Lebanon Businessnews News

$15 million for Berytech
funded by USAID
More money for startups
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USAID has launched a new $15 million program to support entrepreneurship and the local ecosystem. It will be officially activated by early April. The name of the fund will be announced at a later stage.

Berytech was awarded the management of the program. In order to implement it, Berytech will have to create a fully owned subsidiary (an investment firm), which will manage and direct the investment initiative.

The fund has a five-year plan, said Rana Helou, Economic Growth Specialist at USAID/Lebanon. The number of startups the fund will be financing has not been specified. Helou said that any type of startup, not necessarily in ICT, is accepted if it presents a feasible and sustainable plan.

“We might consider enlarging the fund’s capital and work plan, if we think it will be successful and useful,” she said.

Berytech will prepare an investment strategy, based on which it will identify potential investments in the early stage markets of the country. It will also match equity investments in early stage investment companies such as incubators, accelerators and angel groups.

According to Helou, the fund will only provide up to 50 percent of the financing to the startup. “The startup will have to provide the remaining amount,” she said. Berytech’s subsidiary will decide whether the startups require any acceleration or incubation.

Helou said that they do understand the risks of funding startups and small companies. “Out of ten startups, one will be able to shine and make up for any failing ones.”
Reported by Rana Freifer
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Date Posted: Feb 26, 2015