The aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring and ongoing militant activities in the North African region, have meant various economies in Tunisia are slowing and unemployment rates amongst youth are steadily growing. SPARK’s Local Employment in Africa for Development (LEAD) programme in Tunisia and Libya, as well as Somalia, addresses these challenges by creating a culture of entrepreneurship amongst youth by equipping them with the skills and knowledge to become ‘business-ready’ and thereby encourage the establishment of businesses and increase job creation.

On a warm summer’s evening in Tunis, the final entrepreneurship bootcamp at the 4C Career Centre in Beja’s ISET institution recently came to an end. SPARK, alongside the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education, has successfully organised four, one-week bootcamps for youth across Tunisia as part of the LEAD programme. The events in 4C Career Centres throughout Gafsa, Kairouan and Kef, taught young Tunisians the ins and outs of how to set up a business model, understand markets and competition analysis, resulting in the completion of Business Model Canvases by participants.

“I learned many interesting things regarding entrepreneurship and businesses, thank you for this training.”

The fervent, young minds welcomed the opportunity to advance their entrepreneurial talents. The interactive trainings – which got youth up on their feet, discussing, bouncing ideas and creating products and plans together – were received with enthusiasm by the 78 young people (30 men and 48 women). Even the staff and trainers from the 4C Career Centres remarked on the welcome change of style the the trainings brought.

“This was a very good experience; it enriched my knowledge and I liked the practical exercises during the training!”

The main aim is business skills training, but the events also provide key opportunities to hear from the youth about their questions and concerns, and indirectly enable youth to set up their own peer-to-peer support networks.