On July 6, 2018, the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Tunisian Talents United (TTU), held the first annual Entrepreneurship Forum, convening more than 60 global thought-leaders and decision makers from Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

The forum featured a special address by The Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfieldwho provided insight on Africa’s developing entrepreneurship ecosystem, drawing on her experiences as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2013-2017).Following Thomas-Greenfield’s remarks, His Excellency Dr. Slim Feriani, Minister of Industry and SMEs, Republic of Tunisia, reinforced the country’s commitment to achieving innovation-led growth by showcasing ample opportunities for U.S. business investment.

Following these keynotes, His Excellency Faycal Gouia, Ambassador of Tunisia to the United States joined The Honorable Thomas-Greenfield and Minister Feriani for a discussion and Q&A with program participants, moderated by Aida Araissi, CEO of the Bilateral Chamber.

Continuing with the program’s theme of promoting entrepreneurship, a panel featuring key executives from BlueVine Ventures & Farid Ventures, Station Houston, AlphaX Decision Sciences, and Rice University, drew a robust reaction from attendees who were eager to learn about each organization’s role in fostering Houston’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

During lunch, Councilman Jack Christie gave welcome remarks on behalf of the City of Houston and insight into the way Texans conduct business. Ambassador Gouia spoke about shared values and the importance of a U.S.-Tunisia relationship, before introducing the new Honorary Consul of Tunisia in Houston, Dr. Adel Chaouch. Dr. Chaouch, who is also a member of the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring prosperous bilateral business ties.

Following lunch, Ms. Emna Ghariani, CEO of Veamly, provided a comprehensive background on Tunisia’s business startup climate and shared her own challenges as a Tunisian entrepreneur in the U.S.. Emna then joined the final CEO panel which discussed solutions for Tunisian entrepreneurs facing local challenges.

The 2018 Entrepreneurship Forum was part of Minister Feriani’s business development mission to Houston. In addition to a productive meeting with The Honorable Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, Minister Feriani’s visit included private meetings with: Fertitta Entertainment, Farouk Systems, Schneider-Electric, MODEC, UPS, Morganti, Porta-Kamp, Salman Solutions, Manufacturing Company, and many others.



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