Recent political instability and regional conflict have had an adverse effect on the economy and employment in Lebanon. The contribution of women entrepreneurs is an important driver for economic growth and stability, yet women in Lebanon face a range of cultural and structural constraints which restrict their capacity to set up and grow successful businesses. For example, local training and coaching services are often inadequately tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of women. Many women also struggle to obtain a loan and own property, which forces them to run their businesses informally. All of these factors combined hold women entrepreneurs back from meaningfully contributing to Lebanon’s economy.
Thanks to support from the U.S. Department of State, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women partnered with Al Majmoua (the Lebanese Association for Development) to enhance the capability, confidence and access to financial services of over 200 women entrepreneurs in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Our project delivered tailored business training, coaching and incubation support for the women and their businesses, working closely with key financial institutions to improve women’s access to financial services.
The Bekaa Valley has been particularly affected by the conflict in the region and has experienced an influx of refugees from across the Syrian border. To address the specific challenges caused by this volatility, our project also delivered business continuity and risk management training for women entrepreneurs to ensure they were able to adapt and sustain their business through difficult times. By building the financial and human capital of women entrepreneurs, we helped women’s businesses grow sustainably and achieve scale and resistance to instability.
50 of the women received more extensive training and support, 60% of whom went on to access loans. In total, 46 new jobs have been created.
‘We are very excited to be working with Al Majmoua and the US Department of State to deliver this ground-breaking project for women entrepreneurs in the Bekaa Valley.’
– Annabel Azim, Enterprise Development Programme Director
Al Majmoua is the leading micro-finance and Business Development Services organisation operating in all regions of Lebanon since 1994. As an independent, non-profit association, Al Majmoua is dedicated to helping disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs, in particular women, expand their businesses and take part in a gradual and steady process of upward economic mobility by offering those sustainable financial services and adapted non-financial services.