 femmes entrepreneurs Tunisiennes qui recevront les tous premiers prix du WES Business Award.  Les lauréates sont des femmes entrepreneurs émergentes et établies qui ont bénéficié d’une formation dans huit centres WES à travers la Tunisie. Elles recevront de petites subventions pour les aider à lancer ou développer leurs entreprises. Ne ratez pas les profils détaillés et photos des lauréates dans les prochains articles de blog et sur Facebook.

Les profils des lauréates du WES Business Awards sont répertoriés par centre WES dans chaque région :

Association de Développement de Gafsa Sud (ADG), Gafsa

Mbarka Mabrouki a participé à la formation WES en Entrepreneuriat. Les innovations entrepreneuriales de Mbarka comprennent de nouveaux modèles et accessoires qu’elle a ajoutés à l’habit traditionnel de Gafsa. Mbarka utilisera la subvention du « WES Business Award » dans l’approvisionnement en matériaux de production.

Hayet Nasra, fondatrice d’une société de conception de vêtements, a participé aux formations WES en Entrepreneuriat, Entreprise à domicile. Hayet a l’intention d’utiliser le prix WES pour développer son activité en achetant de nouveaux matériels de production.

Zina Ammar a participé aux formations WES en Entrepreneuriat, Médias sociaux, E-commerce, Leadership et Entreprise à domicile. Elle envisage de développer son entreprise de fabrication de tapis « Tapisserie Zina Ammar » et utilisera le prix WES pour acheter plus de matériel.

Kairouannais pour une Culture Citoyenne (KPCC), Kairouan

Leila Aben a participé aux formations WES en Leadership, Entreprise à domicile, E-commerce et Médias sociaux. L’entreprise de Leila « Lella El Beya » est spécialisée dans les articles de décoration pour la maison. Leila prévoit d’utiliser son prix WES pour faire la promotion de son entreprise et acquérir une nouvelle machine à coudre.

Monia Mestiri Ep Jrad est « self-made woman », qui ne doit sa réussite qu’à elle-même, ayant fait ses études à « l’école de la vie». Elle a participé aux formations WES en Entreprise à domicile et E-commerce. L’entreprise de Monia, « Monia Déco-Store », vend des articles de décoration conçus sur mesure et sera bientôt élargie pour inclure une nouvelle collection grâce aux fonds du « Award WES ».

Nabiha Zaghouani a participé aux cinq formations WES. Elle a également reçu une formation professionnelle et technique dans la poterie et ses produits sont connus pour avoir des modèles non conventionnels. Elle prévoit d’élargir son entreprise « Poterie Kairouan » et lancer une campagne de marketing en utilisant ses fonds du « Award WES ».

Union Nationale de la Femme Tunisienne (UNFTK), Kairouan

Fatma Boukhris a participé à la formation WES en Entreprise à domicile. Elle prévoit de lancer une entreprise de broderie « Gold Fingers » qui se spécialisera dans la broderie, le crochet et la tricotterie. Fatma utilisera ce prix WES pour lancer une campagne de marketing et acquérir du matériel de production de base.

Raoudha Taam a participé à la formation WES en Leadership. Son entreprise « Taam Society » fait la création de sacs pratiques et légers à partir des différents types de plastiques. Raoudha prévoit d’utiliser son prix WES pour faire la promotion et la publicité de son entreprise.

Zakia Bouafia a reçu une formation en agriculture et gestion du bétail en ayant grandi dans la ferme familiale. Elle a récemment participé à la formation WES en Entrepreneuriat. Elle a décidé de transformer sa formation en une activité entrepreneuriale et créer une entreprise laitière. Zakia utilisera ce prix WES pour finaliser l’acquisition d’une nouvelle vache.

Association de Continuité des Générations (ACG), Sfax

Rania El Aoued a participé aux formations WES en Médias sociaux et Entrepreneuriat. Rania est ingénieur spécialisée en production de l’alimentation animale et a l’intention de lancer une entreprise qui produit de la nourriture animale organique à partir de l’orge germée. Rania explique que cette technique est très utile dans les projets de zones sujettes à la sècheresse et a de nombreux avantages pour la santé des animaux. Elle prévoit d’utiliser son prix WES pour mener des études de marché en profondeur. Rania se voit comme chef de file dans son domaine et envisage que son entreprise aura des branches dans toute la Tunisie et à l’étranger.

