Ambassador Rubinstein Remarks at Al Jil Pitching Event

Ambassador Rubinstein Remarks at Al Jil Pitching event

[As prepared]

June 30, 2018

Minisiter of Industry and SMEs Slim Feriani, Prime Minister Advisor for Youth Chokri Tarzi, Al-Jil team, and most of all, the 60 entrepreneurs who joined us today from the governorates of El-Kef, Nabeul, Sidi Bouzid and Sfax, good morning.

I would like to first thank you for the invitation to be among you today.  I really enjoy these events because they give me the opportunity to get a closer look at the impact of the great partnership between our two countries.

The U.S. government is committed to supporting the Tunisian people and government.  This support comes in the form of assistance to several targeted areas, such as ensuring and enhancing internal and external security, promoting democratic practices and good governance, and supporting sustainable economic growth.  This project is one of several examples of our partnership.  It aims to boost Tunisian economic growth by connecting entrepreneurs to resources, propelling growth, and promoting investment, in order to create decent and adequate jobs.

The United States is especially proud to be a partner in this initiative to “build up” Tunisia, and I would like to offer my special thanks and appreciation to the entire Al-Jil team for their extraordinary work to make this project a real success.

Entrepreneurship is a powerful tool to create jobs and address social challenges.  And by the end of this project, 15 young Tunisian men and women will be on their way toward launching their businesses, and dozens of others will have gained valuable experience in business planning and marketing.

Public-private partnership projects like Build up Tunisia allow us to work together to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit and enable youth to find solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems, including unemployment.  Indeed, I can confirm that you are “building up” Tunisia by believing in Tunisia’s youth – by believing in yourselves.

It is also worth mentioning that the recently-passed Startup Act was drafted in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders such as investors, incubators, the international community, civil society, and start-up themselves.

This law promises many benefits to startups, such as allowing for foreign currency bank accounts, legal classification of startups as corporations, tax benefits, patent registration fee allowances, and simplified customs procedures.  This is a major achievement, so allow me to congratulate you on this outstanding progress.

In closing, I would like to renew my special thanks and appreciation to the financial partners present here, who are willing to provide support to these entrepreneurs and help them launch their projects.  I would also like to inspire all the entrepreneurs to hold on to your dreams and make Tunisia better.  As a fellow youth, Malala Yousafzai, has said, “let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.”

I wish to you all great success in achieving your projects and launching your businesses.  May your dreams become reality!

Thank you.