As part of our mission to raise the profile of the Tunisian startup scene, Cogite led a group of five Tunisian startups from the Cogite community and two business angels to Startup Fest Europe in Amsterdam. The biggest European startup conference of 2016, Startup Fest Europe is a “weeklong festival celebrating and connecting daring entrepreneurs, investors and corporates.”

Another big step for Cogite, Startup Fest was a fantastic opportunity to put Tunisia again on the global entrepreneurship map and to further grow our international networks.

Selected from a competitive application process, the following five startups were chosen to participate in the Cogite delegation:

INNOVA/WebRadar, a big data analysis service which utilizes online content and conversations to create top quality market and consumer reports for the MENA region.

FOLIOMania, a social network dedicated to creatives (designers, visual artists, etc.), which allows its users to increase their visibility and find professional opportunities.

Afrikwity, the first investment-based crowdfunding platform aimed at raising funds for African and North African innovative startups and scalable SME’s.

Expensya, an expense management application that streamlines management of professional expense reports.

SlickStone, a strategic advisory company specializing in enterprise mobility and transformation.

While in Amsterdam, the Tunisian delegation attended numerous events, including the Startup Fest Opening ceremony, which featured high-profile speakers such as Tim Cook (Apple), Nathan Blecharczyk (Airbnb), Eric Schmidt (Alphabet) and Travis Kalanick (Uber).

By day, delegates traveled to events across the city such as FinTech Stage, E-Commerce Now, and Digital Marketing Live. And by night, the delegates networked with entrepreneurship leaders, key investors and trailblazers from the buzzing startup scene in the Netherlands.

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Reflecting on the trip, Jazem Halioui of WebRadar left Amsterdam with great expectations for the Tunisian entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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“Seeing the European startup scene and the pace of its development in recent years provides me with the firm belief that Tunisian startups can strike a major success in the next five years,” he said.

Another delegate, Amel Saidane of SlickStone was struck by the great efforts going into the Dutch startup scene.

“I discovered Amsterdam as a dynamic and rounded city turning into a tech hub…this is not happening by chance,” Saidane said. “It’s the result of a vision of a country that translates into programs coupled with concrete actions and hard work,” she added. “I really hope to see this happening in Tunisia.”

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But more than just a source of inspiration, Startup Fest was a concrete opportunity for Tunisian entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses and meet with investors that can take their ventures to the next level. “Startup Fest is the concentration of the cream of the crop of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Netherlands, Tarek Ben Abdallah of Afrikwity said. “It allowed us to discover the richness of this ecosystem and the business opportunities available to us!”

Interested in the content from Startup Fest? Click here to watch the talks from the opening ceremony!

As part of our the CBACAP program in partnership with Mepi and Deloitte, Cogite will host, on July 19th, a public knowledge transfer event where the delegates will share their experiences from Startup Fest and important lessons that can be applied to the Tunisian entrepreneurial experience.

During this event, we will also be discussing the following question: “How can the Tunisian entrepreneurship ecosystem innovate on a globally-competitive level?”

We will be posting more information about this event very soon on our website and social media channels.

Keep an eye out for the invitation and we hope to see you there!