The SME Unit was established in 2005 to implement the Integrated Small and Medium Enterprise Support Programme (ISSP) at the Ministry of Economy and Trade. The project aimed at supporting Lebanese small and medium enterprises through creating an enabling environment conducive to the growth and development of SMEs and through developing Lebanon as a high value added, highly skilled, innovative and enterprising economy based on a thriving enterprise sector, that enables Lebanese businesses to compete globally and lead to better employment opportunities for all Lebanese citizens.
The project main achievements were:
On the Policy level, a business and legal review was conducted, and accordingly a legal matrix was done. The matrix proposed amendments to existing laws and, identified the areas of intervention towards improving the policy and regulatory framework which facilitates the creation and growth of businesses in Lebanon.
Creation of three Business Development Centers (BDCs) across Lebanon to help improve and build the competitiveness and capacity of startups, existing SMEs and entrepreneurs through an array of business support services and incubation.
Enhancing access to finance through a partnership with Kafalat by providing up to 64 million Euros of credit guarantees to start ups and existing SMEs. The loan guarantee is granted upon approval of the business plan or feasibility study where no collateral or any personal guarantee is required.
Currently, the team is working on developing a new SME strategy for Lebanon in coordination and partnership with all relevant stakeholders.