Pitching to investors and connecting businesses across borders: the INVESTMED final regional event


On the 28th and 29th November 2023, INVESTMED held the final regional event in Tunisia, co-organized by lead partner BUSINESSMED (Union of Mediterranean Confederations of Enterprises), the European Institute for the Mediterranean (IEMed), and the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA).This event marked the end of the implementation of the workplans from 37 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and 3 Business Support Organisations’ under the INVESTMED project. Over the past year, these innovative start-ups have been working to strengthen the green, blue, and cultural and creative ecosystems in the Southern Mediterranean. Their endeavours range from launching a new green and sustainable product, to exporting their regional cultural heritage, to reaching international markets. This event was an opportunity to present their achievements under the INVESTMED project, and discuss challenges they encountered, and how to strengthen their businesses even further. 

The event opened with Jihen Boutiba, Director General of BUSINESSMED - Union of Mediterranean Confederations of Enterprises, lead partner of the INVESTMED project, opened the event by welcoming all the participants, congratulating them on the outputs and achievements they have accomplished over the last year.Following her, Antoine Apprioual, Programme Manager, European Institute of the Mediterranean, lead of the subgranting work package, thanked all the participants for their efforts under the subgranting scheme. Finally, Alaa Ezz, Secretary General CEEBA - Confederation of Egyptian European Business Associations - and INVESTMED project partner, wished the entrepreneurs the best in this two-day event.

To kick off the activities, the entrepreneurs participated in the Entrepreneurial Fireside Chat: Towards an inclusive cross-border Green and Blue entrepreneurial.  Split into 2 groups depending on sector, the entrepreneurs had the chance to discuss challenges and opportunities within their sectors and ways to enhance entrepreneurship in their countries. They were joined by two experts, Constantin Salameh, and Dr Emna JEMMALI, who provided their thoughts and feedback on how to strengthen business in the Southern Mediterranean. The workshops were facilitated by the INVESTMED Project Business Support Organisations, Pascale Assaad and Margaret N. Jabara from Fondation Diane in Lebanon, Ahmed Bastawy from icealex , and Alay AridhiWesterwelle Startup Haus Tunis in Tunisia.

In the afternoon, the event built on these ideas in the 3rd Advocacy Session, organised by project partner EMEA. The session focused on how to construct an enabling environment for entrepreneurs in the Southern Mediterranean.The session presented the policy recommendations (available in the INVESTMED policy papers) touching on a range of themes including access to finance, skills and education, regenerative economy, agriculture, food security, and social protection. The session was moderated by Dr. Yeganeh Forouheshfar, Senior Researcher at EMEA, and the discussion brought the entrepreneurial perspective with Mohamed Ben Ahmed, CEO of Aquadeep - a successful start-up in the blue economy, the BSO perspective with Douja Gharbi, CEO of RedStart Tunisie and the policymaker perspective, Chékib Ben Mustapha, Policy and Governance Advisor.


To close the first day, a session on pitching skills was led by Alessandro Lamanna, Business Consultant to PMI on Strategy Definition, Brand Positioning and International Expansion. He gave an inspiring talk on what is needed to make an impactful impression on investors. This was an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to perfect their final pitches before presenting their businesses to groups of investors on the final day of the event... 

During the pitch session, the following investors were present: Ms Zeineb KASSAB, Director of CSR & SD, STB Bank, Mr Andrea RICCI, Animation Team, ADAPT Project, and Amani WAHABI, Experte Startup/ Startup Ecosystem Support, GIZ from Tunisia, Mr Antoun MOAWAD, Investor, IM Fndng and Mr Constantin SALAMLEH, Coach & Investment Advisor, Berytech from Lebanon, and Mr Maged GHONEIMA, Strategy & Partnerships Manager, Innovators Support Fund (ISF) and Mr Wael RASHIDY, Managing Director, The Guiders Mentors & Consultants from Egypt. Each business had 5 minutes to present its elevator pitch to the investors and make an impression as a next step to securing funding beyond the INVESTMED project. Alongside the pitch sessions, the entrepreneurs had booths set up to facilitate B2B networking in the space. 

In the final activity, the entrepreneurs were able to visit cultural sites in Tunisia. Those implicated in the cultural and creative industries visited Minassa, a CCI incubator in the heart of Tunis old town, La Medina. The green and blue entrepreneurs stepped out of the city to Bizerte, where they visited the fishing port, Ben Ayed Seafood, & the Coworking Business Center (CBC). They heard from some successful entrepreneurs about their businesses and participated in an activity focusing on the reuse of plastic.