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International development

Tunisia: Focus on support for women entrepreneurs

June 7, 2021

In an effort to develop new approaches and better meet the needs of women entrepreneurs, Tunisia's Entrepreneur Financial Centre (EFC) launched a training program on June 15 aimed at increasing the leadership and innovative capacity of women entrepreneurs and strengthening their resilience during the COVID 19 pandemic. This training is directly linked to the gender equality strategy adopted by the EFC in 2019, which has already led to a mentoring program for women entrepreneurs.

In January 2021, the EFC also established the DAAM foundation to offer better guidance and assistance to microentrepreneurs, and especially women. Développement international Desjardins (DID) is assisting this foundation in developing a support services strategy for entrepreneurs that is inclusive and adapted to the specific needs of the EFC's clientele.

A better understanding of the needs of women entrepreneurs

To build support pathways tailored to the specific needs of women, a large survey was conducted among 332 entrepreneurs, women and men, in addition to a comprehensive qualitative study of 25 entrepreneurs (half of them women).

The results of this research, carried out in collaboration with IHEC Carthage, made it possible to identify 3 types of entrepreneur profiles and determine the barriers and characteristics associated with each. The study also revealed women's specific characteristics and needs. For example, women approach growth differently, are more likely to work alone and are more versatile and stress-resistant.

This segmentation work will allow the EFC to better target support programs for women entrepreneurs and effectively foster the growth and success of their businesses. These programs will also take into account the challenges associated with the pandemic, cited as a hindrance to growth by 79% of entrepreneurs, who are struggling to recover from losses incurred during the spring 2020 lockdown.

The coaching programs developed from this analysis will be tested and evaluated in the coming months before being rolled out by the DAAM foundation. A digital chatbot solution will stimulate interactions with entrepreneurs on social media and promote learning in fun and engaging ways.