Washington — In the view of Tunisian college student Donia Ben Miled, one of the greatest economic challenges facing post-revolutionary Tunisia is a lack of information about market trends. So when she joined a group of her countrymen to develop a business idea, they imagined a company that could provide the information necessary to support other small businesses and encourage foreign investment.
The exercise was part of an entrepreneurship program sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company and the U.S. Department of State.
Ben Miled said that the idea was to establish a company that collects information about Tunisia’s consumer market and then sells the data to investors, foreign or domestic, and to small-sized companies in Tunisia. Such an endeavor could “really develop the economy and speed up the investment in Tunisia,” she said.
For Ben Miled, information is essential to entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship is essential to a healthy national economy. Though she is already pursuing a master’s degree in finance at Tunisia's Mediterranean School of Business, Ben Miled seized the opportunity to learn more about developing a business by applying to the entrepreneurship program after seeing an advertisement on Facebook.
Throughout the monthlong scholarship program, Ben Miled took classes in such subjects as communication and marketing at the University of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business.
But Ben Miled gained much more than book knowledge during her month in the United States.
She networked with American entrepreneurs, who offered advice about best business practices and how to meet common business challenges, advice that she will rely on when she returns to her country.
“When I go back to Tunisia, I think I’m going to go back with a lot of experiences, a lot of confidence, especially better communication skills — a better ability to talk, actually, about my ideas,” she said.