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EBRD and EU launch advisory programme for SMEs in Lebanon

By Nibal Zgheib

EBRD to launch investments in Lebanon

  • Advisory programme to foster private sector growth and job creation
  • EU-funded programme to provide know-how to support innovation and competitiveness
  • Increasing SMEs’ access to finance

Small businesses in Lebanon will benefit from the EBRD’s Advice for Small Business (ASB) Programme for Lebanon, launched together with the European Union in Beirut today.

To mark this milestone, the EBRD hosted an event under the patronage of His Excellency Saad Hariri, attended by Jean Ogasapian, Minister of State for Women’s Affairs; Julia Koch De Biolley, Deputy Head of Mission at the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon; and Janet Heckman, EBRD Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region. More than 100 guests representing the business community as well as international donors and the media attended the launch.

The ASB programme in Lebanon will support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with business advisory services to boost their performance and sustainability, enhance their creativity and help foster innovation, competitiveness and create jobs as well as ultimately increase their chances of accessing the finance they need to grow. In Lebanon, SMEs constitute over 90 per cent of the private sector, representing the backbone of the economy. Offering support to this sector is a priority for the EBRD and the European Union in the country.

The advisory programme links SMEs with local and international consultants to help them become catalysts for growth in their local economies. Business advice covers a range of areas including strategy, marketing, operations, quality management, energy efficiency, financial management and others. The Bank also carries out training programmes for local consultants to strengthen their capacity and improve the range and quality of advisory services.

For over 25 years, this kind of engagement has seen more than €400 million of donor funds deployed to assist nearly 22,000 SMEs in countries where the EBRD invests. Lebanon became a recipient of EBRD investment in 2017, where the Bank has invested €90 million to date. The EBRD has also launched its operations this year in the West Bank and Gaza, joining Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia as part of the Bank’s SEMED region, where the EBRD has invested nearly €8 billion in 195 projects.

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