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IIE's Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives Announces Winners of the WES Business Award in Tunisia

TUNIS, February 10, 2014—The Institute of International Education (IIE) announced today the 24 Tunisian women entrepreneurs who will receive the first ever WES Business Award.  The winners are aspiring and emerging women entrepreneurs who have benefited from training at eight Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES) Entrepreneurship Centers across Tunisia. The winners will receive small grants, with a combined total of $20,000 USD, to help them launch or expand businesses.  
Some of the winners include:

  • Mouna Werchefan is an electromechanical engineer with a specialization in robotics.  Mouna participated in the Entrepreneurship WES training and plans to launch a business that will produce robots to help people with disabilities gain increased mobility at a low cost. Mouna will use the WES award to market her business idea and purchase basic production materials.
  • Amina Sghaier participated in the Home-based Business, Entrepreneurship and Leadership trainings at the NOOR Association for Human Development (ANDH) WES Center in Sousse. She is starting an event management business called Essyl that will provide services to civil society organizations such as organizing seminars, trainings, press conferences and events. Amina plans to use her WES award to market her company and run a communications campaign promoting her services.
  • Rania El Aoued participated in the Social Media and Entrepreneurship training at the Association of Continuity of Generations (ACG) Wes Center in Sfax. Rania intends to launch a business that produces organic cattle feed made from germinated barley. She plans to use her WES award to conduct in-depth market research.
  • Naima Zouaghi participated in the Home-based Business, Entrepreneurship and Leadership trainings at the Association of Sustainable Development and International Cooperation (ADDCI) WES Center in Zarzis. Naima is the owner of a harissa (red hot chili pepper paste) business and intends to use her WES award to expand her business.

Please visit WES and the Women's Enterprise for Sustainability blog for more information on all of the winners.

The WES Business Award competition provided an opportunity for women who received training in leadership and entrepreneurship at WES Entrepreneurship Centers to strengthen their business plans and apply for seed capital.  Independent selection committees that included academics, business professionals and entrepreneurs selected the winners based on the following criteria: Clarity of Vision, Market Opportunity, Profitability and Financial Feasibility, and Management Capability.

Designed by IIE’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives, WES is managed by a team in Tunis and San Francisco and implemented in collaboration with eight Tunisian partner organizations. WES is funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) of the U.S. Department of State with support from Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.org. The eight WES Entrepreneurship Centers were established in July 2012 at local partner organizations in Gafsa, Kairouan, Sfax, Sousse, Tunis, and Zarzi. In the past 18 months, over 800 women entrepreneurs have benefitted from training, networks and support through the WES centers, and as a result, over 150 have launched or expanded businesses. The WES program utilizes a dual approach by building capacity in entrepreneurship, leadership and social media both in the local organizations that operate WES Entrepreneurship Centers and for the individual women entrepreneurs. WES’s innovative training program was developed by a cadre of experts from the United States and North Africa, including Beth Kanter, social media expert and author of Beth’s Blog and The Networked Nonprofit, and Barbara Fittipaldi, a top management and leadership consultant and President of CEO of the Center for New Futures.

WES Tunisian Partner Organizations

Association for the Development of the South of Gafsa (ADGS Gafsa)
Kairouanians for the Culture of Citizenship (KPCC Kairouan)
National Union of Tunisian Women (UNFT Kairouan)
Association of Continuity of Generations (ACG Sfax)
Association of Majida Boulila for Modernity (AMBM Sfax)
The NOOR Association for Human Development (ANDH Sousse)
Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability (TAMSS Tunis)
Association of Sustainable Development and International Cooperation in Zarzis (ADDCI Zarzis)

WES Business Award Winners listed by WES Entrepreneurship Center

WES Entrepreneurship Center:  Association of Majida Boulila for Modernity (AMBM Sfax)

  • Mouna Werchefani
  • Nadia Lahiani
  • Salma Maatoung

WES Entrepreneurship Center: Association of Continuity of Generations (ACG Sfax)

  • Rania el Aoued
  • Mouna Bouchaala
  • Hejer Ayedi

WES Entrepreneurship Center: Kairouanians for the Culture of Citizenship (KPCC Kairouan)

  • Leila Aben
  • Monia Mestiri ep Jrad
  • Nabiha Zaghouani

WES Entrepreneurship Center: National Union of Tunisian Women (UNFT Kairouan)

  • Fatma Boukhris
  • Raoudha Taam
  • Zakia Bouafia

WES Entrepreneurship Center: The NOOR Association for Human Development (ANDH Sousse)

  • Lamia Ben Ali
  • Amina Sghaier
  • Chehnez Jarraya ep Gahbiche

WES Entrepreneurship Center: Association for the Development of the South of Gafsa (ADGS Gafsa)

  • Mbarka Mabrouki
  • Hayet Nasra
  • Zina Ammar

WES Entrepreneurship Center: Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability (TAMSS Tunis)

  • Afef Mraidi
  • Olfa Barouni
  • Rachida Gannouni

WES Entrepreneurship Center: Association of Sustainable Development and International Cooperation in Zarzis (ADDCI Zarzis)

  • Naima Zouaghi
  • Amira Belhiba
  • Najet Intit

The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a unique program designed to engage directly with and invest in the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). MEPI works to create vibrant partnerships with citizens to foster the development of pluralistic, participatory, and prosperous societies throughout the MENA region. To do this, MEPI partners with local, regional and international nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, academic institutions, and governments. More information about MEPI can be found at: mepi.state.gov.

Institute of International Education’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements educational and leadership training programs in 175 countries, impacting over 25,000 people annually. IIE’s San Francisco office houses the Institute’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives, which provides opportunities for women worldwide to participate in cutting-edge professional development trainings and pursue higher education. Through the Center’s programs, women develop and join networks of peers and mentors and serve as innovative leaders in the public and private sectors around the world. More information about IIE and the WES program can be found at: WES or the Women's Enterprise for Sustainability blog.

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Media Contact

Chema Gargouri
Country Director, WES
Tel: +71-857-020