Over the last decade, internet radio as a medium has grown enormously in popularity as listeners embrace newer, more portable playback devices and can tune into their favorite stations from anywhere in the world at their convenience.
In 2017, Habiba launched El Manaret 12 FM, the first internet radio station targeting the youth of Kebilli and the southern regions of Tunisia. She joins Tunisia’s growing online broadcasting community, which are proving internet radio can be a gateway for strengthening civil society engagement and democratic transition.
Habiba always dreamed of being a journalist and managing her own communication and audiovisual production company. After graduating in Journalism from the IPSI (Press and Sciences of Information Institute) in 2007 she worked as a correspondent for several radio stations in Tunis. However, it was during an HP LIFE e-Learning training, which Habiba attended as part of the Mashrou3i project organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation, that she got the idea for El Manaret 12 FM.
“I’ve always been passionate about the cultural heritage of my region but the HP LIFE training helped me realize that I could draw on my experience as a journalist to promote this,” said Habiba. “Setting up an internet radio station was the next logical step and with the support of the HP LIFE group coaching I was able to develop my business model and improve my skills, especially in management, which is crucial for the success of the project.”
Following the HP LIFE training, Habiba symbolically launched El Manaret 12 on National Women's Day, which is celebrated in Tunisia every year on August 13. With the support of her family and friends, she opened an office in her hometown of Douz and started broadcasting with a simple technical setup.
"Having skills in journalism, design, IT and languages is not enough for an internet radio to succeed,” she said. “You need ambition, determination, perseverance and above all passion to overcome challenges on the journey of entrepreneurship. It’s this vision that I’m trying to ignite in the young people who listen to our radio, and especially my two volunteer employees."
Habiba has already taken the first steps of her entrepreneurial journey and knows there is still a long way to go to achieve her goals. She is determined to improve her project step by step and with the help of Mashrou3i experts in finance and marketing she hopes to gain access to financial support and to refine her marketing strategy.
"We want to enhance and diversify the radio programming by adding new themes such as women’s interests, cultural heritage and festivals,” said Habiba. “We also plan to start advertising and to officially launch the radio broadcast over the airwaves, once we have the approval of HAICA (Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication). We are excited about the future and feel that El Manaret 12 FM is on the right track."