Mouna Bouchaala a un diplôme en décoration d’intérieur et a participé à des formations WES en Entrepreneuriat et Médias sociaux. Mouna envisage de lancer une entreprise « Green Home » qui fournira un logement bon marché pour les étudiants et autres clients soucieux de l’environnement. Elle prévoit d’utiliser son prix WES pour enregistrer son entreprise. L’objectif de Rania est de concevoir la première maison verte à Sfax.

Hajer Ayedi a récemment participé à la formation WES en Entrepreneuriat et, actuellement, elle est en train de finir son Master en Comptabilité. Elle prévoit de lancer son entreprise « Recycle-Society » spécialisé dans le recyclage, en particulier la fabrication et la vente de papier recyclé. Hajer investira son prix WES dans l’étude de marché et l’acquisition de matériel de production.

Association Majida Boulila pour la Modernité (AMBM), Sfax

Mouna Werchefani est ingénieur électromécanique spécialisée en robotique. Mouna a participé à la formation WES en Entrepreneuriat et prévoit de lancer une entreprise de production de robots à faible coût pour aider les personnes handicapées à acquérir une plus grande mobilité. Mouna utilisera ce prix WES pour commercialiser son idée d’entreprise et s’approvisionner en matériel de production de base.

Nadia Lahiani a participé aux formations WES en Entrepreneuriat et Leadership. Grâce à son entreprise « Nadia Creation », Nadia fait de la peinture personnalisée sur textile, bois, porcelaine et autres matériaux. Nadia utilisera le «WES Business Award » pour développer son entreprise en s’approvisionnant en nouveaux matériaux et élargissant l’étendue de son marché. Son rêve est de devenir une femme d’affaires prospère.

Salma Maatoug a un Master en Conception graphique et a participé aux formations WES en Entrepreneuriat, Médias sociaux, Leadership, E-commerce, Entreprise à domicile et Communication. « COFFRA », l’entreprise de Salma, est spécialisée dans la conception personnalisée et la construction de la boîte d’emballage. Le Prix WES aidera Salma à améliorer la qualité de ses produits en investissant dans une machine de découpe. En plus d’être une femme d’affaires prospère, Salma veut être chef de file (leader) équitable qui respecte le bien-être de ses employés.

Association NOOR du Développement Humain (ANDH), Sousse

Lamia Ben Ali a un diplôme en gestion de projet et a participé aux formations WES en Entreprise à domicile, Médias sociaux, E-commerce, Entreprenariat et Leadership. Lamia envisage de développer sa boulangerie « The Old Bakery » et utilisera le prix WES pour lancer une nouvelle catégorie de produits pâtissiers.

Amina Sghaier est titulaire d’un diplôme universitaire en Design appliqué et a participé aux formations WES en Entreprise à domicile et Entrepreneuriat et Leadership. Elle a l’intention de lancer une entreprise prestataire de services d’évènementiel au profit des organisations de la société civile. Amina prévoit d’utiliser son prix WES pour lancer une campagne de communication pour faire la promotion et la publicité de ses services dans le domaine.

Chehnez Jarraya est titulaire d’un diplôme en couture et broderie et fondatrice d’une entreprise de création de Kaftan appelée « Jarraya Creation ». Elle a participé aux formations WES en Entreprise à domicile, Médias sociaux, E-commerce et Entrepreneuriat et Leadership. Elle pense que les Tunisiens sont fiers de porter des vêtements traditionnels et que sa broderie sur soie et cachemire de haute qualité sera appréciée par ceux qui assistent à des événements officiels. Chehnez utilisera le prix WES pour acheter du matériel de production.

Association Tunisienne de Gestion et Stabilité Sociale (TAAMS), Tunis

Afef Mraidi est styliste vestimentaire par profession. Elle a participé à des formations WES en Entrepreneuriat et Leadership. Afef estime que l’artisanat tunisien doit être préservé. Elle fait la conception de la robe traditionnelle tunisienne, comme la Jebba et la chéchia, ainsi que les bijoux traditionnels. Afef a l’intention de développer sa production de la Jebba et utiliser le prix WES pour créer une nouvelle ligne de vêtements.

