As highlighted in a new report by Endeavor Insight, entitled “How to Improve Access to Finance in Lebanon,” Lebanon is primed to make its mark on entrepreneurship. To make this mark, all actors in the ecosystem have specific roles to embrace in order to expand access to finance—a crucial piece of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems. From interviews with nearly 20 influential Lebanese actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem (including VCs, incubators, entrepreneurs, etc.), it was evident that government has an important, immediate role to play in the development of the Lebanese funding landscape. Be on the lookout for actionable recommendations for other ecosystem actors over the next few days. Below are key potential governmental actions which emerged in interviews:
1) Focus on infrastructure: “The government needs to work on providing the basics” (Elie Akhrass, Kafalat). 100% of the funders and facilitators interviewed said that the main thing the government should work on was developing infrastructure. In order to foster a truly dynamic entrepreneurial environment, the basics, electricity and internet, need to be reliable utilities.
2) Create a space to foster entrepreneurship: The government should invest in creating a space, or “Entrepreneur City” that is exclusively for entrepreneurs. Similar to the concept of New York’s General Assembly, which receives city funding in order to promote education around technology, design, and innovation, providing a home for this sector will encourage collaboration and foster education amongst entrepreneurs. “We need a home for this space,” comments Omar Christidis of Arab Net. “This is a key way to stimulate growth in the sector.”
To learn more about where Lebanon is now, as well as read recommendations for how it can fully capitalize on its bright future, please read the full report here.