There are two things you should know about my region, Sidi Bouzid: First, in the summer, it becomes incredibly hot; and second, before I started my business, it was almost impossible to find ice cubes at local shops!
With soaring summer temperatures, the market was ripe for a good ice business! Before jumping into this venture, I spent some time on market research, looking into the industry’s costs and profit margins. Then, I took out my first loan and launched my business in 2019, with no signs of a looming health crisis. Unfortunately, when COVID-19 hit the following year, business activity virtually froze, and it was certainly not thanks to my ice cubes. We had to temporarily close the business and I worried about the jobs of my three employees.
The COVID-19 Enterprise Recovery Fund established by the U.S. government as part of its USAID Tunisia JOBS program was a huge boost to the business. The grant helped us honor our commitments to suppliers and cover urgent operating costs. It is partly thanks to this support that the business is still running today.
Kamel Rouissi- Société Nour, Founder