At 28-years-old Houda Chihaoui is launching Advanced Consulting, a private center for professional training and consulting.
"The idea of creating this center came to me after 6-years experience in the sector," says Houda. "It was the best way to practice my theoretical training while being independent."
In 2011, Houda gained a degree in Computer Science. Her self-confidence and thirst for learning led her to seek work in Tunis where she started as an assistant in a training center, and soon became the administrative and financial director.
"While working within GETECH, an international consulting group, my passion for professional learning was born,” explains Houda. “I wanted to share my knowledge and first-hand experience with my hometown of Zaghouan and decided to create my own training and international consulting office by drawing on my personal network."
In terms of language learning, especially in English, Houda’s business has a competitive edge in Zaghouan thanks to Cambridge certification. Negotiations are underway to enable her to develop other trainings with CISCO or Microsoft certification.
"Thanks to the support of the Business Center I made my first steps as an entrepreneur,” says Houda. “Last summer, the Business Center invited me to attend a focus group organized by Mashrou3i, with several other aspiring young entrepreneurs from the Zaghouan region to discuss high-potential sectors and economic opportunities in the region."
Houda was then supported by an HP LIFE trainer from the Mashrou3i project, organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation. She enrolled in the HP LIFE e-Learning platform and completed the 27 online courses, improving her business and IT skills.
"I complimented the online self-learning with a face-to-face training in an HP LIFE regional group coaching workshop. It was the kick-start I was missing to launch my company," says Houda.
Last April, Mashrou3i offered her the opportunity to present Advanced Consulting in an interview on Radio Knooz FM. To prepare for the interview, she also received an intensive coaching from Mashrou3i’s Communication Expert, to reinforce her skills in oral communication techniques.
"Today I am confident about the future and know how to better negotiate training with clients,” says Houda. “Currently I have an assistant to help with sales and marketing and also sub-contract three trainers from Tunis to provide computer, English and French training to clients. By next summer I plan to have established a team based in Zaghouan and will recruit three more people. Then I will be able to grow my business and sign new contracts."