The phones are busy in Imen Hamada’s call centre, which is based in Degueche in the governorate of Tozeur. In 2017, with the help of Mashrou3i, the 29-year-old strengthened and expanded her business, which now provides employment to 30 people.
"After graduating in IT Networks in 2010, I started researching the operation of call centers on the internet,” said Imen. “It was a key source of information to complete my academic training and to understand more about this profession."
During 2011, Imen did a 3-month internship as a telephone operator in Tunis and then got a job with the company, working from home.
"In 2015, I started looking for potential markets on the internet more intensely,” she said. “That’s how I signed my first contract with a French company that works in the field of teleassistance to sell safety bracelets to the elderly."
Between 2015 and 2016, Imen continued to win new contracts in the field of elderly services, mutual insurance, building insulation and renewable energy. In January 2016, she started investing in the creation of her business and began training staff to officially open her call center in Degueche in March of the same year, with a team of 8 qualified employees.
Through her local network, Imen discovered the Mashrou3i project organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation. She jumped at the opportunity to join the program and to develop her managerial skills through the HP LIFE e-Learning training. She was immediately supported by an HP LIFE trainer from the Mashrou3i program in Tozeur, who helped her to acquire specific knowledge in management, and to strengthen her sales and communication skills.
After the opening of the new cyber park in Tozeur, Imen was able to benefit from a new office with a high-speed internet connection, which solved the problem of a weak connection which had been a challenge since the launch of her business. She moved there in October 2017 and at the same time expanded her business by recruiting 22 new employees.
"Having better working conditions gave me the confidence to grow my business,” Imen said. “I’ve financed my project step by step with an investment of 20,000 Tunisian Dinars. The bank, with whom I’ve built a strong relationship of trust, recently granted me an additional credit of 8,000 Tunisian Dinars."
"I developed my network and social skills through the Internet and access to online forums, which enabled me to reach out to companies abroad and win new contracts,” Imen said. “Working to objectives enables me to respect my commitments. Trust is the key to my success."
"As the French market is already relatively saturated, I’m thinking to start positioning my business in the flourishing Italian market. Learning Italian will be my next challenge."