Having the vision to become a social entrepreneur is great.
Making it happen is a different story.

Under the title “Social Entrepreneurship: Opportunities & Challenges”, Podium 2030 of LDN hosted for its February 2022 episode the founder of Open Start-up International Houda Ghozzi (Tunisia), and the owner of ZOE - The Clothing Brand Zornitsa Baeva (Bulgaria).

The discussion started with a briefing about the academic background of the guests and their early career.

Afterwards, Ghozzi explained how in the beginning she found herself feeling unfulfilled and decided to take her life into her own hands. “I needed to take a career break but wanted to do something linked to where I wanted my career to go,” she said.

“I felt like I should be grateful for what I carved for myself – yet I had more of a calling to do greater work, more meaningful work,” she added.

When asked about success, she replied:  “It needs a clear vision, a dedicated mission and an unbridled passion. In addition, I learned about the value of impact – how to measure it and how to present it.”

In turn, Baeva clarified how she found herself exploring her natural inclination towards arts and creativity and consequently how she built her success from scratch: thanks to passion, authenticity and vision.

“It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, so your idea needs to ‘feel right’, almost like everything has been leading to this point in your life," she said.

About the various challenges she faced and how she achieved her dreams, Baeva concluded: “I started to think strategically about growth and I learned how to pitch my mission, so that I could make ‘Zoe’ sound creative, unique and interesting.”

The session was moderated by Amin Nehme, the President of the Lebanese Development Network (LDN).

Podium 2030 is a newly launched initiative by LDN. It constitutes a special online platform dedicated to shed light on the Network’s programs, activities and events. In addition, it provides partners and affiliates the occasion to showcase current projects and discuss upcoming opportunities.


About the Speakers

Dr. Houda Ghozzi holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from University Paris Dauphine. She has fifteen years’ experience in academic teaching and research. She held several teaching positions. Houda is the founder of Open Start-up international, an NGO fostering youth entrepreneurship in the MEA region. OST operates in Tunisia and Morocco and extending to Jordan and Senegal and contributes in strengthening the  entrepreneurial ecosystems. Houda is also a consultant for several Tunisian and international companies as well as governmental institutions, with a focus on the development of high impact programs aiming to foster youth entrepreneurial potential and employability. She is also committed to civil society work in financial inclusion as an administrative board member of the Tunisian Authority of Microfinance Control (ACM) since 2012 and member of the steering committee of the Microfinance Observatory from 2014 to 2017. She has also been involved in developing the startup act - the Tunisian legal framework adopted by the government in April 2018.

Zornitsa Baeva is a creative, talented and passionate Bulgarian product designer. With her sharp analytical problem-solving approach, she succeeded to create innovative products that resonate with the market needs. Driven by her inner sense, she deeply believes that ‘the product you create has to be a combination of authenticity, quality, simplicity and timeless design’ because everything that is trendy now, won’t be tomorrow. Baeva’s inspiration by the Italian culture was instrumental in developing her professional experience and career. Landing her dream job, she worked on multiple projects for prominent Italian brands where she succeeded through her impressive touch to have her product selected at PIAGGIO-VESPA, the worldwide leaders in motorcycles. As a method for improving the connections between people and the products they use, she contributed as well in developing an innovative kitchen robot for a leading cookware company. Fascinated with how an attractive outlook plays a vital role in the life of people, she decided to go on her own to create ‘ZOE’ - The Clothing Brand which constitutes a real projection of her genuine character and a typical representation of her roots, artistic talent and entrepreneurial skills. Zornitsa holds a BA in Architecture and Interior Design from the New Bulgarian University, and a Master Degree of Product Design Marketing and Management from the Instituto Europeo di Design, Milan and she speaks four languages.