Olfa Barouni a participé aux formations WES en Entrepreneuriat, Médias sociaux et Leadership. Olfa possède déjà un diplôme de Master en Management et prévoit d’utiliser le prix WES dans le lancement d’une boulangerie, appelé « Cerise », où elle vendra des pâtisseries tunisiennes et européennes.

Rachida Gannouni est couturière avec une petite entreprise de fabrication de chandails, jupes et vestes pour hommes et femmes. Elle a participé aux formations WES en Entrepreneuriat, E-commerce et Leadership. Le prix WES lui permettra de créer de nouveaux produits et chercher de nouveaux marchés potentiels.

Association de Développement Durable et de Coopération Internationale à Zarzis (ADDCI), Zarzis

Naima Zouaghi a participé aux formations WES en Entreprise à domicile, Entrepreneuriat et Leadership. Naima est propriétaire d’une entreprise qui produit de la harissa (sauce de piment tunisien) et a l’intention d’utiliser son prix WES pour élargir son activité et acheter de nouveaux équipements pour améliorer le processus de sa production et accélérer son service de livraison à domicile.

Amira Belhiba a participé aux formations WES en Entreprise à domicile, Médias sociaux et Entrepreneuriat et Leadership. Elle utilisera ce prix WES pour lancer une entreprise de prestation de services de soins infirmiers et de fabrication d’armoires de premiers secours. Amira est infirmière de formation.

Najet Intit a participé aux formations WES en Entreprise à domicile, Médias sociaux, Entrepreneuriat et Leadership. Najet envisage de lancer une entreprise de pâtisserie qui fournira les matières premières pour la pâtisserie traditionnelle. Elle va utiliser l’argent du prix WES pour acheter le matériel de production de base nécessaire pour lancer son entreprise.

WES Business Award Winners

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WES is pleased to announce the 24 Tunisian women entrepreneurs who will receive the first ever WES Business Awards. The winners are emerging and established women entrepreneurs who have benefited from training at eight WES Centers across Tunisia. The winners will receive small grants to help them launch or expand businesses. Stay tuned for more in-depth profiles and photos of the winners in future posts and on Facebook.

Profiles of the WES Business Award winners are listed by WES Center.

Association of Majida Boulila for Modernity (AMBM), Sfax

Mouna Werchefani is an Electromechanical engineer with a specialization in robotics. Mouna participated in the Entrepreneurship WES training and plans to launch a business that will produce robots to help people with disabilities gain increased mobility at a low cost. Mouna will use the WES award to market her business idea and purchase basic production materials.

Nadia Lahiani participated in the Entrepreneurship and Leadership WES trainings. Through her business, Creation Nadia, Nadia custom designs paintings on textiles, wood, porcelain and other materials. Nadia will use the WES Award to expand her business by purchasing new materials and increasing her market outreach. Her dream is to be a successful businesswoman.

Salma Maatoug has a Master’s degree in Graphic Design and participated in the Entrepreneurship, Social Media, Leadership, E-Commerce, Home-based Business and Communication WES trainings. Salma’s business, COFFRA, specializes in the custom design and construction of box packaging. The WES award will help Salma improve the quality of her products by investing in a cutting machine. Along with being a successful businesswoman, Salma wants to be a fair leader who respects the well-being of her workers.

Association of Continuity of Generations (ACG), Sfax

Rania El Aoued participated in the Social Media and Entrepreneurship WES trainings. Rania is an engineer with a specialty in animal feed production and intends to launch a business that produces organic cattle feed made from germinated barley. Rania explains that this technique is very useful in draught-prone areas and has many health benefits for animals. She plans to use her WES award to conduct in-depth market research. Rania sees herself as a leader in her field and envisions her company having branches throughout Tunisia and internationally.

Mouna Bouchaala has a degree in Interior Design and participated in the Entrepreneurship and Social Media WES trainings. Mouna plans to launch a “Green Home” business that will provide inexpensive housing to students and other environmentally-conscious clients. She plans to use her WES award to register her business. Mouna’s goal is to design the first green home in Sfax.

Hajer Ayedi recently participated in the Entrepreneurship WES training and is currently working towards a Master’s degree in Accounting. She plans to launch her business, Recycle-Society, which will focus on recycling, manufacturing and selling recycled paper. Hajer will invest her WES award in conducting market research and purchasing production material.

