Young Scientists

Scientist and entrepreneur - 3. Faten Hamdi : change of aim near the end of the PhD

A programme supporting entrepreneurship around the Mediterranean has encouraged Faten Hamdi to risk the adventure of entrepreneurship.

"My name is Faten Hamdi. I got a engineering degree in agriculture in Tunisia. Then I got a master and a PhD scholarship in Montpellier (France), about the use of insects in agriculture.

During the second year of my PhD, I became aware of a programme supporting innovative businesses around the Mediterranean, which was launched by IRD. Then, I thought, why not? I thought maybe I wasn't cut out for teaching, but rather for entrepreneurship. So I applied for this programme.

I was the only one to propose a project in green and organic agriculture. I was a laureate in 2011, and just one month after I defended my PhD, I made the decision to come back to Tunisia and launch my project.

It was not easy at first. Because this business project, producing useful insects, was an innovative concept in Tunisia. Every time I said I was going to produce insects, there were obstacles, on the administrative and on the legislative levels. It took almost 9 months to start the company.

Then I got lucky. After barely 6 months, I had a deal with the Ministry of Agriculture, which was beginning to believe in biological control of pests. For 4 years I have been maintaining this deal with the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, via the interprofessional fruit grouping, which is a semi-state grouping."

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