At the age of 50, Wadii Shili has realized his long-term ambition; In April 2017, he launched SFM, a business which designs and manufactures industrial mechanical parts and is located in his hometown of Kef.
With around twenty-years of experience in the field, Wadii is confident in his craft. After studying Electro-mechanics at Kef Technical High School and completing a two-year specialized course, he started professional internships in industrial electricity and mechanical manufacturing. Wadii then began working for renowned companies across Tunisia such as Sté Loukil, Stramica, Matel Maghreb Telecommunications, Meca Precise and Sakmo, where he was able to gain extensive practical experience and expand his knowledge in the field.
Wadii has always been interested in handwork and industry.
"Since my early childhood, I was in contact with construction sites,” recounts Wadii. “My father was a building contractor and I would visit the sites with him. Working with tools came naturally to me and my hands quickly learned how to handle a hammer and a jack. I have always felt that the professional training that I followed is my true vocation."
"My ambitions to establish my own business did the rest,” explains Wadii. “Two years ago, I went to the Business Center in Kef, where I found the necessary help for the various stages of realizing my project, especially in obtaining a credit of 100,000 Tunisian Dinars. This enabled me to finance my workshop in the Bernoussa Industrial Zone and to officially launch my business in April 2017.”
It was at this point that Wadii was contacted by a regional expert from the Mashrou3i project, organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation.
"First, I was supported by a marketing and market access expert who helped me to develop new communication tools and promotional materials. Another UNIDO expert helped me to organize my accounts and to settle several administrative procedures that were blocking my business. I also just benefited from an environmental training that opened my eyes to the best way to store, treat and also recycle my waste.”
SFM provides full-time employment to three people and already has one major client, the CIOK cement company. It also provides services to several industrialists in the region, including farmers and individuals. Within a few months, Wadii has built a good reputation which has also enabled him to target the Algerian market.
"Thanks to Mashrou3i, last April I took part in a radio interview on Sabra Fm. This opened up new possibilities with potential clients in the Kairouan region. In the meantime, I am working on exciting future projects: olive-leaf mills and acacia mills for fertilizers, an electric tractor, and the manufacture of motors for people with limited mobility."