Kairouanians for the Culture of Citizenship (KPCC), Kairouan

Leila Aben participated in the Leadership, Home-based Business, E-Commerce and Social Media WES trainings. Leila’s business, Lella El Beya, specializes in decorative items for the home. Leila plans to use her WES award to promote her business and purchase a new sewing machine.

Monia Mestiri Ep Jrad is a self-made woman whose education includes the “school of life,” as well as the Home-based Business and E-Commerce WES trainings. Monia’s business, Monia Déco-Store, sells custom designed decorative items and will soon expand to include a new collection line made possible by the WES award funds.

Nabiha Zaghouani participated in all five WES trainings. She has also received vocational and technical training in pottery and her products are known for their unconventional patterns. She plans to expand her business, Poterie Kairouan, and launch a marketing campaign using her WES award funds.

National Union of Tunisian Women (UNFTK), Kairouan

Fatma Boukhris participated in the Home-based Business WES training. She plans to launch an embroidery business, Gold Fingers, which will specialize in embroidery, crochet and tricotterie. Fatma will use the WES award to launch a marketing campaign and purchase basic production materials.

Raoudha Taam participated in the Leadership WES training. Her business, Taam Society, creates practical and lightweight bags in different plastic derivatives. Raoudha plans to use her WES award to promote her business.

Zakia Bouafia received training in agriculture and livestock management while growing up on her family’s farm. She recently participated in the Entrepreneurship WES training. She made the decision to turn her training into an entrepreneurial endeavor and launch a dairy cow-milking business. Zakia will use the WES award to complete the purchase of a new cow.

NOOR Association for Human Development (ANDH), Sousse

Lamia Ben Ali has a degree in Project Management and participated in the Home-based Business, Social Media, E-Commerce, Entrepreneurship and Leadership WES trainings. Lamia plans to expand her bakery business, The Old Bakery, and will use the WES award to launch a new category of pastry products.

Amina Sghaier holds a university degree in Applied Design and participated in the Home-based Business, Entrepreneurship and Leadership WES trainings. She intends to launch a business that will provide event management services to civil society organizations. Amina plans to use her WES award to run a communications campaign promoting her services in the area.

Chehnez Jarraya holds a diploma in sewing and embroidery and is the founder of a Kaftan business, called Jarraya Creation. She participated in the Home-based Business, Social Media, E-Commerce, Entrepreneurship and Leadership WES trainings. She believes that Tunisians take pride in wearing traditional attire and that her skilled embroidery on silk and cashmere will be appreciated by those attending formal events. Chehnez will use the WES award to purchase production materials.

Association of Development of the South of Gafsa (ADGS), Gafsa

Mbarka Mabrouki participated in the Entrepreneurship WES training. Mbarka’s business innovations include new designs and accessories she has added to traditional Gafsa clothing. Mbarka will use the WES award to purchase production materials.

Hayet Nasra participated in the Entrepreneurship and Home-based Business WES trainings and is the founder of a clothing design company. Hayet intends to use the WES award to expand her business by purchasing new production materials.

Zina Ammar participated in the Entrepreneurship, Social Media, E-Commerce, Leadership and Home-based Business WES trainings. She plans to expand her carpet business, Tapisserie Zina Ammar, and will use the WES award to purchase more materials.

Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability (TAMSS), Tunis

Afef Mraidi is a wardrobe stylist by profession. She participated in the Entrepreneurship and Leadership WES trainings. Afef believes that Tunisian handicrafts must be preserved. She designs traditional Tunisian dress, such as Jebba and Chachia, and traditional jewelry. Afef intends to expand her Jebba production and use the WES award to create a new line of clothing.

Olfa Barouni participated in the Entrepreneurship, Social Media and Leadership WES trainings. Olfa already has a Master’s degree in Management and plans to use the WES award to start a bakery, called Cerise, where she will sell Tunisian and European pastries.

Rachida Gannouni is a seamstress with a small business making sweaters, skirts and jackets for men and women. She participated in the Entrepreneurship, E-Commerce and Leadership WES trainings. The WES award will allow her to create new products and research potential new markets.

