Lebanon Businessnews News

Tech startups
grow three-folds
ArabNet survey ranks country

second in the MENA region

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The country still ranks in second place in the MENA region behind the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in terms of number of startups and value of investments. The number of startups witnessed a more than three-fold increase from 11 to 37 companies between 2013 and 2016. Similarly, investments reached $56 million in 2016, compared to just $7 million in 2013.

This is the first conclusion of the Arabnet’s Lebanese Innovation Economy report, issued at the Arabnet conference this week.

Omar Christidis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Arabnet, said that the survey shows that entrepreneurs can clearly identify strengths within the ecosystem regardless of the challenges.

More than 100 investments in tech startups took place between 2013 and 2016. This was accompanied by the rise of additional accelerators, incubators, and ecosystem supporting programs.

The regulatory framework is the main concern for entrepreneurs. Almost two-thirds of the startups face difficulties in navigating the regulatory framework. Entrepreneurs relate this to three main aspects: The taxation system, an absence of financial and e-payment procedures, and issues with business registration and incorporation.

Arabnet identifies that the funding structure reflects an exceedingly early-stage ecosystem, where 57 percent of the surveyed companies have raised only one or two rounds of funding. Around 65 percent of startups received funds of less than $50,000.

Almost three-quarters of the surveyed startups claim that the local education curriculum does not equip graduates with the required skills and knowledge, mainly data analytics and product design.

More than 45 percent of the surveyed firms identify weak logistical infrastructure, and a shortage of market spaces and technology laboratories as main setbacks.

Nearly half of the startups have received ecosystem support. This support is mainly characterized by mentorship services in marketing and pitching, and access to workspaces.
Reported by Samer Rasbey
Date Posted: Feb 26, 2018
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