Eighteen Women Grow Their Businesses Through the Support to Women Economic Participation

Posted on December 8, 2021

Each of the 18 participating businesses has a unique value proposition and an equally interesting background story to go with it.”

Within the framework of UNDP’s support to women economic participation, and through funds from the Government of Canada, Berytech is leading on the capacity building of 18 women-led SMEs and startups. This initiative is implemented in North and Mount Lebanon by a consortium of organizations led by René Moawad Foundation.

Women in Lebanon face gender-based structural barriers hindering their empowerment and disadvantaging them in comparison to men in both the public and private domains. In 2018, Lebanon had one of the highest overall gender gaps in the world ranking 140 out of 149 countries and ranked at the bottom (136th) of the Economic Opportunity and Participation sub-index.

The initiative contributes to the economic empowerment of women in Lebanon by improving the conditions for women’s integration, development, and economic empowerment within key value chains, in addition to building the capacity of municipalities and economic development agencies to support women’s economic participation.

It aims to increase local awareness and support to women’s rights, notably economic empowerment and right to decent work, to boost local recognition of women’s role in non-traditional economic development, and to foster competencies of local women, individuals, and groups, to access the market based on competitiveness and innovation in Agricultural value chains, in addition to handcrafts, renewable energy, and information and communication technology (ICT).

Selected SMEs and Startups

Berytech received more than 50 applicants to the program, selecting 18 to receive an intensive training program in business, law, marketing, human resources, finance, communication, and leadership, in addition to on-the-job coaching and mentoring, linkage with relevant markets, and in-kind grants.

Each of the 18 participating businesses has a unique value proposition and an equally interesting background story to go with it:

Batloun Handcrafts | Handcrafts | Mount Lebanon

Founded by their mother almost 40 years ago, Aida Chami and her sister’s handcrafts include dentelle, embroidery, crochet, wool, etc. They create unique objects with the help of a network of skilled women in their village Batloun and surrounding villages.

Architecture in a Box | ICT | North Lebanon

Architecture in a box is an EdTech business, it’s a psychological game for kids and teenagers. With this business Aseel Honein wants children to learn about cities and architecture while having fun.

Black Velvet | Handcrafts | North Lebanon

Black velvet started as a side job for Beauty Tohme, a university student, to pay her tuitions fees. She set up an online shop to sell jewelry accessories shipped from Korea, India, and Singapore. As she’s invested in marketing, sales, and logistics, Beauty was able to turn her passion into a lucrative business. Beauty is now working on producing locally using available raw materials.

Teabah | Agriculture | Mount Lebanon

Teabah is a tea product planted and cultivated in Lebanon engaging farmers and women in the rural area of Shouf in the production process. The startup founded by Boushra Hasssanieh uses local plants and herbs that they grow, cultivate, wash, dry, and infuse together into delicious green tea flavors.

Carine’s Art | Handcrafts | Mount Lebanon

Carine Abu Hanna creates setups and chocolate decorations for events such as engagements, weddings, and baby showers. It started with her own wedding and after that, her business grew quickly from word-to-mouth as she was highly recommended in her region.

C Design | Handcrafts | North Lebanon

Claudia Raad started doing Christmas decorations for her use with her fiancé, eventually turning it into a business. They create designs for all occasions using laser cut and 3D printers, sublimation, wood designs, Christmas tree decorations, Valentine gifts, 3D Printed Designs, mugs, t-shirts, puzzles, chocolate designs, and kitchen gadgets. 

Mantoujetna | Agriculture/Dairy | North Lebanon

Daniella Tannous is both motivated and committed to growing her dairy business, developing new dairy products, and reaching new markets. Launched 3 years ago, Mantoujetna offers home-made dairy products such as labneh, cheese, chanklish, laban, and many more. The company offers its clients trusted, natural products introducing some flavors into its offering such as pesto-labneh, etc.

Little Reed | Agriculture | Mount Lebanon

Elissa Zeidane is behind Little Reed, a welcoming space that sits on a picturesque stretch of land, just a few miles from Beirut. It is an ideal destination for those seeking the meditative and the regenerative; it draws inspiration from the true sources of being, reconnecting us with the traditional, the spiritual, the ancestral, and the human. Elissa uses her family’s recipes and leverages Qsaibe’s finest cooks to offer a completely unique experience.

Wood Art | Handcrafts | North Lebanon

Ghinwa Daher and Rafca Daoud started to work together in 2013. Their partnership is based on a clear division of tasks and responsibilities according to their skills and abilities, Ghinwa is the artist and Rafca is the business manager. They design and manufacture handmade wooden decorations, different kinds of frames, souvenirs, and trophies, all made with sapwood branches.

GREYBELL | ICT | North Lebanon

GREYBELL co-founded by Jeanette Tawk offers value-driven monitoring tools, bespoke solutions, and state-of-the-art services that solve a broad range of ICT challenges. The company was built by telecom and system engineers who know what it takes to manage today’s dynamic telecom environments.

Cranium | ICT | Mount Lebanon

CRANIUM was founded by Joelle Bechara, it is an educational platform that exposes young people to STEAM activities using Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics as access points in guiding inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking through fun learning experiences.

HOSCO Agri | Agriculture | Mount Lebanon

Hosco Agri’s was founded by Michella Nehme, its main activities rely on recycling beeswax, producing honey and other bee products, and supporting beekeepers by advising them on the good beekeeping practices to produce high-quality bee products.

Qasaed | Handcrafts | Mount Lebanon

Writer Ola Shami is turning poems into jewelry. She creates a very unique product by writing poems on gold and gold-plated jewelry for men, women, and kids.

Zgharta Soap | Handcrafts | North Lebanon

Ray Ann Daher and Christelle Salameh are renovating a traditional olive oil press factory to manufacture soap from their olive orchards. They plan to employ women from their village, Zgharta, to develop their products.

Jardins D’EDEN | Handcrafts | North Lebanon

Jardins D’EDEN founded by Rima Nazer creates soap and cosmetics that are 100% natural and EU Certified. Starting in London in 2017, they produce from their factory in Tripoli, helping women get trained and work in the soap production business. 

Apple Natura | Agriculture | Mount Lebanon

Roula and Ziad Ghanem used the apples from their orchard in Lehfed to create an apple and pear puree packaged in 140g jars. The product received a lot of attention as mothers bought it as a healthy snack for their babies and their kids. The business is now growing and managing to secure more points of sales to sell their products. The company first started as Apple Natura and has rebranded to Natura Spoon as it aims to offer several flavors down the line.

Moon Essence | Agriculture | Mount Lebanon

Moon Essence is a soap business created by Sereen and Tamara Bou Zein Eldeen named after the moon that lights in the darkness and stresses on Essence because of the smell of the ‘baladi’ locally-provided products.

Queen Bee | Agriculture | North Lebanon

Queen Bee is a beekeeping business that started when Therese Nehme and her daughter bought three beehives last year. They plan to expand it by buying more beehives and employing more women in the village to help them.


About the Initiative

With funding from the Government of Canada, UNDP is supporting women’s economic participation in Lebanon. This initiative is implemented in partnership with two separate consortiums comprising seven organizations in four governorates. The North and Mount Lebanon consortium is led by the Rene Moawad Foundation (RMF) in partnership with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), Berytech Foundation, and Atayeb El Rif Association. The South and the Bekaa consortium is led by the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) in partnership with DOT, ABAAD Resource Centre for Gender Equality, and the American University of Beirut’s Environmental and Sustainable Development Unit (AUB-ESDU).