Association of Sustainable Development and International Cooperation in Zarzis (ADDCI), Zarzis

Naima Zouaghi participated in the Home-based Business, Entrepreneurship and Leadership WES trainings. Naima is the owner of a business that makes harissa (Tunisian hot pepper sauce) and intends to use her WES award to buy new equipment to improve the production process and expedite her home-delivery service.

Amira Belhiba participated in the Home-based Business, Social Media, Entrepreneurship and Leadership WES trainings. She will use the WES award to launch a business that will provide nursing services and manufacture first-aid cabinets.

Najet Intit participated in the Home-based Business, Social Media, Business, Entrepreneurship and Leadership WES trainings. Najet is planning to launch a pastry business that will provide the raw materials for traditional pastry makers. She will use the WES Award money to purchase basic production materials needed to launch her business.

WES Partners share experiences from 2013 and vision for the New Year!

Products created by WES graduates

Products created by WES graduates

As excitement for the New Year sets in, Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES) looks back at the achievements of the past year and plans for 2014. WES partner organization in Tunisia shared their thoughts on the impact of WES on their organization in 2013 and their vision for the coming year. Below are key takeaways from their WES experience and vision!

WES experience in 2013:

  • The WES program has had a very positive impact on our Association, especially during the time when our NGO was going through a crisis and our supporters had cancelled their membership. Thanks to this program, the WES team has identified new goals for the Association and provided a fresh start to our NGO, which has resulted in recruitment of new members! - Afaf Zaddem, National Union of Tunisian Women, Kairouan (UNFTK)
  • The WES experience has enabled our organization to become a part of the entrepreneurship space in Tunisia and forge new partnerships with key stakeholders in that community, including chambers of commerce, business incubators and universities. The program has allowed the WES team at AMBM to acquire new skills and share expertise with other entrepreneurs in the community. – Leila Keskes, Association of Majida Boulila for Modernity (AMBM)
  • As a partner organization of the WES program, in 2013 we’ve realized the value of strategic planning. As a result of the WES experience, our staff is fully aware of the organization’s mission and committed to achieving our goals. – Sonia Mhamdi, Association for the Development of the South of Gafsa, ADGS
  • For TAMSS, the WES program strengthened its objective to provide women in the community with economic and social support. As a WES trainer, I further developed my communication skills, which enabled me to reach out to women from different age groups and business sectors and help them develop their inter-personal skills. – Fathia Jouabria, Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability (TAMSS)
  • Through the WES program, our organization was able to connect with new partners, create a database of women entrepreneurs and expand our visibility. We were able to raise 100,000 TND in additional funding for our programs. – Marwa Rdifi, NOOR Association for Human Development (ANDH)
  • Involvement with the WES program has enhanced our organization’s financial stability, allowing us to successfully implement other projects. We have been able to enhance the capacities of women entrepreneurs in our community and improve the skills of our staff in the past year. - Manel Aben, Kairouanians for the Culture of Citizenship (KPCC)
  • The WES program has helped us strengthen the capacities of our staff, establishnew partnerships and commit to new programs. Our successful WES trainings have allowed the organization to recover the costs of the new training center. – Ahmed Moslah and Sana Taktak Keskes, Association of Continuity of Generations (ACG)

WES Vision for 2014:

  • In 2014, we look forward to creating a WES participant database complete with information about the WES graduates and their businesses and ambitions. We also hope to develop and promote a mentoring initiative for women entrepreneurs through our WES center. -Afaf Zaddem, National Union of Tunisian Women, Kairouan (UNFTK)
  • The WES experience will allow us to develop collaborative relationships with entrepreneurs in our community and boost female entrepreneurship in the region of Sfax in 2014. We hope to continue to offer training, support and coaching to women entrepreneurs in the New Year. - Leila Keskes, Association of Majida Boulila for Modernity (AMBM)
  • In the New Year, we look forward to strengthening our professional network as an NGO and access to new sources of funding to support women entrepreneurs in the community. – Sonia Mhamdi, Association for the Development of the South of Gafsa, (ADGS)
  • In the New Year, our organization will reach out to more women in the community and forge new partnerships. We also hope to expand our funding opportunities and improve the quality of our trainings. - Fathia Jouabria, Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability (TAMSS)
  • In 2014, we plan to provide WES trainings for women in the rural community, reach a wider target audience, raise additional funds and organize more events for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Network (WEN). – Marwa Rdifi, NOOR Association for Human Development (ANDH)
  • For next year, we’ll try to realize partnerships with the Ministry of Women Affairs and other donors with the aim of increasing the number of WES participants. We’ll also explore practical and efficient solutions for women in their community to launch businesses and market their products. - Manel Aben, Kairouanians for the Culture of Citizenship (KPCC)
  • In 2014, ACG will launch the WES Shop and Business Incubator and WES Club Training Center to further support WES graduates. We also hope to improve our communications skills and make the WES center be increasingly profitable. – Ahmed Moslah and Sana Taktak Keskes, Association of Continuity of Generations

