Tunisia: Business Centres - 3,100 Coaching Operations Since 2005

Tunis — "Twenty four business centres have been created since 2005, by means of one centre per governorate. They have conducted nearly 3,100 individual coaching of promoters," Industry Minister Mohamed Lamine Chakhari said on Tuesday.

Opening works of a meeting on the "situation and internationalisation of Tunisian business centres," held at the seat of the Arab Institute of Business Managers (IACE), the Minister said "the services of these business centres are restricted to a larger extent to sponsors, while the number of services provided for companies remains small."

It is time to "give a new incentive to these centres" while involving them in the technological development of small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), strategic partnership research and openness to foreign markets.

The Industry Ministry has built contacts with US NGO International Executive Service Corps "IESC" to discuss co-operation as part of a programme of the US Agency for International Development "USAID."

It has three components: Training of Tunisian skills, networking of national business centres with 1,100 US business centres and supporting SMEs in the export field.

American expert Robert Mckinley underscored the need to opt for better co-operation and co-ordination with the government, the private sector and universities to boost the business climate and render the industrial fabric more efficient.

President of the Chamber of Commerce of Tunis Mounir Mouakhar spoke of the incompetence of some coaches working in the business centres, saying "Tunisia lacks a real team of business coaches, that is why they cannot carry out their tasks appropriately."

He suggested the creation of a centre dedicated to the training of business centre agents to be able to better mentor future entrepreneurs.

He also recommended easing basic administrative procedures for business creation, establishing a national database gathering thorough information on the overall economic sectors and particularly setting up national business centres, which would allow a better co-ordination.

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