Entrepreneurship Lebanon — entrepreneurship lebanon , lebanon , lebanon economy , macroeconomics , Random Views — Marketing in Lebanon
Monday, August 16, 2010

Entrepreneurship Lebanon

The entrepreneurship field in Lebanon lacks the proper care. Our weak Lebanese economy translates in poorly paid jobs. The solution currently available for our aspiring Lebanese generation lies in either resorting to work in the Arab world, or, in entrepreneurial initiatives in Lebanon. Of course, no one with his right mind would invest in an entrepreneurship endeavor in Lebanon, as it entails a lot of risks. No one, but the Lebanese. Multi-national companies are very rare to find. The Lebanese economy relies on Lebanese SMEs, mainly, entrepreneurial family businesses; and that, "despite" our government's policies.
Lebanon is far from being friendly to entrepreneurs. A quick look at the list of programs presented on the Lebanese Ministry of Economy website Entrepreneurship programs in Lebanon, might fool you into thinking that effort is being invested. Looking closer, you would realize that most websites are outdated, unheard of, and some even benefiting an elite few.
In 2010, Lebanon ranks 108 in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business , and 108, as well, for the ease of starting a business; also noteworthy, is that these rankings are based on the "official" needs, and do not include bribes and theft. More details can be found on Lebanon's country profile. The Lebanese government hampers its own economy. Instead of fostering entrepreneurs, it sucks the life out of the companies thriving and I am not just talking about taxes and unconventional bureaucratic procedures.
The backbones of a strong business ecosystem can only exist with a strong local infrastructure. Should I address our transportation deficiencies: the improper roads, lack of public transportation,the laws that are never applied, and the crazy driving? How about the phone bills: the local duopoly of Alfa and MTC touch and the exhilarating costs attached? Not to mention the weak internet connection... and most importantly the ever unchanging electricity issues!
All this in mind, wouldn't you think that Lebanon is better off with no government? I do. At least thieves would not be protected at the port, and in governmental positions. Our leaders need to look past their personal interests. Yes, I am sure the world would be a better place if they're in charge, but that's no excuse to build a community of direct beneficiaries based on theft.
Lebanese like to think that they have built the Arab economic hub, as they tend to occupy leading positions in the Arab world, but the truth is, they are but pawns "used" to benefit lands that are not their own. It might just be in everyone else's advantage that Lebanon fails to create a business-friendly environment, as their highly qualified individuals remains available for excavation.
I would like to think that it was out of ignorance that the Lebanese government failed to create this business ecosystem rather than an international political ploy.
The whole basis of hiring employees in the government based on leaders' relations and the associated high-paying positions and unjustified benefits offered to the government employees while most of them would wind up not even showing up at their job, is outrageous. What if all this money currently going to waste was channeled into creating an entrepreneurial hub?
The Lebanese government might think that they need to suck money out of the Lebanese population to survive. What if instead they helped new companies grow? What if they supported instead of destroying the Lebanese economy? Doesn't anyone see the benefit of investing in an entrepreneurship tomorrow? The government itself would gain more money had it done so.
Ok, so I started with the problem, now let's talk solutions. To start with I would like to bring to your attention Taiwan's use of its diaspora and immigrant labor force and knowledge to create several entrepreneurship programs in 1980. This dramatically changed its local entrepreneurial scope, thanks to which many immigrants, consequently returned. Lebanon has a huge diaspora of highly capable individuals, why not benefit from their expertise to revive the country?
I have recently been selected for the Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP), a fully financed initiative by the US Department of States entailing a one month trip to the USA to gain from their business knowledge.
While I am benefiting from US financing, I am driven to ask myself "what has my country done for me", that said, I would like to turn the question around, tell me:

What can I do for my country?

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