Houssem Aoudi is a Tunisian entrepreneur with experience in media, civic engagement, and social innovation. A strong believer that supportive communities are the best catalysts for change, Houssem’s work specializes in bringing together diverse stakeholders to tackle today's most pressing issues.
Houssem is the co-founder and CEO of Cogite Coworking Space, Tunisia’s first coworking community. Founded in 2013, Cogite is now home to a vibrant mix of entrepreneurs, artists, activists, and young professionals. Cogite has also grown to assume a leadership role in cultivating an entrepreneurship community across the country. It was selected by Forbes on the top 10 coworking spaces in the world in 2016.
With a network spanning government, civil society, and private enterprise, Houssem also consciously endeavors to create platforms for public debate, community building, and open expression with his company Wasabi. In 2010, Houssem co-founded TEDxCarthage, the country’s first and largest TEDx event, which returns each year on new themes such as trust in society, tolerance, and female empowerment. Houssem later went on to work with TED to launch a major international summit in Doha, Qatar for TEDx organizers from around the world.
In recognition of his media and civic engagement experience, Houssem received an official appointment to serve as Director of the Media Center for the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE). In this capacity, Houssem successfully presented the process and outcomes of Tunisia’s historic 2014 parliamentary and presidential elections to the world democratic elections which were internationally hailed for their openness and transparency.
More recently, Houssem launched the Afkar "Think and Action Tank” in 2015, which gathers a conclave of key stakeholders around a particular issue area and provides a durable, action-oriented format in which participants develop timely, implementable solutions.
Afkar launched a Startups Incubation program in 2018 and helped more than 230 startups to date in 6 different countries.
Houssem is a Draper Hills Fellow on Democracy and Development uat Stanford University, BMW Foundation Fellow, National Endowment for Democracy Fellow and was named TED Hero in 2012.
He is board member of several initiatives including Tunisia Foundation for Development.