While the economic crisis increases day by day in Lebanon, more focus is now centered on production, in a country that depended for a long time on imports. And here comes the importance of the EU-funded BESTMEDGRAPE Project.
Wine and cosmetics do mix!
Cynthia Chaoui, one of the selected entrepreneurs in Lebanon, who studied pharmacy to join the family pharmaceutical distribution business, is very enthusiastic about cosmetics, and this pushed her to specialize in this field.
Her brother introduced her to BESTMEDGRAPE, after he discovered it while he was participating in another program with Berytech. And “since we had already discussed grape seed oil extraction, he thought that I could be interested in the program”, she said.
Cynthia added: “While studying, I discovered the importance of wine production waste and how it can be valorized. Since we are also involved in the wine business, I thought that we had a good opportunity with BESTMEDGRAPE to combine our knowledge in wine and cosmetics”.
Production from A to Z
“Lebanon is passing through a very difficult period. The political, social, economic crisis in which we are embedded. The local production is becoming crucial as imports are slowed down by the devaluation of the local currency” Cynthia explained, and she continued: “Some companies have already engaged in cosmetics production in Lebanon but rely heavily on imports of raw materials. Being owners of a winery gives us access to the grape waste, not using it would be a lost opportunity”.
From import to export…
In her opinion, BESTMEDGRAPE project is divided into two modules. “The first part will help me develop my managerial skills and teach me how to become an entrepreneur. The second part will develop my basic knowledge in the valorization of wine production waste” Cynthia said. And she considered meeting people in the same field is crucial to create synergies wherever we stand in the supply chain.
On her interest in a cross-border company, she commented: “In principle yes. I should wait until the end of the program to figure out what cooperation could be established with entrepreneurs from other countries. I am sure many could bring different things on the table whether ideas, procedures, cost advantages”. Adding to that, Cynthia aims at mixing between export and local market, she explained: “the purchasing power of the Lebanese has tumbled due to the devaluation, focusing on the local market only would be very risky and would increase the cost of the products as the whole income would be in Lebanese pounds. A good mix between export and the local market would help us keep the prices more reasonable while expanding abroad and therefore helping our country in the difficult phase we are going through”.
A lot like Cynthia are working hard to contribute to their country’s economic growth, and BESTMEDGRAPE will help them to succeed.
Berytech is an implementing partner in Lebanon of the New Business opportunities & Environmental sustainability using MED GRAPE nanotechnological products – BESTMEDGRAPE project, under Thematic Objective A.2 – Support to education, research, technological development and innovation. Learn more.
The Project in Numbers
- Duration: 36 months
- Start date: 01 September 2019 – End date: 31 August 2022
- € 3.3 million Total budget, € 2.6 million EU contribution, 20% Project co-financing
- Main source of funding: European Union (ENI CBC Med Programme)