Atka is a qualified young woman. In 2005, she gained a land surveying degree that enabled her to work for 8 years as a designer in an architecture office while staying in her hometown Kebili. Like many young people, despite her experience, her career prospects and salary remained insecure. She decided to leave the company knowing that she was unlikely to find another job. Entrepreneurship became an obvious alternative to unemployment.
Her first experience in entrepreneurial learning started in 2013 with the CEFE training. Following this, she opened a fashion shop in 2015. In October 2017, Atka Ben Abdallah was contacted by one of the trainers from the HP LIFE program, which is part of the Mashrou3i Project organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation. She was invited to attend a 4-day entrepreneurial training session. During this training Atka realized that handicraft can be more than a hobby and her business idea was born.
"In October, thanks to Salma Gharsallah, the HP LIFE trainer, I discovered HP LIFE e-Learning and the Mashrou3i project. I immediately completed the 27 e-Learning courses on the online training platform, which was support by a Mashrou3i face-to-face training in Djerba."
At the same time, Atka began to develop her handicraft skills at home, particularly in embroidery. "I've always been passionate about handicraft, but the training provided by Mashrou3i has helped me to develop my ideas and improve my way of working in a creative way. I already had skills in embroidery and crafts, but through this managerial training I can now innovate, create recycled products and also market them."
As soon as the training was completed, Atka made the decision to move to another location for a more spacious and creative location. "My business now involves the creation of traditional bags thanks to a strapping technique that allows me to have an old style but at the same time modern and practical for everyday use. I really like making fashion accessories from all types of materials and giving old objects new life."
Atka is aware that her success is due to the creativity and careful customization of her products, giving a new artistic touch to products like traditional leather bags. She also enjoys experimenting and introducing precious materials like silver, which in the future will create 3 jobs, through the employment of specialized craftswomen.
"Today, I would like Mashrou3i to support me in improving all aspects of my brand in terms of marketing and communication like creating a logo and promotional materials. I’m also hoping to get support from the Mashrou3i Expert in Marketing and Communication on the development of my brand and customer loyalty that will make the difference in the sustainability of my company."