MedTOWN in Tunisia promotes an innovation hub for the community of Mahdia: Giving life to a public space!


The pilot action in Tunisia is focused on an innovation-hub led by the Pensée Nationale Libre as well as CITESS; two local non profits entities, with the support Espace Entreprendre and the High Institute of Technological Studies (ISET), the latter linked to the Industry and Innovation Promotion Agency (APII).

Located in the region of Mahdia, these community actors are building on already existing services to create an innovation hub that will provide valuable assistance to entrepreneurs by providing tailored support, facilitating administrative and financing procedures, and offering access to a network of partners.

The hub is designed to be an extension to the public services offered by the Industry and Innovation Promotion Agency (APII) through their business incubators in close collaboration with ISET Mahdia; the High Institute for Technological Studies. Utilizing the already existing space in the headquarters of the APII, the hub seeks to strengthen the space by giving it more ecosystem-driven services.

Based on the potential that startups possess to improve the local economy by creating jobs, generating revenue and developing new technologies, the hub partners are bridging local gaps in terms of infrastructure and growth opportunities. With its implementation period going on from July until mid October of 2023, the project seeks to provide assistance to entrepreneurs through tailored support, facilitating administrative and financing procedures, and offering a valuable network of partners.

Mahdia Innovation Hub: preparing 1st meeting of the start-up support ecosystem
Mahdia Innovation Hub: preparing 1st meeting of the start-up support ecosystem

Through a subgrant of 23.592,64 euros confinanced by ENI CBC Programme, it aims to boost SMEs and startups to move past the ideation stage and into palpable economic growth. Overall, it strives to contribute to the creation of a dynamic ecosystem enabling the emergence of innovative startups with real impact in Mahdia by 2025. The hub targets Start-up project holders as well as entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, public institutions, universities and local partners.

Through the shared wisdom and expertise of Pensée National Libre, CITESS, Espace Entreprendre and ISET, key results that serve the startups as well as the innovative community in Mahdia are coming to life, namely through creating an operational business cluster bringing together all players in the innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem, developing a participatory common charter for the stakeholders, implementing a roadmap detailing the action plan and commitments of the various players involved in entrepreneurship in Mahdia, setting up a common information system, providing access to an incubation and coworking space and co-designing an incubation program dedicated to start-ups.

The innovation hub in Mahdia is striving to build on the great potential of the region, whether it’s the innovative community or the synergies that continue to flourish, the work of actors like pensée Nationale Libre, CITESS, Espace Entreprendre, and ISET gives great promise to add to these dynamics and create better opportunities.

The MedTOWN project, implemented by the Tunisian Center for Social Entrepreneurship (TCSE) in Tunisia, is a project focused on the combined potential of agents of the social and solidarity economy (SSE), citizens and local authorities to co-produce the social policies that can fight poverty, inequality, social exclusion, and environmental unsustainability, providing them with tools and connections to build local resilience and foster the transition towards more fair, resilient and sustainable societies in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Further information on entities involved:

- The association Pensée Nationale Libre is a non-profit organization born three months after the revolution which brought together young Mahdois dreaming of a more equitable country and a culture accessible to the entire population. Its mission is to allow as many people as possible to enjoy this newly acquired freedom, but also to practice it in its civic, cultural and economic form while respecting rights and values such as tolerance, solidarity and equality of odds.

- The support association for the social and solidarity economy of Mahdia (Cit'ess Mahdia) is an association created in 2017 and which aims to promote an economy that creates local development and generates jobs that respect the people, the environment, and the territory in which it takes place.

- The Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation is a Tunisian government agency whose mission is to implement government policy relating to the promotion of the industrial sector as a support structure for companies and entrepreneurs. .

L’Espace Entreprendre is an employment office aimed at promoting the entrepreneurial spirit and self-employment.

- High Institute of Technological Studies (ISET)The ISETs are academic institutions, public institutions of a scientific and technological nature, responsible for the training of senior technicians. The ISET network is made up of 24 ISETs spread throughout Tunisia.

- The Tunisian Center for Social Entrepreneurship (TCSE) is an association under Tunisian law, created in 2012 with the vision of making social entrepreneurship a pillar of the economy in Tunisia, by offering sustainable and innovative solutions to economic and social issues experienced by Tunisian society.

- Assembly for cooperation for peace (ACPP) is an NGO commited in strengthening the democratic and progressive social fabric of our environment and the Global South, generating local organisation, promoting citizen participation and the search for alternatives to achieve more democratic and fair societies.

More info on the activities carried out, here

More info on the Mediterranean Social Innovation Lab, here