fter one year of meetings, trainings, workshops aimed at empowering young leaders and gathering the main players of the innovation ecosystem in the agri-food sector in Tunisia, the adventure has come to an end.
On 25 November, all ecosystem actors involved in the WaterMedYin project gathered in the ceremony room of the Golden Tulip Hotel in the heart of the capital.
Present members included:
His Excellency Mr. Tommaso Sansone, First Counselor of the Italian Embassy in Tunisia;
Dr Andrea Senatori,head of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) Office in Tunisia;
Dr Biagio Di Terlizzi, Deputy Director of CIHEAM Bari (via the zoom platform);
Prof Hichem Ben Salem, Director General of IRESA;
Prof Hechmi Missaoui, Director General of INSTM;
Dr. Federica Bruni, Tunisian office representative of BusinessMed;
Dr. Damiano Petruzzella, Head of the Innovation and Youth Entrepreneurship Unit of CIHEAM Bari;
Pr. Raoudha Khaldi, Tunisian coordinator of the MIP project,
and of course the key players of the project, i.e. the Innovation Support Organisations who followed the five awarded startups, the three APIA incubators, Hive 12, and Level 1.
Of course there were the five awarded startups’ representatives: Aflor; Innovalgue, Tinest, Hwita and Smartlogger.
The event started at 10 a.m. with the opening words of our National Coordinator Dr. Skander Ben Salem
who presented the WaterMedyin project to the audience both in the hall and online; he thanked every person who was part of the project for encouraging young entrepreneurs to achieve their goal and improve the innovation ecosystem in the AgriFood sector in the Mediterranean region.
Dr. Ben Salem expressed his pride in being part of the CIHEAM Bari network that has demonstrated great commitment to encouraging Youth and Women in the Mediteranean region through projects like WaterMedyin and others that support the Blue and Green economy.
Mr. Tommaso Sensone, first counselor of the Italian Embassy in Tunisia underlined the importance of the mutual support between the two countries, Italy and Tunisia, to encourage young people through projects such as WaterMedYin. He also added that the water scarcity due to the climate change is an alarming problem that should be solved with a mutual work between the two countries.
Pr. Ben Salem and Pr. Missaoui, directors respectively of IRESA and ISTNM, declared that WaterMedYin is in continuity with the supporting role that both CIHEAM and the Italian Cooperation have played for several years now.
Federica BRUNI, Network Development Coordinator at BUSINESSMED, shared the network’s achievements on the ground for the Mediterranean region, and insisted on stimulating cooperation and encouraging innovative businesses, in line with sustainable development goals. According to their vision, sustainable economic development requires diversification, and this is where innovation and entrepreneurship have a key role to play. The Southern Mediterranean represents a huge opportunity in this respect, with its young population, and a real fertile ground for SMEs, and most of all for strong partner institutions such as the CIHEAM BARI. She also expressed great confidence in the new partnership between BUSINESSMED and MIP to enhance innovation in the Mediterranean region.
Dr. Andrea Senatori present on behalf of the MIP shared his deep pride in WaterMedyin which he considers as a “newborn” of the MIP project. He also greeted Pr. Khaldi who was among those present and thanked her for her efforts to support Dr. Ben Salem and his team.
Dr. Dessi as international coordinator of WaterMedYin project, greeted and thanked all the partners and actors involved in the project and encouraged the startups to continue the path they have undertaken and to carry on the hard work to realize their dream.
Dr. Biagio Di Terlizzi, on behalf of CIHEAM Bari’s director, expressed his willingness to support and encourage sustainable projects that can contribute to ensure a better future for everyone. He also looked forward to further partnerships among all the participating institutions to empower innovation systems in the Mediterranean region.
The event ended with an optimistic note from the startup founders who expressed their gratitude to all the staff of the WaterMedyin project and of course to their coaches from the ISOs who shared a mutual respect for their work.
Dr. Ben Salem concluded the ceremony by encouraging youth and women to invest in the blue economy and also called all participants to think about future partnerships.
After four hours of very rich and fruitful exchange, the ISOs’ coaches and startups’ founders received their certificate of participation in the WaterMedyin project, and most importantly a portfolio full of names and people engaged in the ecosystem who will be, as always, ready to support them.