On November 17, 2016, USAID Economic Growth Office Director Cybill Signer participated in the launch of the Confideo Venture Mentoring (Confideo VM) program at the Four Seasons Hotel, Beirut. This initiative falls under the Middle East and North Africa Investment Initiative (MENA II) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to help guide early-stage businesses in Lebanon as they grow and attempt to attract additional capital. The Confideo VM initiative is also co-funded by the World Bank through its Early Stage Innovation Financing initiative in Lebanon.
The launch event was held in the presence of Berytech Chairman, Mr. Maroun Chammas, General Manager of Insure and Match Capital (IM Capital), the investment entity formed under MENA II, Dr. Nicolas Rouhana, Lebanese government representatives, entrepreneurs, investors, bank directors and executives, private sector and NGO representatives, university Rectors and Deans, Chamber of Commerce members, business incubators and accelerators managers, and key ecosystem stakeholders.
In her remarks, USAID Economic Growth Office Director Cybill Sigler highlighted the importance of mentoring to guide entrepreneurs during their start-up journey. “To the entrepreneurs here today, we encourage you to tap into this mentorship program because a mentor will prove to be an invaluable resource in facilitating your growth as an entrepreneur and building your company’s success.”
Powered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Venture Mentoring Service (MIT VMS), Confideo VM is designed around the belief that a business is far more likely to succeed when an entrepreneur can draw on the advice and guidance of a team of mentors with proven skills and experience. Team mentoring also increases the likelihood for the venture to build strong relationship with at least one mentor, ensuring the continuity of the mentoring relationship.
Confideo VM mentors practice techniques drawn from a 16-year proven methodology of team mentoring by MIT VMS, which helps entrepreneurs grow their skill sets, bring their ideas and inventions to market, and increase their potential. Confideo VM will kick off with a selected batch of founding mentors during a full mentor-training day on November 18 to go through the MIT VMS model and underlying guidelines.
To date, and since the inception of Insure and Match Capital in September 2014, USAID has invested more than $2.5 million to support entrepreneurship by assisting 10 startups. In addition, eight entrepreneurs have been sent to Silicon Valley for technical training in software and mobile applications and networking.