The Student 4 Change (S4C) project ,launched in October 2019 by the Association Jeunes Leaders (AJL) which is a non-governmental non-profit organization, which was founded in 2012, having managed more than 9 projects with several public, private and associative partners and having involved more than 5000 youth and stakeholders in its activities, AJL contributes to the economic insertion of young people and women via entrepreneurship and sustainable employability.
Funded by the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia, this project aims to encourage young students to become entrepreneurs and launch their projects and startups.
Mainly, the project promotes the entrepreneurial culture in Tunisia and increases the opportunities for entrepreneurs, young people and mainly students to create their own business in six different governorates (Monastir, Mahdia, Sousse, Kairouan, Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid).
The initiation phase was represented by a visit to the universities of these 6 governorates to present the project and invite students to apply, then through a selection, these students have followed a training course of 3 months and subsequently 10 of these selected students have benefited from a specific support of a scholarship of 7000 Dinars to finally launch their projects.
The project went through 3 main phases:
Phase 1 : ideation camps :
The Ideation camp had a really good impact on the audience where 96% of the participants declared they’re willing to open their Businesses. The ideation camp activities have helped students understand how to design a business and determine its feasibility (82% of the participants declared that the ideation camp had helped them find new Business Idea), and have contributed in shifting their minds from direct state employment to self-employment ( 96% of the participants declare that they’re willing to open their Businesses).
Phase 2 : In-depth training :
The 30 selected projects were grouped by sectors, where 27% of the projects were working in the Information Technology & Communication sector (IT), which presents a promising market in Tunisia and in the world. The second rank is shared by the Agriculture, Industry and service sector with each sector having 20% of the total selected projects. Finally, 13% of the projects are Handicrafts and traditional made Businesses (the Tunisian Handicrafts present one of the top exports priorities)
After selecting the 30 best project ideas, the participants were divided into 3 groups where each group had 10 participants which made it easier for the trainers and experts to work on every project independently to ensure the efficacy and the quality of the training.
The training was divided into three themes and every training lasted 3 days for each group:
- Soft Skills & Design Thinking for entrepreneurs
- Business Plan 1: Market Analysis & Business Model Canvas
- Business Plan 2: Technical & Financial Aspect
Phase 3 : continuous mentorship and coaching :
Since April 2020 and due to the spreading of the COVID-19 virus, the participants have followed several online trainings and conferences to improve their personal and professional skills while simultaneously following individual and group mentoring with experts and mentors. The S4C staff have decided to organize all the online Individual coaching for the months of July, August and September, where mentors meet with every participant individually and monitor the progress of their Business Plan.
Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Tunisian authorities announced on Wednesday, April 29, that the country’s ongoing lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus. Consequently, the training sessions or activities were cancelled. That’s why the S4C staff decided to organize a series of workshops of 10 online conferences covering the topics of Business Plan writing; like Business Creation, Digital Marketing, Graphic Design, etc…)
- 10 projects have been launched, patents formed in several sectors: agriculture, handicrafts, Technology and service, whose average age is 22 years and 40% are women.
- 3 projects have been awarded the Startup Label (founded by students).
- More than 10 national and international media have invited these young people as success stories.
Such a project launched in 6 governorates, with 8 partners, having 30 project ideas and managed to frame 10 companies created was a great success for the members of the organization, it was like a dream turning into a reality.
Sources : Student 4 change