Abbes Ksiksi graduated as a mechanical engineer from the National Engineering School of Tunis (ENIT) when he was 23 years old. In 2015, after a few years working for multinational manufacturers of motors for roller shutters and car wiring, he was ready for a new challenge and resigned to devote himself to the field he is captivated by: design. Back in his hometown of Medenine in south-eastern Tunisia, he decided to try his luck in the 3D printing business.
“3D printing makes it possible to transform any model designed virtually into a real model,” Abbes says. “My company ‘3DProtoksi’ provides design and prototyping services that meet the needs of various industries. It also offers the creation of medical prostheses and models for jewelry, accessories and decorative objects.”
To develop his business plan, Abbes was supported by the Office of Southern Development (ODS) and the National Agency for Employment and Independent Work (ANETI) through the CEFE entrepreneurship training. Thanks to his training as an engineer, he was able to overcome key technical challenges in the realization of his project but felt he still lacked the managerial skills needed to successfully run his business. He decided to participate in one of Mashrou3i’s HP LIFE e-learning workshops, organized in the region by UNIDO with the support of its partners USAID, the Italian Development Cooperation and the HP Foundation.
“The Mashrou3i entrepreneurship training perfectly met my needs, especially during the start-up phase for the development of my business model. I learned a simple and practical method to set my prices and calculate profit margins. I’m applying the different HP LIFE tools I learned in the training in the daily management of my business, whether in the realization of my marketing strategy or the management of the company’s finance.”
Following the workshop, Abbes also benefited from Mashrou3i start-up business coaching and mentoring. With the support of UNIDO’s regional experts ‘3DProtoksi’ received financing of 30,000 dinars from the Tunisian Solidarity Bank (BTS) and a loan of 5,000 dinars without interest from the Zarzis Association for Sustainable Development and International Cooperation (ADDCI) at the end of 2016. The UNIDO regional experts also helped refine his communication strategy and improve his marketing efforts.
“UNIDO’s finance expert coached and accompanied me in meetings with the banks to help secure vital funding to run my business. I was also supported by a marketing expert to improve my brand identity, social media outreach and to develop a brochure in English and French. I’m now better equipped to reach new markets and increase my customer base.”
3DProtoksi has already created 3 permanent jobs, including a designer role and has plans for expansion.
“Thanks to the coaching I have a clearer plan how to grow my business. I’m focusing 3DProtoksi’s services more on the niche market of paramedical equipment for the handicapped and elderly, and exploring how best to meet the needs of this growing industry.”