As you walk down the city of Bousalem’s High Street, many of the shops have bright, freshly printed signs encouraging customers to explore their wares. These signs have been proudly produced by Hamdi’s print shop, Crea Impression, that offers a range of advertising products and is winning new customers across the region.
Hamdi’s story, however, begins much earlier. After studying Automation and Industrial Computing, Hamdi started his career in the private sector.
"I had just finished my studies when I got the chance to do an internship for a company specialized in phone assembly and wiring,” Hamdi explains. “I ended up working there for almost 3 years.”
In the following years, he continued to strengthen his skills in different fields, including a two-year stint working as a maintainer in a digital printing company in Qatar. This professional experience was a big inspiration and upon his return to Tunisia Hamdi decided to apply what he learned in Qatar by launching a digital printing company in his hometown.
After doing some preliminary research, Hamdi discovered that the market for digital printing in Bousalem and Jendouba was almost completely untapped. There was only one printer to support the demand of the entire region.
"Speaking with people in my network and potential customers, I discovered that the only printer on the local market wasn’t really satisfying its customers in terms of delivery time and quality. I saw a big opportunity and Crea Impression was born,” Hamdi explains.
Before Hamdi’s print shop could grind into action, there were several procedures and administrative hurdles that he had to overcome. This included convincing the Tunisian Solidarity Bank to grant him a loan of 40,000 Tunisian Dinars so that he could purchase the equipment and large format digital printers needed to realize his vision.
Around the same time, Hamdi discovered the Mashrou3i project, organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation. He subscribed online and completed the 27 courses on the HP LIFE e-Learning platform, later attending a 5-day HP LIFE face-to-face training in Sousse.
"The HP LIFE training was an amazing experience. I was able to network with other young entrepreneurs and was fortunate enough to be coached by business experts who advised me on key decisions, to ensure the best start for my business."
Thanks to the HP LIFE program of Mashrou3i project, Hamdi also developed his business plan and improved, among other things, his marketing and sales pricing strategies, essential for the smooth management of the business.
In 2017, he obtained the release of the second credit from the bank, and acquired the digital and offset printing machines along with a machine to print on clothes and for perforation. He officially launched Crea Impression in November 2017, hiring a young graphic designer to join his team and to support him.
From advertising banners to notebooks and personalized cups, today Hamdi offers a range of products to his customers. “This business is not just about delivering your products on time, they have to be high quality and the price also has to be competitive,” says Hamdi. “It’s a tough business, but our growing customer base proves we are getting this formula right.”