Doha: Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF) Tunisia, Tunisiana (part of Ooredoo) and Microsoft launched Intilaq, a $18m incubation programme to enable young entrepreneurs in Tunisia to launch ICT-related start-ups.
“QFF strives to give a boost to the youth, giving them support and accompanying them step-by-step into their projects. We hope to have a direct impact on those who will build Tunisia’s tomorrow and enhance its economy in the long term,” said Abdullah Nassir Al Homidi, Qatari Ambassador to Tunisia and QFF President.
Intilaq is the next stage in the evolution of the Start-up Factory, Tunisia’s first end-to-end support programme for start-ups launched by Tunisiana in 2012.
With the support of QFF and Microsoft, it is being expanded to support a comprehensive incubation programme and a coaching and nationwide knowledge-sharing approach, to encourage young people to pursue entrepreneurial ambitions in the ICT sector.
“The initiative will have a significant impact since it will establish a unique economic platform for start-ups, enabling the development of the sector.
“Last year, Startup Factory was a resounding success that discovered significant untapped potential, and today we move into higher gear with larger ambitions,” said Kenneth Campbell, General Manager, Tunisiana.
“The partnership between QFF, Microsoft, and Tunisiana will allow us to continue to support entrepreneurs and their ideas into successful projects, in a sustainable and lasting way.”
Youth unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) averages at around 27 percent, with Tunisia seeing unemployment rates of 40 percent among university graduates and 24 among non-graduates.
Ooredoo and its companies across the world are taking a multi-faceted approach to the issue, working with national and international partners to support entrepreneurship, employment and education programmes.
Intilaq is the latest in a series of initiatives to enable young people to learn more about starting their business, and provide them with knowledge and financial resources to manage a start-up.
“Intilaq is a first in Tunisia. It works to promote, develop and strengthen the capacity of Tunisian youth to propel innovation and creativity. Microsoft will share expertise in the field of information technology,” said Mohamed Bridaa, General Manager, Microsoft in Tunisia.