 

WES Graduate Selected for Cherie Blair Foundation – Mentoring Women in Business Programme

WES is excited to announce selection of the first WES graduate for the Cherie Blair Foundation Mentoring Women in Business Programme! Rana Ben Tiba from Sousse has been matched with Ilaria Russo, a Commercial Strategy Manager at BT.com. Ilaria is based in London and will mentor Rana for the next 12 months in creating her business/marketing strategy.

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women provides women with the skills, technology, networks and access to capital that they need to become successful small and growing business owners, so that they can contribute to their economies and have a stronger voice in their societies. The Cherie Blair Foundation helps fill the gap in the economy known as the ‘missing middle’ – small and growing businesses. The women they work with have the potential to take the next step towards becoming successful entrepreneurs or are running small businesses that have already had some success but are struggling to sustain their position or expand

In 2013, IIE partnered with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to bring online mentorship opportunities to WES graduates through the Foundation’s Mentoring Women in Business Programme. The program links women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging countries with mentors around the world.  Using an online platform, selected mentees spend 12 months working one-on-one to achieve key business goals.  Participants build their business skills and digital literacy through trainings, and become part of a global community of committed, ambitious entrepreneurs.

Profile:  Rana Ben Tiba, WES Souse graduate

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Rana ben Tiba

I have always dreamed of being a business owner. Since my childhood, I was seen as an artist not only through my creations, but also through my artistic ideas and original thoughts.  Art is not only to paint or design or create, art is a passion that is within you.  Eibert Hubbard says: “Art is not a thing, it is a way.”  I believe art will be my way to fulfill my ambitions. 

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A sample of Rana’s products

I am a scarf-designer, a painter and designer on different materials (silk, glass, satin, organza, chiffon, wood, pottery and ceramics). I am also a pastry-cook (I make Tunisian sweets and savoury) and since I always look for the best, I am now studying in a private Fashion Design School in order to become a stylist. I have been working in the field of painting and design since 2010 and in the field of pastry since 2011; and thanks to Social networks and E-commerce I succeeded in selling many products.

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A sample of Rana’s products

My dream does not stop here. My dream is to launch a center which offers products and services.

 

It will be divided into 2 parts: the first part will be a showroom in which my hand-made products will be sold.

 

The second one and the most important consists of teaching:

1- Techniques of painting on different materials

2- Pastry

3-Sewing

 

I am sure that my WES and mentorship experiences will be great elements of my success.

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A sample of Rana’s products

I began my WES training in March 2012, and I am really pleased to be a part of this organization that helps women realising their dreams and gives them hope for a better life. In October 2013, I was selected as a mentee with the Cherie Blair Mentoring Programme and I am really excited to have this opportunity. (Many thanks to Ahmed Hamza, WES Program Coordinator, who encouraged me to submit the application.)

 

I am longing to begin this Journey with my mentor «Ilaria Russo» who will help me gain valuable advice, develop my knowledge and skills, improve my communication skills, learn new perspectives, build my network and advance my career.

 

We wish Rana the very best in her new adventure. We’ll follow Rana’s journey and share more updates as she develops new skills and connects with other women entrepreneurs.

“Women to Women” Empowerment: WES and CNFCE Partnership

Discussion on connecting mentees and entrepreneurs during WES-CNFC meeting

Discussion on connecting mentees and entrepreneurs during WES-CNFC meeting

Guest post by Chema Gargouri, Country Director, WES-Tunisia.

