Mubasher: Lebanon’s entrepreneurial ecosystem flourished making the country among the major assets for digital innovation across the MENA region, following the implementation of Circular 331 of the Central Bank of Lebanon back in August 2014.
Therefore, more accelerators, venture capitals (VCs), and ecosystem support programmes followed suit, Arabnet said in its 4th edition of “State of Digital Investments in MENA 2013-2018” report which was launched in Arabnet Beirut 2019, and it is in partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME).
“Given the space to grow, entrepreneurs are thinking digitally, are oriented to move forward, and are driving digitisation in Lebanon,” the report highlighted.
As for digital investment in Lebanon, despite the low number and deals of investment in 2018, the number of investors grew to 11% in that year when compared to 7% in 2013.
“Despite only holding 12% of the total MENA corporate investors, Lebanon has stepped up the pace and has witnessed a big spurt over the period between 2013 and 2018,” Arabnet said in its report.
In terms of the number of investment deals regionally, Lebanon comes in the third place in 2017 with 56 deals, and in 2018 with 40, with 213 deals collectively during the five years from 2013 to 2018.
“Not only has the number of deals decreased from 2017 to 2018, but so has the value of investment deals from $54 million in 2017 to $28 million in 2018, dropping to the value it had in 2014,” the report highlighted.
Lebanon is home to 125 existing startups and seven inactive startups “who have gone down the valley of death whereby it holds the lowest proportion (5.3%) compared to all other countries in the MENA region over the period between 2013 and 2018.”
As for the female contribution to the startup market in Lebanon, 20% of founders in are females whereas the rest of the 203 founders are men.
“With that being said, the Levant continues to exhibit the highest proportion of female founders in MENA with both Lebanon and Jordan at 20%,” Arabnet report added.