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Business incubator launched in Jezzine
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A business and social hub was launched last month in Jezzine with an investment of more than one million euro ($1.12 million).

The 'Jezzine Hub' will include a business incubator that will provide training and mentorship services as well as networking opportunities and financial donations, said Joe Harfouche, the representative of the Federation of Municipalities of Jezzine on the project’s steering committee.

Financing for the hub was provided by the European Union (EU) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. It will be managed by the Federation of Municipalities of Jezzine and by Oxfam, a global charitable and development organization.

In two weeks from now, the hub will select four teams to form the first batch of entrepreneurs to benefit from its services. Each team will receive a donation of $11,000 to execute a project within three months.

The entrepreneurs will receive training and mentorship for free. Workshops will be provided by professionals and businessmen. The Department for People and Nature Association (DPNA), which is a local NGO, will organize workshops for specific topics such as participation in decision making.

According to Harfouche, the hub’s main objective is to create job opportunities for young people and which would encourage them to stay in the Jezzine area, especially in winter.

There’s no focus on a specific sector but each project should be a “social innovation” that serves the needs of the region. Projects should be executed in the territories managed by the Federation of Municipalities of Jezzine (one of two federations within the caza). This federation includes 50 villages.

In the future, the startups could receive larger amounts of funding from international and local donors, according to Harfouche.

The long term vision is to transform the Jezzine Hub into an “Impact Hub”, a cluster of small companies sharing the same location at an inexpensive cost in order to boost creativity and efficiency.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
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Date Posted: Sep 07, 2016