Lebanon Businessnews News

Mobile Internet Ecosystem project approved
Share     Share on Facebook     Share on LinkedIn    
The Cabinet has approved the $6.4 million loan agreement from the World Bank to fund the Mobile Internet Ecosystem Project (MIEP). The overall budget dedicated to the project is $12.8 million. The Government will provide the rest of the required funding.

The project will be executed within four years, following the Cabinet’s ratification, according to Walid Karam, advisor of the Ministry of Telecoms (MoT), in charge of the follow-up of the project. MIEP acquired the approval of the World Bank last year. Karam said that a mission from the World Bank will visit the country on February 19 and the activities of the ecosystem are expected to kick-off on the 20th.

“Meeting with the World Bank’s mission will set the schedule, the objectives and the time plan of our project,” he said.

Through the MIEP program, the World Bank is introducing a new approach to developing skills and entrepreneurship, which will be implemented by the MoT. MIEP will implement open innovation and crowdsourcing mechanisms to encourage entrepreneurship and boost skills and talent creation. This new project will focus initially on the mobile Internet ecosystem (mobile apps), will involve innovation stakeholders (universities, industry clusters, start-ups, microenterprises, incubators, angel investors, venture capitalists and the Government) and will provide collaboration mechanisms to boost the effects of open innovation and crowdsourcing.

Karam said that at least 50 startups will be formed under this ecosystem in the upcoming four years.

Activities of the project started with the MiHub activity, last October. It included the co-design and implementation of an open innovation lab for innovators and industry to interact, experiment and share best practices. Activities and competitions in this direction will follow. On February 21, the Open Innovation Week will begin with the aim of supporting a growing community around open source software, hardware, disruptive and creative art. It will be held at AltCity accelerator-Hamra.

An NGO will be formed to act as a driver to innovation. It will be a multi-stakeholder arm with members from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), mobile operators, app developers, incubators and accelerators. Its activities will run under the supervision of the MoT. According to Karam, this new NGO will act as a committee that will propose the action timeline once the project is launched.

According to Karam, works of the ecosystem will help boost the activity and the value of the ICT sector in the country. According to IDAL’s estimation, the industry is valued at around $400 million, expected to amount to $600 million in 2016.

The NGO has not chosen an office yet, but it is considering the Beirut Digital District.
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Feb 09, 2015
Share     Share on Facebook     Share on LinkedIn