Towards a Network of Qualified Lebanese Business Angels: Seeders MBA

Insure & Match Capital (IM Capital) launched the Seeders Masterclass for Business Angels (MBA) at the Four Seasons Hotel, Beirut, in the presence of USAID Lebanon Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson, and Berytech Chairman, Mr. Maroun Chammas. The launch event was also attended by Lebanese government representatives, entrepreneurs, investors, bank directors and executives, private sector and NGO representatives, university Rectors and Deans, Chamber of Commerce members, incubators and accelerators managers, and key entrepreneurship ecosystem stakeholders.  This initiative falls under the Middle East and North Africa Investment Initiative (MENA II) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to help early-stage investors and businesses in Lebanon access finance, contribute to job creation and ensure sustainable social development and economic growth.

The Seeders Masterclass is designed to educate Lebanese Business Angels who invest in early stage start-ups on making the best investment decision based on both a lucrative business idea and the qualifications of the management team. The one-year program was developed using a structured approach and a “learn and earn” methodology in collaboration with GoBeyond, an international implementing partner.

“This initiative will help scale the existing business angels’ activities and turn angel investing into an asset class for all types of individuals”, said Mr. Chammas in his opening keynote. On the other hand, Dr. Patterson stated, “We are here because we aim to help businesses and entrepreneurs in Lebanon access the capital needed to grow and advance Lebanon’s economy.

Every six to eight weeks, the group of selected investors will attend a pitch event with two to three Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), moderated by a coach and a deal-leader from GoBeyond and IM Capital. By the end of the MBA, the group would have made three to four investments ranging between $50K and $100K each, 50% guaranteed by IM Capital.  “These Masterclasses will run yearly and plant the seeds for a sustainable and growing Lebanese Business Angels Network; the MBA alumni would ultimately form a qualified angel network that will become an important and independent player in the Lebanese entrepreneurial landscape”, explained Dr. Nicolas Rouhana, General Manager of IM Capital.

Testimonials were also given by Ms. Claire Munck, CEO of Be Angels, one of Europe’s most active Business Angels groups, and Mr. Guilhem Porcheron, Partner and Deal Leader at GoBeyond, regarding their experience in angel investing in Europe and related worldwide benchmarks.

The Seeders-MBA initiative is also co-funded by the World Bank through its Early Stage Innovation Financing initiative in Lebanon.

IM Capital is currently in the process of interviewing an on-boarding investors and the MBA is set to start the first week of September.