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Mashrou3i in Focus: Coping with COVID-19 APRIL 2020

TIPS FOR remote working and getting through the crisis

In recent weeks, Covid-19 has become a big part of our daily lives, affecting all of us regardless of where we live, our social class or our age. Given this unusual situation, we would like to support all entrepreneurs who find themselves facing unusual challenges in managing their businesses, but also more broadly, everyone, through clear and motivating advice on how to best embrace this period of quarantine.

#STAY_HOME

Millions of people around the world are now working remotely, which can be especially challenging for entrepreneurs. Here are some tips to stay efficient and keep your spirits up.

First, create a clear workspace - a quiet place, keeping all distractions out of reach, with access to technology and a high-speed and secure connection. For parents, it is essential to set rules and share tasks in order to limit distractions.

Plan and set goals for yourself on a daily basis -  sticking to a work plan helps to maintain your work routine and accomplish tasks.

Maintain an ongoing relationship with colleagues, co-workers and clients. Even if business has slowed down, it is essential to remain reachable by phone and stay socially connected to your professional network. Maintaining contact with suppliers and customers, helps to build trust over time. Meetings and gatherings can be organized remotely, by telephone, through social networks or via web meeting platforms.

We've also compiled a list of useful links and tools that are designed to help improve your teleworking. Click on the button below for more remote working tips.

#STAY_CONNECTED

As Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, recently said: "We may be physically distant, but we must be closer than ever". Quarantine is also an opportunity to make the best use of technological tools and to develop your professional network.

There has also never been a better time to enrich your knowledge and improve your skills. In the last few days, many universities, networking platforms, libraries and cultural centres have also made their resources available to Internet users to facilitate knowledge sharing and access to information. Many experts also offer their services free of charge during webinar sessions and podcasting. There has never been a better time to enrich your knowledge and improve your skills. The HP LIFE platform offers a range of courses that help you improve your entrepreneurial skills such as accounting, communication or sales. Learn more about the free courses available on the HP LIFE platform.

Mashrou3i will very soon continue our training sessions for entrepreneurs in entrepreneurship, financing and marketing through a series of online and live webinars with our team of experts. Stay tuned!

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best online resources and webinars to help you foster your professional network and enrich your skills.

#STAY_INNOVATIVE

Tunisia has witnessed a wave of solidarity, enabling citizens to get involved in a common cause. Many young entrepreneurs have launched an appeal for mutual aid for the good of their community and initiated several projects to offer their assistance to health staff and Tunisian citizens who daily face the risk of epidemics in their work and are lacking equipment to protect themselves.

Under the leadership of the Director General of Innovation and Technological Development (Ministry of Industry), a multidisciplinary team of volunteers from the public, private and civil society sectors have been working on the production of medical equipment. The efforts resulting from this beautiful synergy have led to the production of 5,000 medical visors that will be delivered to the Ministry of Health. Alongside, other initiatives have been launched such as the production of a 3D printed model of medical visors which will be distributed in 60 days in Sousse, and intensive care equipment, currently being manufactured by students from the Faculty of Medicine and the Engineering Schools of Sousse and Gabes.

Mashrou3i's beneficiaries have launched several social initiatives to help the community

In the country's interior regions, entrepreneurs assisted by Mashrou3i are also swinging into action. In Kef, Marwen Cherni, founder of the textile brand Prestige, is producing a thousand masks for municipalities, administrations and citizens in his region. Likewise Hayfa Nakhli, a young entrepreneur and head of Tahfouna a textile firm, is producing masks for health staff in Kairouan. In the region of Jendouba, Rim Sbai, founder of the cosmetic brand M'Liz has developed a disinfectant gel at a minimal price. Further south, Houssem ben Hamed, a young entrepreneur from Kebili, renowned for his innovative wheelchair powered by a photovoltaic system (Technosolaire), is producing thermometers for hospitals. In Gabes, Montasser Bouaine, founder of the start-up Les délices de l'oasis, in collaboration with members of his association Oasis Science, has invented an automatic gel dispenser with an infrared sensor. Once validated, this device will equip many administrations in the southern regions of the country.

How to start a social enterprise?

Classical entrepreneurship is naturally moving towards social entrepreneurship thanks to the country's young hopefuls. But when the idea of a social project is there, the way to realize it doesn’t always follow. The HP LIFE program leveraged by Mashrou3i offers a free course entirely dedicated to social entrepreneurship. It helps determine whether a social business idea can have a social impact and whether it is financially viable, what steps to follow, or what software to use to collect the right information when developing the idea. We've also compiled a toolkit for entrepreneurs wanting to start a social enterprise.

#STAY_SAFE

Let's be responsible first. A joint effort is required to help return to "normalcy" as soon as possible. This means first and foremost respecting quarantine, except for outings for vital necessities (food and pharmaceutical purchases, visits to the doctor) and good hygiene on a daily basis to protect ourselves and those around us.

Here's a video that explains the importance of wash your hands properly:

#STAY_POSITIVE

In times of crisis, it is essential to stay positive and motivated. This helps to better cope with the crisis, but also to prepare for life after the Coronavirus.

The Tunisian government, in line with other nation-states in the world, recently announced a series of measures and decisions that will be implemented in the coming weeks in order to prevent the country from an economic crisis. Thus, an allocation fund will be allocated to the industrial sector for the capitalization of companies affected by the crisis. In the same vision, the central bank, state and private banks, and administrative institutions are adapting themselves to provide support to enterprises. Effective support measures will start in the coming weeks which should relieve the burdens of many entrepreneurs, such as the deferral of tax payments for 3 months and the CNSS, as well as the possibility of contracting new management credits.

It is highly likely that Tunisia, like other nations in the world, will experience a restructuring of its economic and social systems. But change can also be positive, and by showing solidarity and working for the common good we will succeed in making tomorrow a better world.

For more information on measures to support entrepreneurs and small businesses in the wake of Covid-19 visit our website.

Credits:

Created with images by Fusion Medical Animation - "New visualisation of the Covid-19 virus" • Riccardo Annandale - "untitled image"UNIDO