Growing up in one of the most beautiful heritage cities in the world, must have its effect on any human.
Our team member from Tunisia, Ph.D. Boutheina Gharbi, a designer specialized in the heritage enhancement, researcher in the Maghrebian archeology and architecture laboratory of Manouba university and entrepreneur, was born in the Medina of Tunis, a UNESCO World heritage city since 1979. In an interview with our website, Boutheina told us how her childhood between home in Medina and vacations in her fathers’ village (located between the region of Kef and Jendouba and known for its natural wealth and economically underprivileged society), kind of predestined her future.
A turning point, from teaching to research to entrepreneurship…
Evolution and knowledge development, seeking perpetual learning are basic principles for Boutheina, and teaching as a higher education professor has a lot to do with this perspective. It is the heart of scientific research, she said, and one should step out of his comfort zone and step into the adventure of continuing learning.
After 6 years as a professor, it was time for a change! And since time is valuable, a choice had to be made between research, teaching and the field experience, so Boutheina chose research and development-related projects. The transition was gradual and got facilitated by the professional adventure of cultural entrepreneurship and project management, as she said.
Adding trainings on leadership and management to her research background, Boutheina started to design projects that she carries out as a manager once they are financed. The adventure of project management began with the executive management of the Magon project, which is a Tunisia-Italy cross-border cooperation project that lasted from 2014 to 2017. The project in Tunisia, consisted of setting up a cultural route straddling between ancient archaeological heritage and Tunisian oenogastronomic know-how, conform to European standards and labelled "Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, Iter Vitis.
With the association Museum Lab, specialized in cultural mediation, during the years 2019 and 2020 she was in charge of several responsibilities related to various projects, ranging from programming to coordination.
Being a young woman manager in a conservative country…
“Despite the advances in women's rights that Tunisia proudly displays in comparison with the entire region, we remain a conservative and patriarchal country with strong resistance against female leadership”, Boutheina explains.
Having a young woman at the head of a company or at the head of a project is a situation that bothers many men who refuse this authority and deploy many methods to oppose it.
She continues: “It takes a lot of patience and perseverance to establish yourself as a competence away from gender considerations. It’s an experience I encourage young women in my country to dare and it’s really worth living.”
Partnership with BESTMEDGRAPE
“BESTMEDGRAPE is the first project that I manage without it being linked to culture, my initial field of choice. But working alongside a team like the leader was an opportunity that made me evolve professionally and humanly”, Boutheina said.
The Tunisian researcher knew about BESTMEDGRAPE thanks to the UNICA team ( Università degli Studi di Cagliari) , she found the idea exactly in line with her professional orientation and with her convictions. In her opinion, the idea of transmitting to young generations an extremely sophisticated and highly valuable scientific know-how to allow them to create new projects and jobs is very relevant and inspiring, and she said: “I think the entrepreneurship comes from all the great ideas that we have, but that no one wants to adopt. If we believe enough, there is only one choice left, which is to undertake to make these ideas a reality.”
How BESTMEDGRAPE will benefit the Tunisian society?
Through the technology transfer, BESTMEDGRAPE contributes to the reduction of the gap in the field of scientific research and more precisely biology. It also aims at empowering 30 entrepreneurs and at offering them the opportunity to establish a business in a juicy and profitable market such as the cosmeceutical and the nutraceutical industry.
“Tunisia is fortunate to have a dynamic and enterprising youth, Tunisian potential entrepreneurs are on the lookout for opportunities and show a lot of innovation, imagination of fabulous ideas” Boutheina assured. As a sourcing responsible, she opts for an approach that seeks to inspire hope and build resilience. She tries to have a discourse straddling emotion with storytelling and success stories on the one hand, and pragmatism that advances indicators of success and elements that promote the emergence of their projects and their personalities of entrepreneur on the other hand.
(ENI CBC MED)