Tunisian parliament approves the ‘Startup Act’, the law aims to turn Tunisia into a startup nation

Startup Act, a bill that has been in the works for more than two years has finally been passed by the Tunisian parliament and is now a law. The law consists of five sections with 20 measures (points) that aim to make it easy for Tunisian entrepreneurs to start and run their ventures.

We’re working on the translation of all the whole thing but for now to give you some idea, the law includes; exemption for startups from corporate taxes for up to eight years, special custom procedures, exemption from capital gains tax on investments made in startups, up to one year of time off from their current jobs (for both private and public sector employees), and salary for up to three founders during the first year of operations.

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, shared the news on Twitter, “Tunisia has just passed the Startup act. One more step to take our economy to the digital age.”

The Tunisian startup community that has played a very active role in the legislation, has welcomed passing of the bill. Adam Chebbi, founder of a Tunisian startup Vynd, speaking to MENAbytes, said, “It is a great example of a collaboration between civil society, private and public sector.”

“The startup community was waiting for this legislation for years now and is very excited to see it become a law,” he added.

Many users shared their thoughts on Twitter about passing of the bill by parliament.

Farouk Kadous, Founding Partner at Averroes Ventures, an Egypt-based VC that invests in startups across the region, in one of his pieces, explaining that visionary legislation is even more important than the visionary capital, wrote, “The presence of visionary capital is impossible without the presence of visionary legislation which encourages entrepreneurs and encourages investment. The visionary capital in the United States is a result of visionary legislation.”

Tunisia seems to have taken the big step towards the visionary legislation by passing this bill. It’s now the responsibility entrepreneurs and other stakeholders of the ecosystem to build on it.

The Startup Act should also serve as an inspiration to other countries of the region, some of which have a lot of catching up to do.

As Anis Kallel, founder of a Tunisian FinTech startup recently wrote, the next wave of innovation might very well come from Tunisia.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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