In January 18 2018, 7 Tunisian green entrepreneurs pitched in front of investors and key stakeholders enabling access to finance for green businesses and circular economy in Tunisia. More than 50 participants from Tunisia including green entrepreneurs, small and medium sized enterprises, investors, financing institutions and business networks and intermediaries attended the coveted event.
“Green Startups Meet Investors – Elevator pitch” bring together key national Mediterranean actors to enabling access to finance for green businesses and circular economy in Southern Mediterranean with the main objective of promoting job creation and sustainable economic growth. As part of the EU-funded SwitchMed programme, the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) together with local partners is organising a total of eight public events, one per country, in 8 south mediterranean countries including Tunisia.
It’s now the turn of Tunisia,and the “Green Startups Meet Investors – Elevator pitch” event, that is co-organised by the l’Agence de Promotion de l’Industrieet de l’Innovation. (APII), took place on the 18th of January at the APII headquarters in Tunis.
One of the main reasons for organising such events is an attempt to overcome a key challenge mentioned by green entrepreneurs: access to finance, especially in the early stages of business development. For example, according to a recent survey done among the Switchers, a community of eco innovative and green entrepreneurs revealed that 73% considers access to finance as the top challenge, while 56% are not finding the right investors. On the other hand, financiers and investors perceive green start-ups as risky and insufficiently profitable investments. In addition, having limited understanding of these novel business models, they seem to shy away from supporting the seeds of the new circular economy. Based on the mapping of the financing instruments for green entrepreneurs conducted in four South Mediterranean countries, there is a financing gap and difficulty of accessing to finance from €15,000 till €150,000.
“This “Elevator Pitch” event, which is part of the SwitchMed project, is an excellent initiative to boost business start-up in Tunisia. It is based on an innovative approach that promotes direct contact between Green Startups / Eco-entrepreneurs trained and supported with investors interested in promoting innovative projects that respect environmental aspects.” Said Samir Bechouel, general director at l’Agence de Promotion de l’Industrie,et de l’Innovation, SwitchMed local partner in Tunisie
Claudia Pani, project manager of SwitchMed, explains that “during the upcoming event, that last half a day, seven green entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch in front of 7 investors and local stakeholders including CSR companies departments, international initiatives focused on business creation etc. The elevator pitch will be followed by a speed mentoring session in which the investors and companies will provide advice and feedback to the start-ups. It has allowed them to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the project submitted and ultimately, to improve their capacity to meet the appropriate financial players.”
The SwitchMed sustainable consumption and production programme aims to promote a switch by the Mediterranean economies towards sustainable consumption and production patterns and green economy, including low-emission development, through demonstration and dissemination of methods that improve resource and energy efficiency. It also seeks to minimise the environmental impacts associated with the life cycle of products and services and, where possible, to promote renewable energy.