At 29 years old, Alaa Eddine Rehouma launched Phenix Confection, a business that produces car seat covers and provides employment to three people.
"After graduating in 2015 with a multimedia degree in Computer Science, I didn’t imagine myself working as an employee in a company,” said Alaa.
Since his childhood, Alaa has helped his father in the family car accessories store. It is there, in contact with customers and suppliers, that he learned the trade. This first-hand experience gained over the years fuelled his idea to launch a business specialized in the manufacture of car seat covers.
Without support, Alaa preferred to start small. He began renting premises in September 2017 and started the business with savings of 5,000 Tunisian Dinars, which enabled him to acquire some sewing machines. Alaa’s knowledge of the business and his good negotiation skills allowed him to quickly develop a clientele with suppliers of accessories or auto parts. He soon realized the demand for customized products and decided to purchase an embroidery machine with a bank loan of 26,000 Tunisian Dinars.
In order to secure the bank loan, he contacted the Business Center in Gabes for assistance in carrying out the feasibility study and completing the other documentation requested by the bank. The Business Center put him in touch with an expert from the Mashrou3i Project, organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation.
“I was immediately supported by the Mashrou3i expert, not only to complete my feasibility study but also to accelerate the process of receiving my bank loan,” said Alaa. “I gained support in developing my managerial skills and was also put in touch with a second Mashrou3i expert who helped me to diagnose my communication and marketing needs.”
“In January I also benefited from a 3-day HP LIFE workshop in Djerba, focused on communication, where I was able to further refine my communication and marketing strategy."
"Today, thanks to the support of the Mashrou3i Project, I feel comfortable to expand my business into the neighbouring governorates and to explore potential markets in other cities of southern Tunisia, said Alaa. “My ambition is to diversify my products and in the future to manufacture embroidered clothing that also meets the needs of consumers across the country. For me success is at the end of the road, you just need to hang on and persevere."