On July 13th, a number of civil society organizations, businesses, and institutions came together to organize a unique type of camp. Troubled by the attacks in Bardo and Sousse, the entrepreneurial community decided to address the issue of terrorism through the lens of business development, designing a one-day camp entitled “Entrepreneurship Against Terrorism.” Armed with their economically-oriented worldview, this camp offered participants the opportunity to use their skillsets to design effective policies and responses to acts of violence.
The event was held at the Mediterranean School of Business (MSB) and was jointly organized by MSB, Cogite Coworking Space, Boost, Apéro Entrepreneurs, Lab’ESS, Cofundy, Réseau Entreprendre Tunisie, Labo Démocratique, Enactus: MSB, Art Tunis, Yunus Social Business: Tunisia, and TAYP. These organizers have different projects and entrepreneurial focuses, but all remain committed to the growth of Tunisia’s economic ecosystem that is inclusive, sustainable, and open to innovation.
It was in this context that the camp kicked off. Young entrepreneurs organized themselves into groups with the daunting task of finding ways to counter violent extremism in Tunisia. In the morning, the participants attended workshops delivered by experts, with topics ranging from business modeling and pitching to transformational leadership given by Dr. Khedija Moalla.
These skill-building exercises provided a substantive starting point for the participants, allowing them to start thinking and planning like entrepreneurs before they began designing practical solutions. The afternoon was devoted to collaborating and project design ahead of the nighttime judging panel.
Each of the groups had creative solutions, ranging from cartoons and mobile applications, with unique perspectives on the reasons for growing terrorist activity and the means through which entrepreneurship can counter violence. The different solutions were presented to a panel of judges from the finance, social business, and education sectors. The winning team presented a project that paired technology and education to fill a social need and confront terrorism and create a more peaceful narrative.
Each member of the winning team received a 100-dinar gift card from Manuskri.tn, in addition to mentorship from Apéro Entrepreneurs, Lab’ess, Réseau Entreprendre Tunisie and ENACTUS-MSB, and access to Cogite Coworking Space. In addition, Cofundy will help the project receive financing from a crowd-funding campaign.
These convening sessions are great ways to help propel young entrepreneurs to apply their skillset and knowledge to solving some of the most difficult challenges facing Tunisia today. It is my hope that more ideation camps will be held to maintain the entrepreneurial community’s engagement with social issues. Armed with their knack for out-of-the-box thinking and creative intuition, entrepreneurs have the power to transform Tunisia.