The European Union is a strong promoter of the importance of Skills, which are especially relevant in today’s market. Through a number of initiatives, the EU supports young women and men across the Southern Neighbourhood to develop their competences and secure a promising future. In this Flashback series, we speak to individuals who benefited from these projects. Today, they reflect on the positive impact this EU support has had on their life.


She was dubbed “the Libyan superwoman” by regional media. Ibtihal Alshami made waves when she combined her scientific knowledge with newly acquired marketing skills to establish KAAD, an electrical service company that offers a locally-sourced, cost-friendly material that solves difficult grounding problems.


When you embarked on this journey, what were your dreams?

When I started with the EU programme EU4PSL, I only had a material and an idea. I wanted to use KAAD to help my country overcome the destruction caused by the war and its natural challenges. But I would have never dreamt of where we got today! 

At the time, KAAD was a highly conducive substance that my husband and I had developed to reduce the resistance of the earth for better electric grounding of buildings and sustainable construction. I had never imagined that, two years later, we would have become a full-blown electric service company. 

We now sell our material to companies and we have engineering teams working on the grounding system installations in hospitals, hotels, universities. We also have a research group to keep improving our material.


What skills did you gain through the EU-funded EU4PSL programme and how did they help you advance your dreams?

Naively, I thought that, once I launched my company, I could find my customers online, like on Facebook. But… reality showed me that it was not that easy!

Thanks to EU4PSL, I learned how to do marketing, how to find my customers, my stakeholders. I understood that, in my field of work, it has to be B2B (business to business) relationships. With  EU support, I learned how to showcase my product and how to present my company in exhibitions. It is not as easy as you might think! Even having your stand in a fair is important: this is how I reached new clients from the Western part of Libya and expanded my company’s work there.

I also learned about topics I thought I hated like financial analysis and accounting. Because, even if I can now afford to have an accountant or a financial manager, I need to understand what goes on in my company. I will never be perfect in that, but I know how to oversee my business plan.


Today, what is your proudest achievement?

Two years on, I am so proud to be able to call myself a business owner and manager, on top of being a mother of three, an associate professor and a researcher.

It was very hard to achieve all that and it took time: when I started with the idea of KAAD, my baby boy was only one month old. Now, he is two and I can say I am proud of having come all this way. I cannot wait to see what I will achieve in the next two years.


Flashback to: 

Skills Campaign 2024 #EuropeanYearOfSkills

There are over 60 million young people in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region and the number is growing every year. Out of these, between 25 and 40% are either unemployed or employed in jobs that do not match their skills, qualifications or aspiration. While the large number of young employees and job seekers represents a significant opportunity for the job market, the mismatch and existing skills gaps are both major challenges that ...
Employment & Entrepreneurship Gender