Saturday 04, November 2017 by Jessica Combes

Youth bulge powering Lebanon’s tech scene

 

A new report prepared by the UK Lebanon Tech Hub, The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2016 National Report–Lebanon, shows that young people and women are at the root of a fast developing dynamic entrepreneur scene.

The national report is taken from global research by the GEM Consortium, who conducted wide-ranging and detailed interviews to assess levels of entrepreneurship across 65 countries. This included 2,600 adults aged 16-64 right across the Lebanon.

“Lebanon’ burgeoning ecosystem is the result of a big entrepreneurial momentum met by a strong VC industry bolstered by the Central Bank’s masterstroke 331 initiative. This very tech-focused scene is attracting many of Lebanon’s diaspora back to the country, especially women and youth. It is an exciting time to be in Lebanon as it is becoming the tech gateway to the Middle East. Our ambition is to be among the top ten entrepreneurial nations of the world. To invest in potential for innovation and become more competitive globally,” said Nadim Zaazaa, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Lebanon Tech Hub.

The report shows that two in seven 25-44 year olds were starting or running a new business in Lebanon in 2016. It also shows four out of ten, (of those not already doing so), questioned said they intended to start their own business within the next three years.

Taken together, in 2016 more than four in ten adults in Lebanon were active entrepreneurs, starting or running a new business, or running an established business. Women are increasingly taking the lead in Lebanon’s start-up scene with 16 per cent of those surveyed saying they were involved in early stage entrepreneurial activity – more than twice the level recorded in Europe (six per cent) and a third more than in the US (12 per cent).

In the survey, six out of ten Lebanese adults saw good opportunities to start a new business, more than two-thirds considered themselves to have the required skills and capabilities to do so, and less than a quarter of those would be deterred by fear of failure. As a result, four out of ten intended to start a new business within the next three years.

Lebanon was the leading country among those surveyed in innovative business start-ups, or the proportion of new businesses seeing themselves as introducing new products or services, with few competitors. The report also showed Lebanon is amongst the world’s leading entrepreneurial economies, ranking fourth of 65 countries in terms of new firm enterprise, eighth in terms of total early-stage entrepreneurship, and third in terms of the ownership of established businesses.