Tunisia is the first African country to adopt a law on ”Startups Acts”, since 2018. The Tunisian Startup Act gives a company that has been in existence for less than eight years the status of a startup, with very attractive tax benefits. In addition to the benefits for the Startup itself, the Tunisian Startup Act also offers many advantages to the Entrepreneur himself but also to the investor. Bridges Builder gives you an overview of the key points of the ”Startup Act” of Tunisia.
1- Advantages for the Entrepreneur himself
- Startup” Scholarship: For the Tunisian entrepreneur who is not an employee (civil service or private sector), he/she can benefit from a one-year scholarship to start their project.The maximum amount of this scholarship is 5 thousand Tunisian Dinar net/month and the minimum amount is one thousand Tunisian Dinar net/month (between 320€ and 1600€).
- Leave to launch your Startup: If you are an employee (public service or private sector) and you want to launch your project, the Startup Act grants you a leave of 12 months and renewable once – 24 months in total -. It allows you to devote yourself full time to the launch and development of your startup. If your startup does not take off, you have the possibility to return to your original job, after a notice period.
- The Total Subsidy for Patent Costs: When the Tunisian entrepreneur has finished innovating, inventing and creating, the Tunisian State takes care of the entire procedure and all the costs of registering your patent, both nationally and internationally.
- The Good Failure: As we know in our Negro-African and Arab-Berber cultures, failure is still traumatic and burdensome. And since sometimes the fight is more appetizing than the victory itself, more and more in Africa, the risk of adventure is gradually taking over the taste for comfort, at the level of the (new) African youth. To break this fear of failure, the Tunisian Startup Act encourages “Good failure” and has established a Startup Guarantee Fund, while exempting startups from paying corporate tax (IS) and paying in their place, employer’s charges.
2- Advantages for the Startup itself: the ”Startup Label”.
- The ”Label Startup”: In Tunisia, if you want to be labeled ”Label Startup”, a portal is put online to facilitate all administrative operations and give you all the information you need for your application.
- Salary and employer’s charges, taken by the State: In Tunisia, once your company is labeled ”Label Startup”, the ”Startup Acts” gives you the right to a government coverage of your salary and employer’s charges. Who says better!
- The Special Account in foreign currency: Any Startup has the right to open a special account in foreign currency which it freely feeds by contributions in capital, quasi-capital, turnover and dividends in foreign currency. The Startup invests, freely and without authorization, the assets of this account to acquire tangible or intangible assets, create subsidiaries abroad and take participations in companies abroad.
- Exemption from Corporate Income Tax: In Tunisia, Startups are exempt from corporate income tax (CIT) and benefit from a Technology Card whose threshold is set at 100 thousand Tunisian Dinars (32k€). In addition to the advantage of the “Technology Card”, Tunisian Startups are considered as “Authorized Economic Operators” within the meaning of the Customs Code. Thus, Tunisian Startups are exempted from the homologation and technical control procedures of the CERT (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche en Télécommunication) on importation.
3- Benefits for the Investor
- Tax Relief for Investors: In Tunisia, when individuals or legal entities invest in Startups or in regulated investment organizations dedicated to Startups, the amounts invested are fully deductible from the tax base. And for investors, profits from the sale of securities relating to holdings in startups are exempt from capital gains tax.
- The Startup Guarantee Fund: This is a guarantee mechanism for the participations of investment funds and other regulated investment institutions in Startups. This attractive mechanism can only be activated in the event of the out-of-court liquidation of the startup that is the subject of the guarantee. Bonds convertible into shares : Startups that are labeled ”Startup Label” within the framework of the Tunisian ”Startup Acts”, are entitled to issue bonds convertible into shares, are authorized to carry out several bond issues, regardless of the option terms for conversion.
Tunisia: The 5 criteria to obtain the ”Startup Label”
Kenya- Ivory Coast- Nigeria- Ghana- South Africa
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