A study by Fransabank showed that nearly 90 percent of the local businesses in Lebanon belong to startup projects and small- to medium-size enterprises.
“The study estimated that these startups and SMEs represent more than 90 percent of the global companies and enterprises in Lebanon, which means that such entities constitute the backbone of the local economic and social development in Lebanon,” the Center for Economic Studies at Fransabank said.
The study explained that these startups and SMEs are currently facing several challenges. “The business environment needs to be enhanced and become more enabling. Access to finance, ownership of modern technologies, and a larger number of business incubators and accelerators are crucial factors in supporting the growth and development of SMEs in Lebanon,” Fransabank said.
The study highlighted the significance of business incubators and accelerators in ensuring the sustainability and success of startups and SMEs in Lebanon, since they serve as their launching pad, providing them with significant resources and support services during their startup and launching stages.
“These resources and services include: rent-a-desk and state-of-the-art laboratories, mentoring and coaching in entrepreneurship, technical support, legal and management advice and consulting, development of marketable products, access to markets and finance as well as service providers, practical training, HR development and others. As such, business incubators and accelerators constitute an economic and social development tool designed to diversify the national economy, create jobs, and build wealth,” the study said.
Fransabank said that the nine leading business incubators and accelerators in Lebanon were Berytech, BIAT, South BIC, ALT CITY, U.K. Lebanon Tech Hub, SpeeD @ BDD, FLAT 6 LABS, SMART ESA, and BADER.
“These incubators and accelerators play a vital role in supporting startup companies and SMEs. They all focus on the provision of instruments, tools and resources needed to support young entrepreneurs, economic development, and job creation, and also to lessen the rate of brain drain,” the study said.
“These startups and SMEs need diversified financial resources during its general life cycle, in the seed period, infant period, growth period, maturing period and post-incubation period. Financial resources should include own capital, venture capital, IPOs, bank finance, institutional investment and others,” the study said.