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 Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Qatar Friendship Fund ((QFF)) Tunisia, Tunisiana (part of Ooredoo) and Microsoft have announced the launch of Intilaq, a USD18mn incubation programme, to enable young entrepreneurs in Tunisia to launch ICT-related start-ups.

Intilaq is the next stage in the evolution of the Startup Factory, Tunisia’s first end-to-end support programme for start-ups launched by Tunisiana in 2012. Now, with the support of the QFF and Microsoft, the initiative is being expanded to support a comprehensive incubation programme as well as a coaching and nationwide knowledge-sharing approach, with a particular focus on encouraging young people to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions in the ICT sector.

Youth unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) averages around 27%, with Tunisia seeing unemployment rates of 40% for university graduates and 24% for non-graduates. Ooredoo and its companies across the world are taking a multi-faceted approach to this issue, working with respected national and international partners to support entrepreneurship, employment and education programmes.

The launch of Intilaq is the latest in a series of significant initiatives to enable young people to learn more about starting their own business and provide them with knowledge and financial resources to launch and manage a start-up.

Speaking at the launch event, Abdullah Nassir al-Homidi, Qatar’s ambassador in Tunisia and president of the QFF, said: “The Qatar Friendship Fund strives to give a significant boost to the youth, giving them support and accompanying them step by step into their projects. We hope to have a direct impact on those who will build Tunisia’s tomorrow and therefore enhance its economy in the long term”.

Kenneth Campbell, general manager of Tunisiana, said: “This initiative will have a significant impact as it will establish a unique economic platform for start-ups, enabling the development of the sector. Last year, Startup Factory was a resounding success that discovered significant untapped potential, and today we move into higher gear with larger ambitions”.

Mohamed Bridaa, general manager of Microsoft in Tunisia, said: “Intilaq is a first in Tunisia. It is a pioneering project that works to promote, develop and strengthen the capacity of Tunisian youth to propel innovation and creativity. In this sense, Microsoft will share its expertise notably in the field of information technology”.
Intilaq will also work as an incubator for international enterprises, adding a new dimension to incubation programmes for the region.

(source: Gulf Times)