While struggling with unemployment can be discouraging, I didn’t let it get me down.
After earning my degree in accounting, I could not find a job in my field for years. Eventually, I decided to go in a new direction – to utilize my region’s rich supply of dates to start my own date-derivative business in Kebili.
To enter this new sector, I found invaluable help from my sister, who studied agribusiness, and took out a small bank loan to kickstart operations. While I was new to the market, I was convinced that my products would win people over.
I started in 2018 by producing date sugar and date-seed coffee, which I sold on social media, at specialty fairs, and to local stores. Soon after, however, the COVID-19 crisis took a major toll on the business, putting the jobs of my four employees in jeopardy. The COVID-19 Enterprise Recovery Fund, established by the US government through its USAID Tunisia JOBS program, helped me get back on track. The grant funded a solar energy system that enabled me to run my business more cost-effectively and to sustain my staff.
Dalila Jemni - Jemni Dates