4 reasons why it is difficult for (Social) Entrepreneurs to succeed in Tunisia

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4 reasons why it is difficult for (Social) Entrepreneurs to succeed in Tunisia


Text by: Yahya Marzouk


Category: Civic Engagement


That is true that the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Tunisia started to grow very quickly after the Jasmin revolution in 2011. A lot of incubators, accelerators and mentoring programs appeared and a lot of funds was flooding from big donors to support creating a new generation of (social) entrepreneurs. However, after 8 years from the revolution, we are seeing the death rate of the (social) startups is increasing exponentially and most of the social business ideas do not even make it to the Go to Market phase. Here are some reasons that could be behind these failures:
Very rigid ecosystem
Even though we are always hearing just the bright side about Tunisia as the success story of the Arabic spring, let is not forget that Tunisia is a heavily bureaucratic country and the concept of entrepreneurship is not a culture yet; most of the young graduate would go with the public office work or the "dream" job to work in a bank or a big corporate. In the meantime, the educational system in most of the universities in the country is creating executers rather than leaders ready to face challenges of the global economy.
No legislation that backs up the change makers community:
Things are moving now! The "startup act" law was approved by the parliament so the young aspiring entrepreneurs will have a legal status of a "Startup". However, if you want to launch a social enterprise in Tunisia, there is no legal status that will cover the values of a social company. As a result, we are seeing a lot of a so called social enterprise in Tunisia are registered as NGO, which is so far from the real definition of a social company.
Make a difference between the for profit social enterprise and CSR
No real definition of social entrepreneurship? True! Social entrepreneurship definition depends on the social and environmental context in every region and/or country. However, let is not mix a social value imbedded in your business model with some money that you are giving to a charity after generating revenue from a regular business.
Are you really an aspiring (social) entrepreneur? Maybe you need to have a 2 nd thought
Let is stop lying to people by telling them everyone can be an entrepreneur. That is not true!! Being an entrepreneur is a life style that can not be handled by everyone and it became so trendy to hear "Actually I am a social entrepreneur and want to make the world a better place" that is great! How? when? With whom? What is your product? Are you selling may be an experience? - "I have this amazing idea and already launched a Facebook page" Being social entrepreneur is being able to be visionary and can see what most of the people cannot see. Making a difference in your local community does not have to be just through social entrepreneurship - A morning smile can change another person's day, so start your journey by being positive!