After one year and a half of training and coaching to empower women entrepreneurs in six regions across Tunisia, the WES centers are shifting towards becoming “multi-sectoral” associations that not only promote the access of women to professional training, teach them entrepreneurial principles, facilitate their access to credit and professional training but also enhance their role as a social power with a greater interest to become more active in politics. Thanks to the regional networks that each WES partner organization has developed, the WES centers are also providing unique spaces where women can discover the force of feminine solidarity.

As a way to reinforce the “women to women” support, WES established a partnership with the Tunisian business association, the Tunisian National Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs (CNFCE), to liaise successful entrepreneurs from CNFCE chapters with WES graduates in the six regions where the WES centers are located. This “marriage” of experienced, successful businesswomen with younger women entrepreneurs who have just started in business is very important. Providing the right “mentor” and “mentorship” is one of the ways to help women entrepreneurs deal with challenges- technical and psychological, that women in a country like Tunisia could face. Solitude, social pressure, discouragement, and negative critics are among the few challenges that woman entrepreneurs commonly face before launching a project. In addition to accessing funding as well as the required training to prepare for her carear as a businesswoman, our young women entrepreneurs need to develop a strong personality to succeed in a male-dominated sector men. The presence of a successful businesswoman as a guide, advisor, a reference, and expert in any of the younger women entrepreneurs business lives is crucial for the development of the required skills and confidence needed to take the risk to develop a business and keep it running.

This partnership between CNFCE and WES is thus aimed at making the feminine solidarity shift from being a slogan to an action. There will never be any changes in our social patterns if women do not support women. Matching mentors from CNFCE with our mentees from the WES centers is also creating a social and economic dynamic in each region with the message that promoting women in business in also an integral part of promoting women’s rights.

Annonce du WES Business Award

WES Business Award

WES Business Award

Nous sommes heureux de vous annoncer le lancement du WES Business Award !
Le WES Business Award est un concours destiné à donner l’opportunité à des diplômées de centres WES de concrétiser leur plan d’affaires grâce à l’obtention d’une subvention pour lancer ou développer leur entreprise.

Ce concours permettra aux centres WES de s’engager davantage avec le secteur privé, d’étendre ses réseaux et d’attirer de nouvelles participantes. L’inscription au WES Business Award est ouverte aux diplômées WES du 4 Novembre 2013 au 9 Décembre 2013. Le nom des gagnantes sera annoncé le 3 Février 2014. Trois prix seront décernés dans chaque centre WES : 1er prix : 2000dt, 2éme et 3éme prix : 1000 DT.
(Voir la liste des 8 Partenaires WES en Tunisie.)

Les gagnantes seront sélectionnées sur la base des critères suivants:

  • Vision claire du projet: La participante a une vision claire de son entreprise et de ses objectifs et a un définit un plan réaliste quant à l’utilisation de la subvention.
  • Opportunité de marché: Il existe une demande pour le produit / service dans la région. La participante a un plan clair de commercialisation.
  • Rentabilité et faisabilité financière: Il y a une maitrise démontrée des besoins financiers pour le démarrage ou l’expansion de l’entreprise. La participante connait son chiffre d’affaires et ses bénéfices potentiels, son plan d’affaires semble être viable et rentable.
  • Capacité de gestion: La candidate possède les qualités et les compétences entrepreneuriales nécessaires pour lancer avec succès ou développer une nouvelle entreprise.

Les demandes seront examinées et évaluées par un comité de sélection indépendant composé de trois entrepreneurs, hommes/femmes d’affaires, professeurs d’université, personnes de la communauté etc. Le comité soumettra ses recommandations finales à l’institut International de l’éducation (IIE ) qui fera la sélection finale des gagnants. La préférence sera accordée aux candidats dont les plans d’affaires répondent au mieux aux critères de sélection.

Vous pouvez nous soutenir dans notre mission d’autonomisation des femmes chefs d’entreprise en:

  • Proposant des partenaires du secteur privé basés en Tunisie pour soutenir les diplômées WES
  • Mettant nous en contact avec les femmes mentors pour épauler les diplômées WES
  • Rédigeant un « guest post » sur notre blog afin de partager vos conseils d’entreprenariat ou « success story »
  • Parlant autours de vous du projet WES et du WES Business Award sur les médias sociaux

Suivez nos actualités afin de connaitre la première vague de sélection du WES Business Award.