On January 15, 2015, the TAYP board convened at American University for its semi-annual board meeting. Featuring key stakeholders with diverse public and private sector experience, the board provides valuable insight, programmatic experience, and non-profit expertise to ensure that TAYP continues to make a profound impact on US-Tunisian economic relations.
The first order of business focused on TAYP’s branding, centered around the four pillar programs of TAYP, also known as the 4 E’s Model: Education, Export, Entrepreneurship, and Exchanges. This model highlights the US economic value proposition and it emphasizes those sectors where the US could provide long-term support to Tunisia. This model will drive future TAYP programming, and the team is excited to craft a core message that resonates with TAYP’s mission and vision.
The board also received updates about the highly successful Tunisian Handicrafts Export Program. This TAYP anchor export program is funded by a grant from the US Embassy in Tunisia. Through fair trade certified products, Tunisian artisans have made significant headway into the US artisanal market. This program assisted the Tunisian artisans to develop a product as well as customer service strategy to market their products to US consumers. The program has generated thousands of dollars in revenue and created more than 300 jobs created in 17 governorates in Tunisia. Through this initiative, entrepreneurial artisans have gained customer service capabilities, ICT skills, and marketing and design expertise. The program has recently received a one-year extension, with a focus on strengthening the supply chain between the US and Tunisia to ensure a more streamlined sale of high-value goods.
Following a review of events that TAYP members attended or organized, the board and executive team discussed the strategy for the coming year. The main goals include the following:
1. Enhance Tunisia’s visibility in the US to help increase investments and economic aid
2. Increase public-private exchanges and partnerships between the US and Tunisia
3. Strengthen the Diaspora community
These goals will be achieved through a variety of activities, including:
1. Participating in joint events with relevant institutions and the implementation of an entrepreneurship conference in Tunisia and a roadshow in the US
2. Facilitating high-level visits of Tunisian officials and members of the private sector between the US and Tunisia
3. Kicking off unique programming that focuses on quality support to entrepreneurs looking to move from the early start-up stage to the growth stage of their company
4. Coordinating people-to-people exchanges, with a renewed focus on young economic stakeholders and political officials in the US and Tunisia
5. Launching a leadership conference that promotes a dialogue about the critical relationship between the US and Tunisia
6. Create a directory of TAYP members so enhance inter-networking of TAYP community and to help promote mentorship and information exchanges.
As TAYP prepares for 2015, the board and executive team is prepared to design and implement innovative programming that spearheads a conversation about what is possible to achieve in Tunisia through continued US investment and support. 2015 is bound to be an exciting year, so please be on the lookout for more ways to get involved and participate in a conversation to ensure that the Tunisian economy remains in the spotlight.