Green entrepreneurship and eco-innovative grassroots initiatives are on the rise in Lebanon, and stakeholders have a clear vision on how to expand opportunities going forward.
Encouraging news has emerged from the stakeholder consultation organised in Lebanon for the EU-funded SwitchMed Programme: green entrepreneurship and eco-innovative grassroots initiatives are on the rise. According to the group of green entrepreneurs, civil society initiatives, policy makers and others that gathered in Beirut for the SwitchMed Synergy Workshop, Lebanon has seen an increase in green entrepreneurship as well as environmental and social innovations in enterprises and in community-based initiatives. Some key ingredients to this success include the availability of incentive funding and technical support, as well as the prevalence of an entrepreneurship mentality among the country’s young people.
In addition to taking stock of the good results achieved thus far, the participants of the workshop also identified challenges they are facing. There is, for example, still a relatively low level of awareness among the public about the value of green solutions which can limit the opportunities for entrepreneurs introducing new green products and services. At the same time there is a need to address obstacles in Lebanon’s policy and legal framework, including incomplete enforcement of environmental regulations, bureaucratic challenges and the absence of a separate legal status for social and green businesses. Green entrepreneurs also confirmed that for them, it is complicated to access to affordable financing options for their businesses.
With challenges identified, the workshop participants turned their attention to solutions targeted to policy makers, financial actors as well as technical support providers. Policy makers, for example, can step up enforcement of environmental legislation, encourage corporate sustainability responsibility, and find creative ways to reduce the cost of going green, including through tax breaks and lower duties on the import of raw materials for green products. Financial actors can provide more subsidies and flexible and fair funding mechanisms. Technical support providers can expand their offering to include new incubators, accelerators and innovation hubs for green entrepreneurs, including the possibility of virtual incubation.
The full results of the Synergy Workshop and 30 stakeholder interviews conducted as part of the consultation process are available in the White Paper prepared by SCP/RAC in the context of the SwitchMed Programme.
Download the white paper here