A new success story from BESTMEDGRAPEs’ Team… Meet Mr. Mohamed Ben Cheikh from Tunisia!
Mr. Mohamed Ben Cheikh, the president of the National Trade Union Chamber of Producers of Alcoholic Beverages - Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (CNSPBA-UTICA), is our next interviewee. As he is a successful man, he had an unorthodox way to discover his passion. In this questions/answers interview, we will get to know him better.
About our guest, his life, his family, the highlights of his career...
Could you tell us a bit about your childhood, your academic background, and your career?
My childhood was peaceful and studious in a middle-class family in Tunisia which gave me all the necessary means and education to be a motivated and balanced child. My schooling started in a renowned school " Collège SADIKI " where I spent 13 years before getting my baccalaureate in 1970.
In 1970, to please my father, I enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine where I spent only one year, during which I was able to convince him that I was not at all destined for medicine.
In 1972, I went to France to prepare for the competitive examination for a prestigious school. Afterward, I entered the French National High School of Arts and Crafts in Paris. After graduation and an internship in two companies (USA & France), I was admitted to the development department of the Caisse Nationale du Crédit Agricole in Paris as a development manager in 1979, and it is from there that my passion for viticulture and wine began through the financing files of wine companies in the Bordeaux and Burgundy Regions that I regularly visited to follow up my work files.
In 1987, the President of the Economic Bank of Tunisia proposed I join his team, where I spent one year before leaving to launch my own project.
I started in 1988 by creating the POLYVER company specialized in the manufacture of fiberglass pipes and tanks by, at that time, the new technology of filament winding. Then in 1991, I created in a joint venture with an Italian company, a business in the same field specialized in the manufacture of special parts in fiberglass, totally exporting. In 1992, I created my own engineering office in the hydraulic field. In the same year, I created another company in cooperation with an Italian company in the offshore field for maritime works of pipe laying.
In 1998, I had the opportunity to participate in the call for tender launched by the Tunisian authorities for the acquisition of a company called DOMAINE NEFERIS, which is specialized in the transformation of vineyards and the production of wine.
And since then, my passion for this sector has grown and blossomed.
We have noticed that you maintain very good relations with the young people in your team, that you are an altruistic person, someone who knows/likes to transmit and discuss, someone dynamic... How have you been able to keep this very young spirit, this taste for the challenge that always carries you towards new adventures and shakes up the status quo?
Given my age, I have kept and will keep the taste of challenge, of calculated adventure, which is for me a way of life and a reason for not disconnecting myself from the technological and social evolution that we are currently experiencing. And it is through my education and my Cartesian reasoning that I have been able to keep this vivacity.
A success story in the wine sector…
Could you describe your work? What are your professional responsibilities today in your company and in the CNSPBA?
As CEO of SMVDA DOMAINE NEFERIS, I aim to define the strategy of the winery and implement it, manage and organize it, steer the various projects by validating the technical, operational, and financial feasibility, and create new products and design new packaging, implement the marketing strategy and its evolution.
What is your role at BESTMEDGRAPE?
I am the project coordinator for PP6; I manage, coordinate and supervise the project activities, overseeing its implementation with a team from CNSPBA-UTICA. Through regular meetings with my collaborators and the Steering Committee of the project monitoring organization and dedicated project staff, I coordinate activities, discuss strategies, and monitor results.
What support do you provide to the Tunisian beneficiaries of the project and in which way will you boost their projects?
Supervision, logistical support, and providing them with raw materials for free
You are one of the leading figures in the wine sector in Tunisia and in the Region, what is the message you want to spread to the young beneficiaries/entrepreneurs of the project to further encourage them to move forward and continue to benefit from the advantages offered by BESTMEDGRAPE?
The entrepreneur is the engine of the economy. BESTMEDGRAPE brings technological innovations, new products, and services that meet the needs of society. The message I want to convey to these young people is that they must take the initiative, be innovative, assume risks, and organize and reorganize their ideas because these ideas are the source of the development of new markets, new consumers, and new perspectives.
What are the prospects for sustainability and growth of these enterprises created by BESTMEDGRAPE in your country and in the MED region, and how?
I will ensure the follow-up and continuous training in the management of their start-ups for at least 3 years as a volunteer
Mr. Ben Cheikh, you are going to answer quickly, before the Chrono (30 seconds) stops:
1- The wine sector in one word: PASSION
2- Describe the success in this sector, in one word: A REWARD
3- BESTMEDGRAPE in one word: FUTURE
4- Your working teams in one word: A SECOND FAMILY
5- NEFERIS in one word: HOME
6- Tunisian wine in a word: IN EVOLUTION
7- The valorization of vineyard waste in a word: THE SOLUTION
8- Cross-border cooperation in the MED region in a word: SOLIDARITY
9- ENI CBC Med in a word: INITIATIVE
10- Mohamed Ben Cheikh in a single word: PASSIONATE