In 2017, Farhat Bennasr launched a manufacturing unit for wooden furniture in Faouar, a small village in the region of Kebili.
After getting certified in carpentry at the Vocational Training School of Kebili in 2003, Farhat started his professional career as an employee for several different carpentry firms in Kebili, Gabes and Sfax.
In 2016, after acquiring the necessary skills in woodworking, he decided to take the plunge and launch his own furniture production company. Other furniture producers in the region tend to focus on traditional carpentry, so to add a touch of innovation and to stand out from the competition, Farhat decided to offer a range of modern MDF products for living rooms, kitchens and children’s bedrooms.
"I’ve gained new woodworking skills during the last few years, but seeing a demand for this speciality modern furniture, which wasn’t really available in my region, also motivated me to launch my business," said Farhat.
Even in his first steps as an entrepreneur Farhat is thinking big about his company. He is hoping to reach new customers by offering modern products and exploring new markets in the surrounding areas to develop his business.
In 2017, Farhat discovered the Mashrou3i project via social media, which is organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation. He contacted the project team and completed all the online courses of the HP LIFE e-Learning platform. Then he got the opportunity to take part in several trainings which helped him strengthen his entrepreneurial skills, develop his ideas and better understand his market in order to launch his business.
"During the HP LIFE group coaching and face to face sessions I consolidated my knowledge of the market and completed my business plan,” said Farhat. “The HP LIFE program, through the Mashrou3i project, coached and supervised me during the launch of my project – the most fundamental stage of an entrepreneur's path."
Today Farhat has a workshop on a highly frequented road in the village of Faouar for the manufacture and storage of his furniture. Assisted by a worker, he has already taken his first orders from neighbours and begun, step by step, to get known in the region. Farhat wants to reinforce his marketing and sales strategy in order to better communicate his business and gain new customers by, for example, placing a wooden sign at the entrance of his workshop.
"Thanks to the support of Mashrou3i, I have a clearer vision for the future,” explains Farhat. “With the help of the team in access to finance, marketing and communication, I feel more confident that I can overcome the challenges life might throw my way.”