During their visit to Beirut, Jeremie Pellet, GM of Expertise France, and Rima Le Coguic, Director of Operations at Expertise France, met with 15 of the 30 women entrepreneurs participating in the EU-funded project EU for Women Empowerment EU4WE.
Expertise France selected Berytech, through the European Union funding, to support 30 women-led/owned businesses affected by the Beirut blast. Throughout the ongoing program, the selected participants benefit from capacity-building sessions, group coaching, and financial support in the form of grants.
Promoting Unconditional Equality
This initiative is part of the EU4WE (European Union for Women’s Empowerment) project aiming to promote full and unconditional equality between men and women in Lebanon. Its specific objectives are to reduce gender-based violence through women empowerment and to enhance existing institutional mechanisms working towards gender equality. EU4WE is funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France.
Expertise France has been working with its Lebanese partners for many years for the country’s economic development and to support public policies. In Lebanon, the agency carries out projects in the fields of democratic, economic, and financial governance, stabilization, and sustainable development. The agency provides ongoing support to the authorities, in the context of regional instability and in response to the crisis the country is currently experiencing.
“We are a technical agency, so our job is to structure projects with results that can be achievable. We perfectly know all the difficulties facing the country. As a technical agency, there are many things we have no grasp on, however, what we can do is make sure that we work with people of good will, who also have the will to go ahead to be there when the country gets a chance at a fresh start,” announced Jeremie Pellet in the meeting gathering the women entrepreneurs benefiting from the program.
The women took the chance to present themselves, how the program is supporting them, how the blast impacted their businesses, and how they are facing the continuous challenges in the country, they also provided recommendations for next steps .
The EU4WE Program
The program received more than 200 applications, where only 30 were chosen to participate based on the criteria of the call for proposal, their applications and interviews. In the project’s six months, their needs were assessed, the use of the funds was determined, and the grant is currently being disbursed. Beneficiaries are receiving training on crisis management and coaching to set up goals and strategies to overcome the current situation.
“After the blast, the program was a light at the end of the tunnel. The training and coaching sessions helped us face the different crises that are impacting the country and the operation of our business. Through the coaching sessions, I decided to focus on export and I was able to find interesting leads. I now have a deal for export on the table that I’m ready to explore, but for that I need funding. This is where the grant helped put us on the right track, while I work to get access to the right investor and a bigger market,” said the founder of Orso Bianco, Jocelyne Gemayel Tchopourian.
Supporting Women Entrepreneurs
Berytech has dedicated a track of activities to support women entrepreneurs in overcoming the constraints they face to thrive in entrepreneurship and in maximizing their potential contributions to the Lebanese Economy.
Within this track, Berytech aims to motivate women to launch, grow and succeed in their ventures by creating and partnering on customized programs, competitions, and tracks and identifying successful role models, and influence policies towards the support of women entrepreneurs, especially in the digital sector. The goal of the EU4WE program perfectly aligned with what Berytech aims to support women in business.
“The importance of supporting women entrepreneurs, empowering them to establish themselves in the Lebanese business world and grow in the region has been a key part of our mission for several years and we are proud of it. We are strong believers that despite all the factors working against Lebanon’s progress, it is the diversity and inclusion in our entrepreneurial ecosystem, that has remolded and will continue to remold the Lebanese economy. Today, our primary focus is on the future; we will continue supporting value-added entrepreneurship and women-led businesses as they have positive spillover on the economy. We are proud of our partnership with Expertise France, and of the ambitious, exceptional, and talented women, we were able to support through our joint program. For us, they represent the hope for a better Lebanon,” confirmed Ramy Boujawdeh, Deputy GM of Berytech.
About The Project
The European Union launched the European Union for Women’s Empowerment (EU4WE) project in October 2019. The project aims to promote gender equality in Lebanon. The specific objectives are to reduce gender-based violence through women empowerment and to enhance existing institutional mechanisms working towards gender equality.
The project has been launched at a time when Lebanon is facing a major social, economic and financial crisis, as well as a lockdown and social distancing measures due to the Covid-19. In this specific context, the EU4WE’s project is an excellent opportunity to support Lebanese women and men to become actors of change.
For more info about the EU4WE programme: https://www.instagram.com/eu4we_lebanon/