The USAID-funded Agriculture and Rural Empowerment (ARE) Activity and Berytech selected five SMEs for its second cycle of the Scaling-up Agri-food Innovations (SAFI) project, addressing the need to equip the agri-business sector and rural communities with the technical and financial resources to generate increased productivity, sales and exports while improving producer income.
The objective of the SAFI project is to increase the private sector competitiveness locally and internationally and improve the livelihoods of vulnerable groups.
Meet the SMEs
These SMEs are offering innovative products and services in agri-food and agriculture that substitute an imported product or have the potential to export and create jobs for vulnerable communities. They currently have access to existing markets and a minimum viable product with high growth potential.
Bites of Delight is a plant-based snack provider where its two founders and licensed dietitians joined forces to make gluten-free and vegan snacks that everyone can enjoy. Bites of Delight is committed to providing a variety of healthy and affordable snacks for people with food intolerances, changing the snacking industry for the better, one box at a time, using 100% natural ingredients.
Del Libano invested in building the first automated pasta factory in Lebanon in 2021, which produces a variety of pasta products using hard (durum) wheat, grown in the Beqaa Valley, Akkar, and South of Lebanon. Del Libano improves the livelihood of its 55+ employees as well as local wheat farmers from whom they purchase the wheat at fair prices. Currently, they offer ten pasta products sold at more than 1500 points of sale across Lebanon.
Dimples provides nutrition services and produces healthy snacks using the dehydration process which retains the food’s original nutritional value. The snacks are healthy yet delicious and have become the natural substitute for sweet, salty or fatty snacks. Their business contributes to the local community by purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers and creating job opportunities for rural housewives to increase their income. Dimples is also cautious about the environment and works to reduce the amount of waste in their business and limit the use of plastic bags.
Hatem Est. has developed an innovative method to pickle and package vine leaves chemical-free using vacuum-sealed bags that extend their shelf life and decrease their storage and transportation volume. A group of twenty farmers within Hatem Est. produce organic table grapes, apricots, plums, peaches and nectarines, apples, and cherries. In addition, they produce other organic agro-industrial products such as dry seedless raisins, dry pitted cherries, frozen grape leaves, organic grapes, apple vinegar, and sour grape concentrate juice. They have their own cold storage and packing facilities and sell their products to local and international markets.
PawPots is an online subscription service offering fresh and natural food for pets. Its mission is to improve the health and lifestyle of pets and offer peace of mind to pet owners by providing fresh healthy diets, along with online services that help pet parents take care of their pets. They contribute to the environment by using high-grade food waste in their recipes.
Benefits of the Program
During the eight-month incubation period, the five SMEs will benefit from business foundation programs, more than 24 hours of tailored one-on-one coaching, facilitated partnerships, and advisory support from the QOOT Cluster. Based on their needs, the selected SMEs will receive up to $25,000 each of in-kind support for further technical assistance, tools, and equipment.
The five companies will benefit from an eight-month roadmap; workshops on market validation, innovation and impact, sustainable business models, and marketing; tailored coaching seasons; and beneficial partnerships.
For more information on the program please visit this page.
About the Agriculture and Rural Empowerment (ARE) Activity
The Lebanon Agriculture and Rural Empowerment (ARE) Activity is a $57 million five-year activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop rural economies in Lebanon through support to the agro-food sector and other industries to unlock local and export sales potential while also creating jobs and increasing farmers’ and worker’s incomes.