This project which marks the first partnership with CIPE, is designed to help Tunisian entrepreneurs understand the pillars of participatory democracy and to learn to become active citizens. The project also empowers young entrepreneurs to reach out to decision makers and to propose policy reforms to improve the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Tunisia. The project focuses on the governorates of Ariana, Kairouan and Medenine, which represent respectively the north, the center and the south of Tunisia.
These areas were chosen according to a variety of factors, including populations, overall economic importance and business density, quality of parliamentary representatives, unemployment rates and the existence of JFRC networks of youth and civil society organisations. The Ariana governorate in the north is a major economic and entrepreneurial hub, it also has particularly active representatives in parliament, and a large population of unemployed youth. Kairouan, in Tunisia’s center, has over half a million habitants, a high unemployment rate, and a history of state neglect (and several unrealized mega-projects), as well as a small yet vibrant community of young civic actors who are ready and eager to participate in our initiative. In the south, Medenine is yet another governorate with a high unemployment rate and many economic and social challenges. It also has an increasingly active civil society organisations who are highly interested in the idea of helping young entrepreneurs become leaders able to advocate policies and to improve the local and national economy.
The project schedule covers series of activities that aim to:
- Map opportunities and challenges of the current entrepreneurship ecosystem
- Develop policy papers with recommendations to address specific shortcomings identified
- Introduce young entrepreneurs to case studies that will expand their understanding of the civic potential of business people and collective business organizations, and show them what tools and approaches others have used successfully to create change.
- Support young entrepreneurs to plan and undertake a specific outreach effort with decision makers to educate them on an issue and discuss ways they would like to see the authorities and their Parliament representatives address it.
- Through these efforts the project intends to educate Tunisia’s future business leaders about new ways to bring changes that will address their frustrations, establish nascent dialogue channels with policymakers and begin a new tradition of direct exchange, encourage the creation of new groups to represent the voices of business in Tunisia, and begin to help the economy deliver better for their fellow entrepreneurs.