U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Danny Hall celebrated today the graduation of twenty six Lebanese businessmen and women who completed a program on investment and finance methodologies to support start-up Lebanese enterprises. The program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is being implemented by the Middle East and North Africa Investment Initiative (MENA-II). The event also launched the Lebanese Women’s Angel Fund, a partnership between local businesswomen to invest in Lebanese companies led by women. Together with Minister Jean Oghassapian, USAID Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson, and Berytech Chairman Mr. Maroun Chammas, nearly 100 attendees representing Lebanese entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, banks, universities, Chambers of Commerce, and other stakeholders attended the event.
The one-year training program, called the “Seeders Masterclass for Business Angels (MBA)” kicked off in September 2016. Through MENA II, the investors are provided a guarantee for 50% of their investments in order to reduce their risk and encourage investment in new Lebanese companies. The Seeders MBA program has generated $390,000 worth of new investment so far, and is supporting 20 local start-up companies and creating jobs. During the event, DCM Hall emphasized the importance of providing much-needed opportunities for Lebanese entrepreneurs to enable them to grow and benefit the country.
Building on the Seeders MBA program, USAID, also through MENA-II, has created a similar training program called “the Lebanese Women’s Angel Fund” to help early-stage women investors and women-led businesses in Lebanon access finance, contribute to job creation and ensure sustainable social development and economic growth.
MENA-II is a $15 million USAID-funded project that provides needed support to early stage businesses in order to create and sustain jobs, advance and develop the investment eco-system, and encourage increased equity investment in early stage businesses. To date, the project has invested more than $4.8 million in 13 Lebanese start-ups in various sectors, creating more than 100 jobs and benefitting many others directly or indirectly involved in these businesses.