The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the American Tunisian Association (ATA) are pleased to host a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing the Tunisian economy, with a special focus on entrepreneurs.
Since 2011, the startup sector in Tunisia has been on the rise, with diverse leaders in business and tech finding success despite a struggling economy and insufficient infrastructure to support their growth. Government initiatives such as the 2018 act Digital Tunisia 2020 aim to bolster this growing ecosystem with improved technological infrastructure, startup hubs and incubators, and economic development projects. With these reforms, the business environment in many categories continues to improve. Still, many challenges remain for Tunisian entrepreneurs and startups, such as issues with corruption, a murky legal and regulatory framework, and continued economic stagnation, especially in some rural areas.
This panel will bring together Karim Fitouri, one of Tunisia’s best known entrepreneurs, who won several international awards for best organic olive oil; Mohammed Maalouche, partner at Deloitte Africa and chairman of Tunisian American Young Professionals; and Louise Stoner Crawford, managing director of the Tunisian American Enterprise Fund, to discuss strategies for engaging with and supporting Tunisia’s entrepreneurs and government to better support this key contributor to the country’s economic growth. Fitouri’s Award-winning olive oil will be available for tasting after the event.
Louise Stoner Crawford
Managing director, Tunisian American Entrepreneurship Fund (TAEF)
Louise Stoner Crawford is managing director of the TAEF. She is responsible for the U.S. operations, relationships with U.S. government entities and the board of directors. Crawford has been an independent consultant to variety of U.S. nonprofits, with a deep practice in strategic planning, working with boards and facilitating executive transitions. Crawford’s clients include the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID), the Georgetown BID, Mount Vernon Community Improvement District, L’Enfant Trust for Historic Preservation, Pueblo a Pueblo, the Next Step Public Charter School, Montgomery Housing Partnership and the Peace Appeal. Prior to establishing her consulting practice, Crawford had a leadership role in DC’s largest nonprofit provider of affordable rental housing.
Founder and owner, Olivko
Karim Fitouri was born in 1972 in Djerba, Tunisia. Since childhood, he dreamed of being part of an innovation or invention that would bring global attention to Tunisian culture. He lived and worked in the United Kingdom, where he created a luxury chauffer company. After extensive research in the field of olive oil, technology, and business in Tunisia, he founded Olivko, an award winning brand of authentic Tunisian olive oil. In April 2017, Olivko won the Gold Award at the world’s largest and most prestigious extra virgin olive oil competition, known as the New York International Olive Oil Competition. Olivko extra virgin olive oil is produced from the Dougga valley, an archaeological site declared a UNESCO heritage site.
Chairman, Tunisian American Young Professionals
Mohamed Malouche is a partner at Deloitte Africa with 20 years of experience in designing/implementing large transformational programs for international financial institutions and public sector clients. He leads the International Donors division at Deloitte Afrique focusing on local economic development and service delivery, private sector development, digital transformation (egov, IT modernization) and energy. Malouche is currently the board chairman of the Tunisian American Young Professionals (TAYP), the largest Tunisian American diaspora professional association which seeks to increase economic cooperation, ties and exchanges between Tunisia and the United States. He has been providing economic counsel to important governmental actions related to investment, innovation and entrepreneurship in Tunisia, particularly a U.S.-Tunisia partnership for the promotion of technology innovation, and several programs to enhance young Tunisian entrepreneurs’ soft skills. He is a frequent speaker in numerous U.S.-Tunisia conferences including at the State Department, Clinton Global Initiative, World Bank and in media such as CNN, AlJazeera, Skynews or NPR. Mohamed is also a board member and the Treasurer of the Tunisian American Enterprise Fund, a $100M fund that is currently investing in Tunisian SMEs and startups. He is the founder of PromoTunisia, a services company focused on promoting the image of Tunisia as a cultural and investment hub to and American audience.