The Start-up Act 2.0: Turning the Tide and Boosting the Ecosystem

If the Start-up Act allowed establishing a solid ecosystem and penetrating the market, the second version of the Start-up Act will aim to remedy the deficiencies that present themselves as obstacles to growth. ups.

“The fact that the State helps start-ups by buying their products is, in my opinion, more important than funding”, said Zoubeïr Turki, president of the Collège des start-ups, in his speech during the webinar organized, Wednesday Thursday, November 16, by IACE on the topic “What is the contribution of the start-up Act 2.0 to entrepreneurship in Tunisia”. During the online debate, the speakers took stock of the start-up ecosystem in Tunisia, three years after the entry into force of the Start-up Act.

They also returned to the challenges faced by startups.

Commending the work done by College members, Turki said that funding is a big issue that start-ups in Tunisia are struggling with. However, the latter are able to promote their technology solutions and find funding elsewhere, he believes. For the university professor, the establishment of start-ups outside the walls should not be a cause for concern, not least because in Tunisia we continue to benefit from their technological solutions and services.

Returning to the process that led to the enactment of the first version of the start-ups law, Wissem El Mekki, director of digital economy at the Ministry of Communications Technologies, said, in summary, that the new regulatory framework was an initiative that was driven by young people that aspired to revolutionize mainstream investing and drove the adoption of agile regulation for innovation. He also added that a three-year period is not enough to look back and evaluate the start-up law. However, “the second version of the law will allow the government to clarify its vision on the policies adopted in terms of innovation, but it will also make it possible to straighten out the course, make corrections and improve the regulatory framework capable of contributing to the development of the ecosystem and overcoming the deficiencies that hinder the growth of startups”, he believes.

Accelerate financing

On his turn, Mohamed Salah Frad, president of the Association of Capital Investors of Tunisia (Atic), pointed out that, by way of evaluation, the start-up law allowed the establishment of a solid ecosystem and a deep penetration of the market, which is illustrated by the high number of labeled start-ups (more than 700 start-ups). This does not prevent certain deficiencies from appearing. These are mainly problems relating to funding and the application of the state start-up concept. Frad called, in this context, for the acceleration of funding for the 700 labeled start-ups, estimating that funding needs should be around 70 million dinars. With regard to the state start-up, the president of Atic explained that the public buyer must be convinced of his role as an engine of growth for these young shoots in search of markets. Referring to the example of Ahmini and BeSoftware start-ups, Frad indicated that the State has not been able to explore these innovative solutions to improve its services, stressing that in the United States it is the State that has given the impetus to technology nuggets. Oussama Messaoud, secretary general of the Tunisian association of start-ups, in turn, explained that the Start-up Act allowed a paradigm shift by creating a dynamic and ecosystem of innovation and encouraging investors to take risks.

Pointing to the law enforcement difficulties encountered by the administration and the banking system (in particular for the special account in foreign currencies), Messaoud advocated the establishment of new innovative financial products and mechanisms to attract investors interested in the Tunisian ecosystem. He also addressed the issue of start-ups that, when they reach a certain stage of growth, are forced to leave the country in order to raise funds and grow.

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