MEDSt@rts – Med microfinance support system for start-ups

Posted on July 24, 2020

MEDSt@rts intends to support local entrepreneurs by supporting access to credit for people who are usually not eligible and developing an innovative support model that can be easily replicated in different contexts.”

With the support of ENI CBC MED Programme, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Saida and South Lebanon acting as the reference partner for Lebanon launches the Call to select 25 aspiring entrepreneurs who are interested in undertaking a highly innovative entrepreneurial path.

This call for Expression of Interest is within the framework of MEDSt@rts Project and aims to support young and highly motivated people with innovative ideas and early stage companies in developing their businesses.

Berytech is implementing several programs in Lebanon under the ENI CBC Med Programme and has recently signed a networking agreement to support the MEDSt@rts Project and bring you their announcements regularly.

The MEDSt@rts project, funded by the EU under ENICBCMed, contributes to stimulating growth and improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Euro-Med area by facilitating, widening and strengthening access to credit. Given their important contribution to employment and growth, the action of the project is focuses on the support of entrepreneurs, startups and companies in the initial stages of financial access by designing and disseminating a supportive approach to experimentation characterized by a heterogeneous range of interventions, each programmed to close the microfinance circle, playing a leverage role in the stimulate growth.

Specific Objectives

  • To support broaden the finance options available by improving understanding about the full range of financing instruments, by encouraging discussion among stakeholders about new approaches and innovative policies for SME and entrepreneurship financing.
  • Development of complementary business support measures necessary for a developed innovative MSME sector, particularly in the eco-business and social and solidarity-based economy environment: young and women are helped in developing business skills and capabilities

Background & Aims

MEDSt@rts – Med microfinance support system for startups – is a project funded by the European Union’s ENI CBC Med Programme launched in October 2019 which will close in April 2022. The countries involved are: Italy, Greece, Tunisia, Palestine and Lebanon.

From an access to credit point of view, SMEs in the Southern Mediterranean face more credit constraints than their counterparts in medium and high-income economies. Innovative SMEs led by young entrepreneurs are often cut off from external sources of finance, making it extremely difficult for them to start a business. That’s why MEDSt@rts intends to support local entrepreneurs by supporting access to credit for people who are usually not eligible and developing an innovative support model that can be easily replicated in different contexts.

Specifically, the final objective of the project will be to support the creation of 15 companies per target country. The consequent increase in the number of startups in the reference market would not only create new jobs but also increase the volume of new goods and services sold.  

The MEDSt@rts project and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Sidon and South Lebanon acting as the reference partner for Lebanon, launch this Call to select 25 unemployed and aspiring entrepreneurs in Lebanon, interested in undertaking a highly innovative entrepreneurial path.

25 aspiring entrepreneurs with an innovative entrepreneurial idea will be able to perfect and develop it thanks to the support of the MEDSt@rts project. The aspiring entrepreneurs selected will be involved in an entrepreneurial path of training and accompaniment, with the final goal of obtaining financial support for the business idea.

Phases of the project

The best business ideas that are selected, up to 25, will then be engaged in a path of joint orientation linked to the strengthening of entrepreneurial skills and competences which are necessary to define or refine a valid business idea and a successful business path.

The path offered by MEDSt@rts includes the following phases:

Phase 0 Selection of Business Ideas: the best business ideas, up to 25, that will be able to participate to the MEDSt@rts path and to compete for the awarding of the sub-grants, will be selected.

Phase 1 Pre-Treatment: the ideas that were selected will be guided, with the help of experts and project partners, in the following activities:

  • launch and organization of the group – Group setting;
  • active listening to the motivations of aspiring entrepreneurs;
  • identification of skills;
  • analysis of business ideas;
  • business plan draft;
  • support for the first sketch of the business profile by the psychologist and by the organization

Phase 2 Field Training: after having reached a well-defined business idea and having drawn a clear profile of all aspiring entrepreneurs, the preselected participants will be guided along a path peer to peer with the involvement of local authorities, associations, businesses. In particular, voluntary groups (n.1 per target area) will be activated to represent several parties that are involved and 4 meetings will be organized between the pre-selected groups and participants to facilitate the analysis of local demand, the exchange and improvement of the business idea according to market needs.

Intermediate selection: At the end of phase 2 the pre-selected candidates – supported by the partners – will improve, detail and develop the original business idea by developing the business plans which will be further judged by an evaluation committee that consists of a mixed committee of experts and representatives of the partner of reference who will select 15 candidates for the next phase.

Phase 3 Training and Mentoring: 15 candidates will be involved in a training activity which consists of:

  • Joint training program of business incubation, lasts about 60 hours (6h every 10 days) and focuses on a specific business sector representative of each sector;
  • The med web seminars (about 18 hours), available online;
  • mentoring service (50h per candidate): will provide professional consultancy for the target group and will focus on the following: skills training, company orientation, professional contacts or problem solving. Virtual tutoring (videoconference, Internet, e-mail) and face-to-face mentoring support are provided.

The output of Phase 3 will be the design of the definitive Business Plan.

Training Location: In case of face to face training, in order to facilitate the participation of candidates from different Lebanese areas/ mohafazats, the field training activities (phase 2), training and mentoring activities (phase 3) will take place at a convenient central location.

Final selection and funding of business ideas: Those who have successfully completed phase 3, will compete for the assignment of the financial support for their business idea (sub-grant), for an amount not exceeding ten thousand euros (€10,000).

Applicants Profiles

Lead partner/team members or co-applicants need to meet the following requirements:

  • Natural persons resident in Lebanon, unemployed or first-time jobseeker (18-40 years)
  • Legal persons with registered office in Lebanon which have started the entrepreneurial activity for a maximum of 4 years, whose partners or owner (in case of sole proprietorship) have an average age between 18 and 40 years. In the case of a team, a lead partner must be identified to manage the administrative and financial relations with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Sidon and South Lebanon
  • The lead applicant must be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co-applicant(s);
  • The lead applicant must declare that he/she and the co-applicants are not in situations of exclusion in accordance with Article 52.2.vi of the ENI CBC MED Implementing Rules.
  • To ensure equal treatment of applicants, the project partner cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of applicants, co-applicants, or an action.
  • The business idea should cover the following sectors: digital, agri-food, eco-design, craftsmanship, cultural heritage, tourism, Health care, and sanitizing technologies.

 

Where and how to submit applications

  • Applications must be sent in electronic format to medstarts@ccias.org.lb
  • In the event that applicants send more than one application, they must be sent separately.
  • The subject of the e-mail must include the following wording: “Application form and business plan- MEDSt@rts” .
  • Incomplete applications can be rejected.
  • The deadline for submitting applications is Saturday 15th of August 2020 at 12.00 pm

Learn more about complete applications

Requests for clarifications can be sent by e-mail in the last 5 days before the deadline for submitting applications to the following e-mail address medstarts@ccias.org.lb, clearly indicating the reference to the call for proposals.

All requests received will be published on the website: www.ccias.org.lb. We, therefore, recommend that you regularly consult the aforementioned website to be informed of published questions and answers. 

Application Forms and Information 

Read more here: http://www.enicbcmed.eu/medstrts-open-calls-aspiring-entrepreneurs-italy-greece-tunisia-lebanon-and-palestine