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USAID and Berytech Launch a New $15M Investment Fund under MENA Investment Initiative

Beirut, April 2, 2015 — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Berytech announced today the official launch of “Insure & Match Capital” (IM Capital), in the presence of U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East, Mona Yacoubian, USAID Lebanon Mission Director, Carolyn Bryan,  and Berytech President,
Mr. Maroun Chammas.  This initiative falls under the Middle-East and North Africa Investment Initiative (MENA-II) funded by USAID, to help alleviate the region’s high unemployment rates, contribute to job creation, and ensure sustainable social development and economic growth.

The launch event was attended by Lebanese government representatives, entrepreneurs, investors, bank directors, private sector and NGO representatives, university Rectors and Deans, chamber of commerce members, incubator managers, and entrepreneurship ecosystem stakeholders.

Berytech Foundation, member of the Berytech Group of Business Innovation & Incubation Centers and Venture Capital Funds for local startup companies, was awarded the local management of the program as Grantee.  IM Capital, a newly established Holding and a fully-owned subsidiary of Berytech Foundation, will direct investment initiatives up to $15 million over a five-year period into three investment support components: Matching Capital, Equity Guarantee, and Technical Assistance.

Opening the ceremony, Mr. Maroun Chammas, President of Berytech Foundation said: “Despite the tremendous efforts deployed in recent years, there still is a shortage for entrepreneurs in Lebanon of key ingredients they need to start their businesses – seed finance, business skills and market connections – due to a lack of collateral, track record and experience.” Mr. Chammas also added: “As a result, Lebanon misses out on a major engine of job creation and sustainable growth. Berytech has been a national reference for startup and SME support in Lebanon for more than ten years; this collaboration with USAID will allow us to further expand and boost our support initiatives, and complements perfectly the latest Banque du Liban Circular 331 initiative and the Kafalat new iSME program.”

“The United States is pleased to support entrepreneurship and business start-ups in Lebanon,” said Ambassador Hale. “Through this initiative, we will provide more business and employment opportunities for young people in Lebanon, allowing them to stay and make a difference in their country.”

“MENA II will help facilitate early-stage fundraising as well as leverage the existing investors and funds; the equity guarantee scheme is an innovation in this space in Lebanon”, said IM Capital Director Nicolas Rouhana. “We will rely heavily on the various eco-system players to partner with us. The program will also help provide more than funding opportunities and will include capacity building initiatives, mentoring, business networks development and more as companies grow and create even more jobs and economic activity,” Rouhana added.

For more info, visit http://www.im-capital.com

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About Berytech:
Berytech was created in 2002 to provide a conductive environment for the creation and development of Lebanese startups and SMEs, through incubation, business support, counseling, funding, networking and company hosting.  It is an active stakeholder in the economic revival of the country, participating in wealth and job creation, and retaining graduates and high-level skills in Lebanon. (www.berytech.org)