Hajer Bettoumi launches the first real estate agency in Kebili
After a career break to look after her two children, 26-year-old Hajer Bettoumi decided it was time to put her business plan in motion. The legal expert recently opened Kebili’s first real estate agency in the heart of the city’s dynamic commercial center.
With a degree in Law and Political Science, Hajer got the idea for her business while working in a local law firm where she specialized in cartography and topographic measurements.
“I got the idea of creating a real estate agency while talking with clients,” Hajer explains. “People who want to buy a house or sell land often don’t know about the legal proceedings to register these transactions. They also lack the guarantees necessary to carry out these deals with trust.”
“In the nearby city of Gabes, there are several agencies but until now no one was offering these kind of professional services here in Kebili,” she adds.
Real estate fraud and the risk of fraudulent transactions was another reason why Hajer saw a need to provide legal services.
“Some landowners sell their property illegally many times and buyers are often not aware of this risk,” she says. “I am here to enable full transparency of transactions.”
The first step on her entrepreneurial path led Hajer to the business center of Kebili. There she met an expert from Mashrou3i, an entrepreneurship development project funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and HP Foundation and implemented by UNIDO. During a Mashrou3i training session, Hajer discovered the HP LIFE e-Learning program. After taking the online business and IT courses, the aspiring entrepreneur attended a five-day face-to-face Mashrou3i workshop in Djerba.
“I was immediately struck by how relevant the training was to daily life as an entrepreneur,” Hajer says enthusiastically. “It immersed me in the reality of my project and enabled me to evaluate all aspects and financial issues related to getting the business off the ground.”
“Thanks to coaching from Mashrou3i’s experts, I realized that it wasn’t necessary to apply for a bank loan. Instead I was able to setup my office straight away using our family savings,” she adds.
Hajer officially opened her agency in December 2018, only a month after attending the Mashrou3i training. To spread the word about her business she prepared business cards and flyers. She has also hired an assistant who helps with all the administrative work, freeing up more time for her to focus on gaining new clients in the region.
With a growing network and loyal customer base in the region, Hajer has already established her reputation and built a solid foundation for business growth. Later this year she plans to attend a Mashrou3i communication workshop to help increase awareness of her agency through regional radio. Stay tuned!