Cablegate: Tunisian Nominees for Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit


DE RUEHTU #0880/01 3341604
P 301604Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 112468

1. (U) Attached is Embassy Tunis' submission of ten nominees to
attend the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington
(reftel). The list includes already-established entrepreneurs,
members of entrepreneurship and student organizations, women
entrepreneurs, and candidates from the private equity/banking
sectors. Together they represent a cadre of individuals who could
be active, value-added participants in the summit and would spread
the knowledge gleaned from their participation throughout their
various networks in Tunisia.

Summary List

1. Mr. Slim Ben Ammar (Center for Young Entrepreneurs)
2. Ms. Douja Ben Mahmoud Gharbi (National Chamber of Women
3. Ms. Zahra Ben Nasr (Center for Young Entrepreneurs, Bizerte)
4. Mr. Alaya Bettaieb (Arab Science and Technology Foundation)
5. Mr. Riadh Bouzaouche (Institute of Higher Business Studies,
6. Ms. Nefissa Chakroun (Ministry of Education and Scientific
7. Mr. Medhi Douss (International Association of Students in
Economics and Business)
8. Mr. Mohamed Ali Khiari (Banking/Trade entrepreneur)
9. Mr. Majdi Hassen (Arab Institute for Managers)
10. Mr. Aziz Mebarek (Tuninvest, Private Equity Fund)

Candidate profiles

1. NAME: Mr. Slim Ben Ammar
ORGANIZATION: Center for Young Entrepreneurs (CJD)
JUSTIFICATION: Mr. Ben Ammar is the new president of CJD, an
influential network of successful young entrepreneurs which is
active throughout Tunisia. Ben Ammar met with the NSC's Director
for Global Engagement during his visit in September 2009. Ben Ammar
is the head of Sodexho Pass Tunisie, the Tunisian branch of an
international company that provides integrated food and facilities
management services. As a successful and influential Tunisian
entrepreneur at the head of a vibrant organization like CJD, we
believe Mr. Ben Ammar would make strong substantive contributions to
the conference.

2. NAME: Ms. Douja Ben Mahmoud Gharbi
ORGANIZATION: Center for Young Entrepreneurs (CJD), National Chamber
of Women Entrepreneurs (CNFCE), also owner of Royal Tapis (a carpet
JUSTIFICATION: Ms. Gharbi owns a nationwide rug distributorship and
home decoration retail operation, and is also a member of the
premier women's and entrepreneurship organizations in Tunisia. Ms.
Gharbi is a rising star in the Tunisian private sector and would fit
in well with counterparts from other countries at this summit.

3. NAME: Ms. Zahra Ben Nassr
ORGANIZATION: Center for Young Entrepreneurs (CJD), owner of
internet business
JUSTIFICATION: Ms. Nassr is the leader of CJD Bizerte and has a
dual track career - working in a French railway engineering
company, while owning a number of internet cafes. She has a very
active role in the Center for Young Entrepreneurs and would be able
to share the benefits of the summit with a non-elite audience
outside of Tunis.

4. NAME: Mr. Alaya Bettaieb
ORGANIZATION: Arab Science and Technology Foundation
JUSTIFICATION: Alaya Bettaieb is a key player in efforts to promote
entrepreneurship and venture capital in Tunisia, particularly in the
field of science and technology. He has worked closely with the USG
to promote these goals, partnering last year with the Commerce
Department's Commercial Law Development Program on a technology
transfer program involving U.S. businesses and universities.
Bettaieb speaks fluent English and has extensive contacts in the
U.S., Tunisia, and in the MENA region. He brings energy,
enthusiasm, and vision to his efforts, along with a sincere desire
to improve the Tunisian business climate for knowledge-based

5. NAME: Mr. Riadh Bouzaouche
ORGANIZATION: Institute of Higher Business Studies of Sousse, Sousse
JUSTIFICATION: Mr. Bouzaouche is the Coordinator of the
Entrepreneurial Programs at the University of Sousse. He is also
the General Coordinator of FICRE, a program that aims to foster a
spirit of entrepreneurship in universities and among recent
graduates. Participation in the summit will enhance his ability to
educate and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs from all
disciplines given his close contact with chambers of commerce,
business leaders, and students.

6. NAME: Ms. Nefissa Chakroun
ORGANIZATION: Director of Intellectual Property in the Ministry of
Higher Education and Scientific Research.
JUSTIFICATION: Ms. Chakroun is an energetic, idea-driven leader who
is a "change agent" and an advocate of reform within the Tunisian
administration. With a background in law and business, she has a
well-developed vision for the future of intellectual property rights
and entrepreneurship in Tunisia.

7. NAME: Mr. Mehdi Douss
ORGANIZATION: International Association of Students in Economics
and Business (AIESEC)
JUSTIFICATION: Mr. Douss is the president of AIESEC chapter Tunisia.
He is keen to loop in USG initiatives into his vision for the
organization and has shown in interest in focusing his organization
on entrepreneurship. Tunisia's biggest economic challenge is
unemployment, especially among recent graduates. Mr. Douss'
participation would allow him to foster entrepreneurship as a tool
to bridge that unemployment gap.

8. NAME: Mr. Majdi Hassen
ORGANIZATION: Arab Institute of Business Managers (IACE)
JUSTIFICATION: Mr. Hassen is a young, energetic leader in this
organization, which brings together entrepreneurs and businesspeople
throughout Tunisia. IACE offers business training courses and
prepares Tunisia-specific economic studies. Mr. Hassen comes from
an academic background, and has helped propel IACE's partnerships
with important international organizations. The experience gained
from the Summit would then be translated to IACE's wide-ranging
membership, which touches all economic sectors and has a
training/academic component which could benefit new entrepreneurs.

9. NAME: Mr. Mohamed Ali Khiari
ORGANIZATION: Sofirec (Financial Recovery Company, the legal
subsidiary of BNA, Tunisia's largest bank)
JUSTIFICATION: Mr. Khiari has a business and law background, but has
spent most of his career in the financial sector (both public and
private). He started as a legal expert in a major local financial
company, contributing to numerous studies, market analyses and
research before he was involved in the structuring and launch of the
Tunisian Solidarity Bank, where he helped set up branches and even
chaired a district department. As a young entrepreneur, Mr. Khiari
has recently started an international trading company specializing
in the export of Mediterranean products to the EU and other markets.
If given the chance to attend the Summit, Mohamed Ali Khiari could
ensure a recursive impact on the Bank's institutional clients by
sharing acquired knowledge and success stories he will have learned
from his U.S. experience.

10. NAME: Mr. Aziz Mebarek
JUSTIFICATION: Mr. Mebarek is a founding partner of Tuninvest, a
private equity group with projects all over North and Sub-Saharan
Africa. His participation at the summit would be interesting in
that he addresses the financing side of entrepreneurship. He could
network with other entrepreneurs, train them on how to be attractive
to investors, and find potential projects to fund.

The points of contact for the list of candidates are Pete Davis
( and Isabel Rioja-Scott (

© Scoop Media

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