The UK Lebanon Tech Hub, which started earlier this year, announced the start of its International Accelerator activities in June.
In its first round the International Accelerator selected 45 Lebanese companies with high-growth potential, out of 151 applications from Lebanese disapora in six different countries (Lebanon, UK, USA, France, UAE). They were at different stages in their growth, as well as from different industries including fintech, ecommerce, crowdfunding platforms, mobile applications (health, legal, financial, hospitality), hardware solutions and software solutions.
Phase one of the program sees the 45 companies go through a four month course designed by the Babson Business School to help them grow their business ideas.
Of these 45 companies, 15 will be chosen for the second round of the program in London.
They will undergo intensive training and individual mentoring, receive financial support to develop their businesses, in addition to securing additional funding through the international network they will be introduced to.
Companies that do not qualify for the second round will have an opportunity to qualify again, if they show they've strengthened areas of weakness that were highlighted in the first round.
In the video above, Colm Reilly CEO of the UK Lebanon Tech Hub and Ignacio de la Vega, PhD, managing director at Babson Global Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, who both worked closely to select the 45, share a few insights on what they have learnt about the Lebanese ecosystem so far.
“Lebanon contributes three core assets to the people: understanding how to do business, being well educated and having ambition and drive to get things done,” says Reilly.
While the program wants to help move the Lebanese entrepreneurial ecosystem beyond Lebanon, De la Vega stressed on the fact that participants “need to focus and have a clear ambition to move beyond Lebanon and the MENA region”.
Reilly says Lebanon is fortunate to have multidisciplinary entrepreneurs, and that Lebanese companies are able to compete on an international level. Three things he thinks could make a big difference are:
Building and destroying startups quickly
Working to improve the infrastructure
Raising intelligence around how to best use funding money
Watch the entire video for more insights.