Impact : Technical development and jobs creation

Just a few years ago, Soumaya Hammami was meant for a completely different career path. After obtaining an applied degree in health and professional safety from the Institut National de Travail et des Études Sociales in Tunis in 2009, Soumaya started her career within the municipality of Mejez el Bab in the North region of Béja, becoming very active in civil society. 

"While working for the municipality, I realized that plastic waste management was a real issue for our region, but also for our country in general. That's when my project idea was born."

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, she set herself the challenge of becoming an entrepreneur and launched "biopack SH", her business project for the production of paper and cardboard packaging, a biodegradable alternative she sees as an obvious way of ensuring a cleaner industrial future. 

While devoting herself to improving her knowledge and technical training at the Packtec center, Soumaya soon faced one of the biggest and most common challenges for entrepreneurs: access to finance. After succeeded to obtain a loan from the BTS (the public bank that supports entrepreneurs), it was with the support of the WIDU project, financed by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by GIZ in Tunisia, that she really succeeded in completing her investment, enabling her to start production. 

Soumaya took part in WIDU twice, with the support of a relative living in Germany, and obtained the classic grant that helped her to acquire the raw material and a paper-cutting machine.

"WIDU's support has opened up new horizons for me as a medium-sized project and is helping to sustain job opportunities in the face of the economic crisis."

In July 2023, a new financing instrument for women entrepreneurs was launched in Tunisia in cooperation with the WoMENA project implemented by GIZ: the #WomenCall. Soumaya seized this opportunity, and obtained a grant of 16,500 DT to help her develop her new waste paper recovery activities.

"My recent immersion in the field of waste paper recovery represents a significant change. A breakthrough made possible thanks to WIDU. Without this program, it would have been difficult to achieve.”

Renamed "Embalini", Soumaya's company aims now to apply the circular economy model to its activities, and eventually become a 100% Tunisian-produced packaging company. The company doesn't just produce simple packaging, but a healthy packaging medium adapted to international standards for the agrifood sector. 

Today, with the support of 3 newly recruited employees, Soumaya is fully committed to her new projects, in particular the development of a packaging product for local farmers that is entirely biodegradable, for which she is considering a new participation in WIDU.