Walid's journey in the entrepreneurial ecosystem started in 2016 when he decided to launch an industrial maintenance shop, "AMI", in his hometown of Gabes.
After graduating as a senior technician in construction and mechanical manufacturing in 2009, and working for 8 years in the field of metal construction, Walid felt ready to launch his own business.
"My analysis of the competitive environment in Gabes was more than conclusive,” said Walid. “To get supplies of sheet metal in Gabes, you have to order in Sfax or Tunis. I saw an opportunity in this lack of Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machine tools for pipe shielding and precision welding work."
To maximize his chances of success, Walid contacted the SDO (South Development Office) to prepare his project study. In addition to this, his experience and expertise in the field of shielding enabled him to negotiate a credit of 100,000 Tunisian Dinars from the BTS (Tunisian Bank of Solidarity) for the financing of his equipment.
With the arrival of the Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machine tool, Walid started his business in June 2017, assisted by the Regional Expert of the Mashrou3i Project organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation. He then received the necessary assistance for a good launch. Guided by the expert of Mashrou3i, he was also part of the regional competition "Start-up Tunisia" in October 2017, where he won the 2nd prize and which allowed to make himself known.
"My start is promising,” said Walid. “There is a strong demand in the south for metallic doors, windows, metal frames and mechanical parts - production that I can provide alone for the moment, thanks to digital technology. For welding activities, I subcontract a worker-welder."
In the near future, Walid plans to recruit three specialized workers and an administrative assistant. He has rented a large space that he intends to use for administration, as well as for setting up a paint oven that he will acquire soon and that will enable him to become fully independent.
"I also had the support of a second expert from Mashrou3i, who helped me diagnose my marketing and communication needs,” said Walid. “I’m currently preparing a door to door promotion for Tataouine, Gabes and Kebili and I am confident that we will develop the promotion materials that will help me to make my company known.”
"Equipped with modern technology, AMI has great potential for design and creativity in the shaping of metal products, but the company has to make itself known to customers,” said Walid. “Therefore, I am constantly looking for training and learning about the software used to improve the quality of my products and to assert myself in the markets of southern Tunisia."