The Lebanon Export Academy celebrated the graduation of the second and third batches of SMEs from its program during the Agri-Food Innovation Days AFID2023.
The graduates included 50 companies from the agriculture and agri-food sectors of which 54% are women-led, who spent 2 intensive months receiving training and support to acquire export-related knowledge and know-how to foster their export.
The Lebanon Export Academy is implemented by UNIDO and UNDP in partnership with Berytech.
Lebanon Export Academy: A First of Its Kind
The graduation ceremony was held in the presence of Ms. Chantale Akl, Head of the Minister Office and Head of Industrial Parks and Zones Bureau, representing H.E. Mr. George Bouchikian, Minister of Industry, Ms. Zeina Harake, Head of Foreign Trade Department, representing H.E. Mr. Amin Salam, Minister of Economy and Trade, Ms. Gloria Abi Zeid, Director General of the Directorate of cooperatives, representing H.E. Abbas Hajj Hassan, Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Imran Riza, United Nations Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Jamie Schnurr, Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Canada to Lebanon, Mr. Emmanuel Kalenzi, UNIDO Representative to Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, Ms. Melanie Hauenstein, UNDP Resident Representative in Lebanon, and Mr. Maroun Chammas, Berytech CEO.
After welcoming the attendees, Maroun Chammas, Chairman and CEO of Berytech said: “During these very sensitive and difficult times in Lebanon, we proudly launched together with UNIDO and UNDP, the Lebanon Export Academy, part of the Productive Sectors Development Program, a 3-year program funded through the generous contribution of the Government of Canada.
I would like to thank our donors for making the Lebanon Export Academy a success as the first-of-its-kind academy to equip Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Lebanon with the needed know-how to scale up their operations and increase their readiness to export.”
Imran Riza reiterated on behalf of the UN system in Lebanon his deep appreciation to the Canadian embassy in Lebanon for its steady commitment and solidarity with Lebanon and its people and for its generous contribution to the Lebanon Recover Fund through which the UN’s Productive Sectors Development Program (PSDP) saw the light: “Our support must match the scale of the needs and the needs, unfortunately, are overwhelming and even becoming more compelling amid the unfolding economic and financial crises. Accordingly, strengthening and promoting the productive sectors should be prioritized in Lebanon’s economic policy discourse, for this reason, the PSDP holds significant importance and relevance.”
Alexandra Santillana, Senior Development Officer for the Embassy of Canada to Lebanon observed from her interaction with the participants: “Entrepreneurs benefited from the knowledge and skills to export but what is valued the most is the network opportunities that the academy enables kind of a support group in this common journey.”
An Intensive Access to Markets Program
In the Backdrop of a diversified pool of businesses coming from all over Lebanon and with trainees and experts from the industry, the program was able to deliver 9 modules throughout 16 training sessions, through a hybrid modality of training with a focus on all the steps of the export value chain, including market strategy and market entry, export readiness, market research, export marketing strategy, digital marketing, quality requirements, freight and logistics, export pricing and costing, export procedures, and documentation, financing and payment terms.
The Lebanon Export Academy trained 71 SMEs, of which 62% are women-led in acquiring the requirements to access markets, in partnership with the private sector. Their geographic origin was diverse, with 53% coming from the North, 31% from Mount Lebanon, 5% from the South, and 12% in Bekaa.