Lebanon Women Entrepreneurs

Lebanon Women Entrepreneurs supported women in Lebanon from 2012-2014.

The situation for women entrepreneurs in Lebanon is more favourable than other countries in the Middle East. However, female entrepreneurship in Lebanon is still relatively low and the majority of women-owned businesses in the country operate in the informal sector, making it more difficult for women to access formal finance from banks. Women tend to use their personal savings to start their businesses and expansion is limited to investments that can be made from subsequent earnings.

In partnership with the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women initiated a project in 2011 to support women entrepreneurs in Lebanon. Working with Tomorrow’s Youth Organization and the René Moawad Foundation, the project enabled 42 women entrepreneurs in North Lebanon to develop and scale up their micro businesses. Despite the political unrest that gripped the country, particularly affecting the North, the project achieved significant results and the growth of these businesses resulted in the creation of 49 new jobs.

Building upon the success of this project, we started work with Al Majmoua, in partnership with the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, to support 200 Lebanese and Palestinian women entrepreneurs in the underserved areas of the Northern region (Tripoli and Akkar), Eastern region (Bekaa Valley), Metn region and in Saida in the South. The project provided incubation services for women who wanted to scale up their businesses and enhance their marketing, financing and networking opportunities. A key focus was building strong links with financial institutions to encourage them to provide tailored services to these women.

This project was designed to ultimately support upward the economic mobility of women in Lebanon, helping them to grow profitable and sustainable businesses that are market oriented and scalable and which will facilitate job creation.

This project has helped me to define my strategy, strengthen my business skills and identify new networks for the sale of my accessories.

Houwayda Sharaf Al Dine, project participant

Our partners:

Lebanon Women Entrepreneurs was supported by our partner the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and delivered with our partners Al Majmoua and Tomorrow’s Youth Organization.