Developing Lebanon’s tech sector through the Lebanese diaspora
Following the financial and economic crises in Lebanon in 2019 and 2020, high rates of skilled labour migration, business shutdowns and hyperinflation have made it difficult for businesses in Lebanon to thrive. To help counter these effects, the Lebanese diaspora in France has sought to support the development of the tech market, a priority sector for the government in recent years.
With EUDiF support, between April 2021 and April 2022, a partnership action between AFPI and Berytech has led to the development of a training manual for Lebanese SMEs on exporting tech services, a communication plan to widen AFPI’s network, and the Cedars Tech label guidelines – a quality label to position the organisation as ambassadors for domestic services in foreign markets. The model has the potential to be replicated for other export markets, or for other diasporas to do similar.
In partnership with
Programme of activities
The 12-month collaboration began with a comprehensive needs assessment to build out the programme of activities based on AFPI's initial request.
Three complementary modules were designed: the French Market Acceleration Programme; a Communication Plan for AFPI; and Cedars Tech label guidelines. Together, the modules develop the capacities of SMEs in Lebanon to export, and of AFPI to expand its support to such SMEs and promote the credibility of the Lebanese tech sector.
To ease the access of Lebanese companies to the French market, five diaspora expertise tailored a training programme called the "French Market Acceleration program" (FMAP).
The programme includes topics such as private and public financing, trading across cultures, and access to markets. The diaspora experts piloted the programme with a small group of SMEs and adjusted it based on their feedback.
Members of AFPI participated in a training on facilitation and delivery of the FMAP to SMEs. For future training rounds, the professional members of AFPI will have the soft skills to manage training sessions online.
The tool is to be used to track the milestones of future trainings conducted by AFPI.
The plan guides AFPI on how to promote the Lebanese tech sector locally and internationally, as well as to expand its membership in Lebanon and the diaspora.
During a workshop, the expert presented the communication plan along with indicators to monitor the achievement of the plan's set goals.
The guidelines frame the tech label AFPI and the other founding partners have created to grant a seal of quality to Lebanese companies that uphold the label’s rules.
An opportunity to learn from the experiences of La French Tech, Finance Innovation and Start Up Tunisia in tech labels.
The expert presented the label and the set indicators to achieve on the short term to members of AFPI.
Besides bringing capacity building resources by recruiting the best experts in the Lebanese diaspora in Europe, the advantage of working with EUDiF lies in urging us to always focus on the long term sustainability plan instead of a short term project-based focus.”
AFPI assessed their capacities at the start and end of the action, showing how the various activities have helped to accelerate their knowledge and practical skills in areas essential to achieving their long-term objectives.
EUDiF actions are designed to plug into a partner's existing vision and/or workplan, in order to help enhance, catalyse, or accelerate initiatives in a way the partner will be able to maintain beyond the end of the action. This is why the focus is on enhancing capacities, rather than providing a finished product on behalf of the partner. No partner ever begins from zero capacities, but the progress made during the course of an action can have a huge impact on its operations.