Interview with Mrs. Aicha Ennaifar
Mrs. Aicha Ennaifar
Mrs. Aicha Ennaifar is General Director of the El Ghazala Technopark (Tunisia), whose mission is to host innovating companies in the field of communication technologies, develop synergies between Industry, Research and Higher Education, promote innovative ideas, establish an international cooperation network.
Innovation in Tunisia
INSME: We would like to learn a little bit about the El Ghazala Technopole. When was it established? What is its mission and activities? What are its main achievements?
Mrs. Ennaifar: The El Ghazala Technopole was founded in 1999. At that time, we were only 500 people focusing on IT. Today we are 3,300.
The main goals of El Ghazala Technopark are:
Host innovative enterprises in the ICT sector,
Develop synergies between industry, research and higher education
Promote innovative ideas.
El Ghazala offers an ideal environment for the development of activities related to the communications technologies sector. Higher education, research, training and industry find in this environment favourable to evolve and innovate in a sector based on creativity, intelligence and high tech.
INSME: Referring to the Tunisian innovation system, how does the El Ghazala Technopole position itself? What alliances have been put in place with other Tunisian innovation and technology transfer players?
Mrs. Ennaifar: El gazala Technopark is the first experience in Tunisia, it’s supported by the governmental strategy to increase the number of job opportunities and also popularize the digital culture in Tunisia.
INSME: What kind of collaboration does the El Ghazala Technopole carry out with research centres? How do you judge this collaboration? Should it be improved, expanded, etc.? In what sense?
Mrs. Ennaifar: We have strong relationship with our research center in pole elgazala called CERT (centre Etude Recherche Telécommuniations) , and 4 resarch divison in our telecom school called SUpcom but we have links with others research units with the university in Tunisia and we are trying to build a kind of IT oriented research consortium.
INSME: The Tunisian government is establishing other sectoral technology parks. Which role, for the Tunisian industrial system, do you think a technology park should play? What advantage may such organisations bring compared to the already present technical centres? What do you envisage will be the relationship between El Ghazala Technopole and the new parks?
Mrs. Ennaifar: IScience parks in different sectors act as a catalyst since it displays the results obtained by the researches to apply them in the industrial fields, it contributes to the promotion of the sector.
Science park is the environment for creativity and innovative ideas! we already started to have the national network between elgazala park and the other parks and our incubator is also connected to the other 22 incubator inside the country!
INSME: Referring to your professional experience as General Director of the El Ghazala Technopole, what kind of difficulties/weaknesses and strengths/advantages do Tunisia start ups encounter when facing innovation and technological issues? How does your organisation help enterprises cope with them?
Mrs. Ennaifar: I think that a biggest advantage is the fact that in pole elgazala we have good environment for synergy and we are pushing young engineers to jump for the private sector… incubators and start-up are supported by governmental but still have Weakness which is the materiel support of the projects of research and development which require big resources, Young start-up need the intervention of the bodies of financing to help them to innovate.
INSME: El Ghazala Technopole can be undoubtedly defined as the most successful Tunisian technology park. In your opinion what are the key factors at the base of its success? Can you mention a successful case history (either a project or an enterprise) and briefly describe it, specifically highlighting the ingredients of success?
Mrs. Ennaifar: One of our success story is Omniacom, a youg enginer coming back from Canada started a small wireless oriented company with 4-5 engineer in 1999 and today he is exporting the Tunisian know how for many African and arab countries and they are about 100 engineers
Two tart ups coming from the Incubators Progress engineering and AT@M are a young “start-up” in the pole that we can consider it as success story: 2 young engineer started their projects in the university then in our incubators and today they are developing their activities with a lot of success!
INSME: At INSME, we believe that networking provides opportunities for organisations like the El Ghazala Technopole to meet and exchange views and information on how to foster innovation and technology transfer among SMEs. What kind of initiatives, if any, have you undertaken to network your resources, either at national or international level?
Mrs. Ennaifar: We organize business meetings in the Mediterranean scale to gather Tunisian and foreigners companies in order to create possibilities of partnership and exchange experience. We have already good tradition with Marseille innovation for example and we are in the 4th edition in the organisation of e-3M. This is trough with med IT and Afro Med where we are trying to create good opportunities for relationship between Mediterranean and African countries.
INSME: Have you ever considered to strengthen collaboration with the INSME Association? If you have, which among your activities do you think could benefit the most from this collaboration (for instance, training, exchange of information, participation in calls for tenders, etc)?
Mrs. Ennaifar: Yes we believe that a strong collaboration with INSME could be very efficient for booth side INSME could be also a “beautiful” gateway for pole elgazala for Euromediterranen project, It’s an opportunity for us to have access to the international call for proposal and for the specific Databases.
Pole elgazala also could be a nice gateway for INSME to the region and the African countries for triangle joint venture with Arab and African countries!
We Welcome Your Comments!
- Do you find this interview interesting?
- Do you agree with all the opinions stated in it?
- Is there any aspect of it you would like to discuss further?
- Would you like to suggest our Editorial Staff new topics or people to interview?
Then fill in the form below with your comments and suggestions. We will be glad to answer you!