Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Institute experiments with social entrepreneurship in Kasserine

Written by Caroline Garcia avec l'Institut de la Méditerranée on Tuesday, October 30th 2012 à 15:37 | Read 1172 times

In a few months’ time an incubator is to open its doors right in the heart of the city, the birthplace of Tunisia’s revolution. The goal? To support economically viable projects that care about sustainable development.

FRANCE / TUNISIA. Helping Mediterranean countries to develop without leaving the people by the wayside is a difficult equation to solve.  For, if international sponsors are actively involved in infrastructure development, or invest heavily in health facilities, they struggle to stimulate local economic initiatives. 

To overcome this, the Mediterranean Institute has joined forces with Crédit Coopératif and the European Federation of Ethical Banks to promote social entrepreneurship.  “This is a response to the situation faced by Mediterranean countries now seeking a new, less unequal growth model that is more oriented towards social needs”, says General Delegate of the Mediterranean Institute, Jean-Claude Tourret.  “Our initiative aims to support, build capacity and develop projects that create sustainable employment and viable activities, linked to the economic and social development of the territories.

Facilitating access to credit

The Société nationale de cellulose et de papier Alfa (SNCPA) is located in Kasserine (photo CCI du sud-ouest)
The Société nationale de cellulose et de papier Alfa (SNCPA) is located in Kasserine (photo CCI du sud-ouest)
Symbolically, the first project is to be in Kasserine, Tunisia, the birthplace of the Tunisian revolution where the first Arab Spring began. A social economy incubator should emerge there in the coming months.  Developed in collaboration with the Inter-Made Association, which has supported the emergence of social economy projects in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur for over ten years, the incubator will host a dozen entrepreneurs initially. “The goal is to support them for a set period then facilitate their access to funding”, explains Jean-Claude Tourret. Beginning in July 2012, the first mission validated the initiative’s feasibility.  20,000 EUR was invested to launch the incubator that will offer technical and financial guidance to project leaders who will be in contact with PACA social enterprises working in their field.  Once the project is serviced, new entrepreneurs will have privileged – but not automatic – access to credit.  At least three coaches trained in PACA by Inter-Made will mentor the project.
This experiment is likely to spread around the Mediterranean.  A budget of €1 million will in fact increase incubators and credit.  “This is a pilot for public policy”, says Jean-Claude Tourret. “A request to install this kind of incubator in Tunis has already been received.  Others come from southern Lebanon, in a PACA regional council area of cooperation”. Rolling these projects out will certainly take several years.  But Jean-Claude Tourret is confident:  “Mobilising financial partners should ensure the sustainability of the process”.

Version française

Lire aussi :
La Tunisie contracte avec l'Union européenne et le Bureau international du travail
Les MPME, solution aux problèmes d’emploi des jeunes diplômés dans les pays du sud de la Méditerranée
Abderrazak Kilani appelle les Français à aider la Tunisie
La région Paca va coopérer avec le gouvernorat de Kasserine

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