Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon
Program Dates: April 2011 – December 2012
Following successful cooperation between the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (CBFW) and TYO in the Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus project, the two parties launched the Women Entrepreneurs in Lebanon Project in the spring of 2011. By providing women with enhanced skills and a platform to become productive members of Lebanon’s labor force, this project bolstered the country’s economy as a whole, with a particular focus on refugee and poorer Lebanese communities. Specifically, it addressed two factors that prevent women from doing business and earning a better living:
- Access to information about demand in local and international markets and to sales outlets in those markets
- The lack of business and personal skills required to launch and sustain a commercial enterprise.
The need for such efforts is supported by very low labor force participation of Lebanese women: estimated at 21.7% of the total labor force (GEM Brief 2007). Although Lebanese women are often recognized as equal partners in the family, they are still extremely under-represented in decision-making positions and most often regarded as secondary breadwinners.
The project had four unique phases:
- Selection of female business leaders, initial 4-day intensive training, and individual coaching and mentoring
- Production of business plans and linkage to finance
- Selection of business plans to be incubated
- Further training and support for business expansion, with particular focus on marketing, distribution, and subcontracting other women.
The project benefits from a Steering Committee comprised of relevant and committed individuals from the local private and public sectors, including representatives from Le Grey Hotel, Endeavor, Souk el Tayeb, and Dunkin’ Donuts. The Steering Committee met regularly and was intimately involved in project activities. Each Steering Committee member was paired with a small number of project participants, to provide one-to-one mentoring, technical assistance, and other support as necessary.
- 42 women entrepreneurs successful completed initial 4-day Integrated Business Planning Training
- 20 women entrepreneurs were selected for One-on-One Coaching
- 18 women entrepreneurs developed specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based (SMART) Business Plans
- 10 women entrepreneurs received business incubation at the BIAT center in Tripoli
- 10 women entrepreneurs completed DOTS IT Training
- 9 women entrepreneurs completed Basic Business English training
- Local university student volunteers supported the women entrepreneurs in creating corporate identities for their businesses and TYO printed branding and marketing materials for 9 women