BESTMEDGRAPE: Meet Ibrahim, a young Tunisian who wants to turn agri-food biomass into cosmetics and skincare products
Walt Disney once said “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” This quote is the best to describe our candidate Ibrahim process.
Born and raised in Sfax, one of the most well-known Tunisian southern cities to have the largest olive oil industry and the largest olive continual agricultural forest in the world. He grew up between olive oil mills and what marked his childhood was a simple question that will lead him today to be considered as one of the potential successful entrepreneurs: “Why cannot we use the olive oil marc? Why can we use biomass for animals but we as humans consider food industry by-products as waste?”
A dilemma kept in mind, and the journey of studying Industrial Bioengineering in the National Institute of Applied Sciences, INSAT, started. Specialized in Innovation and Valorisation of Bioresources, he considered it a field that involves a lot of disciplines such as Foodomics, Environmental and Pharmaceutical sciences.
Opportunities knock the door at the right time, when he heard about the technology transfer and business creation opportunity that BESTMEDGRAPE provides to the North African ambitious potential entrepreneurs who really care about the future impact of biomass by-products valorisation on the global market and its immense potential. “I have known the project through my Food Biochemical professor at National Institute for Applied Science and Technology Pr. Sami Fattouch, the technical responsible for the Living Labs realisation within the project in Tunisia” he said, “then, I have unthinkably submitted my application.”
Accordingly, Ibrahim expectations from this project are very high. Holding in pocket several business experiences, especially in hotel accommodation, trip organisation and educational training, but with a beginning level in agriculture and cosmetics business, he is expecting to receive the necessary technological, scientific, managerial, and lawful knowledge on how to create such a functional enterprise taking into consideration the Tunisian social, economic and legislative situation.
When we asked Ibrahim about his business idea, his response exceeded our expectations. Our potential entrepreneur’s idea is to create the first Tunisian company specialized in the valorisation of by-products from Tunisian agri-food industries like grape pomaces and seeds within the wine industry, sesame seed coats within confectionery, tomato pastes industry waste or olive mill wastewater etc. To consider a fruitful start, grape pomaces and seeds will take the focus of the initial phase of the company to produce mainly several products including intermediate such as: clean grape seeds, clean grape skin flour for animal alimentation and essential oil, and final products such as creams for skin care and sunscreens.
Last but not least, our candidate Ibrahim expressed a high will to cross the boundaries by adding: “As I up to an optimum utilisation of these biomass, it will be of great interest to build a cross-border company that could manage such a multi-task enterprise and especially being open to many varieties of agri-food by-products other than Tunisian’s”. As well he is keen on foreign market as Tunisian natural cosmetics market is still under slow growth in comparison to other international markets.