Lebanon’s Banque du Liban provides $400M IT startup fund, Gitex 2016
Dubai offers Lebanese technology startups the opportunity to gain global exposure and investment at Gitex Technology Week. Significant investment is accelerating Lebanon’s $400 million knowledge economy, which could add 25,000 ICT jobs and contribute $7 billion to the country’s GDP by 2025, according to a recent report by the UK Lebanon Tech Hub.
Complementing international aid efforts in startups, in 2014, the Banque du Liban instituted Circular 331, which provides a potential $400 million stimulus for startups. The programme reduces risk by guaranteeing up to 75% of commercial banks equity investments in venture capitalists or startups. In addition, the Beirut Digital District is providing advanced infrastructure and a supportive ecosystem for technology businesses.
“Lebanon’s strong educational standards and embrace of innovation are driving rapid growth in technology companies and startups. The next step for Lebanese tech innovators is to partner with multi-national companies and investors, with Gitex Technology Week providing the keystone for connecting Lebanese companies to emerging markets and investors around the world,” said Louis Guelette, Member of the Advisory Board at the Beirut-based Midis Group, an IT services and solutions provider that operates in emerging markets across the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
The opportunity to make global connections is attracting a strong field of innovative organisations from across the region, such as Lebanese mobile app developers Azkatec and Aiia Solutions, Tiqany, a facilities management company that created the ICT infrastructure for the Beirut Digital District, and financial technology provider BML Istisharat.
Thanks to improvements in ICT infrastructure, Lebanon is increasingly benefiting from its competitive advantage across education and banking and finance, while supporting entrepreneurs, and enhancing contacts through Lebanese communities abroad.
The Gitex Vertical Days programme aims to educate Lebanese CIOs on the disruptive potential of technology in key verticals such as education, energy, finance, healthcare, intelligent cities, marketing, and retail.