Farah Social Foundation (FSF) is a well-established non-governmental organization founded in 1988 in Lebanon. FSF focuses on rural areas, working closely with the local community, stakeholders, and leaders to improve the lives of youth, women, and people with disabilities. With 18 full-time employees and centers in Beirut and Chouf districts, FSF conducts annual needs assessments, offers entrepreneurship programs, and provides micro-finance support through Al Tamkeen. The organization’s core values include responsibility, integrity, inspiration, inclusivity, and learning, guiding its actions and decisions since its inception after the Lebanese civil war.
FSF is one of the five business support organizations that Berytech has partnered with for the Partner Growth program. With each one located in a different Lebanese region, Berytech aims to empower them to catalyze entrepreneurship across the Lebanese ecosystem. Learn more about FSF in this interview.
Q: What kind of programs are you running, and who benefits from them?
A: FSF is running around 11 funded projects under different sectors: two in humanitarian aid, six in Women and Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, two in agriculture and rural development, and one in health.
Q: What sets your organization apart from other organizations in your industry?
A: FSF is a grassroots organization dedicated to addressing the specific needs of local communities, with a strong focus on youth, women, and individuals with special needs. Each year, FSF’s field teams carry out a comprehensive needs assessment to identify the unique challenges and gaps within these communities. These findings form the basis for FSF’s strategic planning, program development, and activities. Furthermore, FSF benefits from the assistance of 100 dedicated volunteers stationed throughout Lebanon, who actively contribute to the implementation of programs and initiatives.
Q: Can you share some of the key milestones or achievements your organization has reached over the years?
A: FSF has achieved significant milestones, including the training of 100 vulnerable youth in the Beirut area and providing entrepreneurship training to 220 vulnerable women across Lebanon. Moreover, FSF has played a pivotal role in assisting 100 rural women in launching their small businesses and supporting 30 startups in validating their business ideas both technically and financially. In addition, FSF’s impactful mentorship programs have benefitted 110 entrepreneurs through various projects, contributing to the growth and success of these individuals and their ventures.
Q: What has been the impact of the partnership with Berytech on your organization so far, and how do you see this impacting your entrepreneurs?
A: The collaboration with Berytech has been instrumental in strengthening the capabilities of the FSF team in multiple dimensions. Primarily, it has facilitated capacity building, enriching the team’s expertise and competence in the administration of entrepreneurship programs. Additionally, this partnership has broadened FSF’s network of experts and consultants, paving the way for enhanced support to entrepreneurs and youth. FSF is now well-prepared not only to efficiently manage entrepreneurship initiatives but also to provide comprehensive training and mentorship to a wide array of startups, further strengthening their impact.
Q: Can you share a major challenge your organization faced and how you were able to overcome it?
A: A persistent challenge frequently faced by FSF revolves around securing sufficient funding for its projects. The constraint of limited financial resources can impede the execution and scaling of programs, as well as hinder FSF’s pursuit of its overarching goals, mission, and vision. FSF is actively addressing this challenge by formulating a sustainable revenue model aimed at covering operational costs, particularly for programs like the community kitchen and eco-briquette workshop. Furthermore, FSF is dedicated to forging strategic partnerships with donors and stakeholders to guarantee the ongoing sustainability of its projects, ensuring their lasting impact in the communities they serve.
Q: What is your organization’s growth plan for the next 5 years?
A: FSF’s primary goal is to provide extensive support to youth, women, and individuals with special needs by creating income-generating opportunities. The overarching objective is to empower these groups with sustainable livelihoods while paving the way for others to prosper as well. FSF accomplishes this by promoting the importance of entrepreneurship and cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset, whether through early education or on-the-job training, among young individuals and women.
About Partner Growth
Berytech has created the Partner Growth Program under the ACT Smart Innovation Hub Initiative to enable five Support Organizations in different Lebanese regions, for three consecutive years, to source entrepreneurs with innovative solutions in the agrifood and clean technology sectors, assist them in ideating and validating their solutions through the IdeaLab Program, and initiate them to apply and join the Agrytech or Clyntech Accelerators and grow their businesses.