The Lebanon Export Academy: Export Readiness with Dedicated Expert Trainers

Posted on June 28, 2022

The academy offers 11 modules addressing different barriers that Lebanese businesses are facing when exporting.”

The Lebanon Export Academy has onboarded the first batch of 21 companies from the agriculture and agri-food sectors, of which over 80% are women-led, offering them a well-rounded programme in export readiness tools with top notch experts in multiple relevant fields.  

The Lebanon Export Academy is the first of its kind dedicated to equipping Lebanese businesses with the needed skills to sustain their operations, through accessing new markets, and expanding globally. It is implemented by UNIDO and UNDP in partnership with Berytech, as part of the Productive Sectors Development Programme (PSDP), a 3-year programme, generously funded by the Government of Canada.

Training Modules

The academy offers 11 modules addressing different barriers that Lebanese businesses are facing when exporting.  Businesses can subscribe to the 11 modules package or select specific ones based on their needs, leveraging flexible modalities of training delivery including on-line, in person and self-paced courses.

The 11 training modules include:

Export Readiness & Introduction to the Export Plan

This module will help determine the extent to which a company is ready to embark on an export journey, as well as its ability to engage in overseas markets. The module will also include an assessment tool that highlights the key areas required by companies to start or improve their export performance.

Market Intelligence

This module covers the wide range of market research tools available for any company considering entering the export arena.  It will help businesses identify the countries with the highest export potential for their product/service and develop the appropriate market entry strategy.

Export Pricing & Costs

This module focuses on the various pricing methods that will support businesses in determining the most optimal price structure to maximize profits and revenues.

Trade Agreements

This module goes in details into the various trade agreements that Lebanon has signed over the years. These Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have ensured preferential market access to Lebanese exports in external markets through a series of exemptions on customs duties.  

Quality Requirements & Standards

This module ensures that exported products meet all the local and international quality requirements to enter a certain country.

Export Procedures and Documentation

This module explains the detailed export procedures and documentation needed along with the different steps of the export process to avoid delays, financial loss or penalties.

Freight and Export Logistics

This module describes the transportation, shipping and export logistics while taking a deeper dive into the technicalities of packing. The module will emphasize the importance of Incoterms and its relevance to today’s export process.   

Export Financing & Methods of Payment

This module highlights the importance of developing a proper financing scheme to reach and maintain the targeted growth levels. Understanding the different types of financing and methods of payment will help businesses make the right decision to meet their financial needs.   

Export Marketing & Finding Buyers

This module sheds light on how to develop an export marketing strategy and generate sales leads.

Digital Marketing & eCommerce

This module focuses on the importance of digital marketing & eCommerce as new tools for businesses to reach their export target. 

Export Plan

This module describes the export strategy which summarizes all the previous modules as the components of the plan.

Meet The Trainers

The Lebanon Export Academy has recruited 21 trainers with multiple backgrounds to offer their vast experience to the participants of the academy. The trainers are:

Maurice Mouawad – He is a top-tier business leader with excellent strategic experience in business and project management at a global level, cutting across business verticals. He brings in a wealth of experience at different levels in the private sector, strategizing on digital transformation and helping develop policies on the subject.

Yusr Sabra – She established Wakilni, a smart logistics solution focused on e-commerce SMEs – in 2016. Today Wakilni is one of the fastest-growing last-mile service providers covering all of Lebanon and expanding into the region. She’s also the current elected president of the Lebanese League for Women in Business.

Elias Mefleh – He is a second generation custom clearance broker since 2009 and a managing partner of Freight Solutions Sal since 2017, that is mainly working in clearance and freight forwarding of Agri-Food products.

Hill Skaff Semaan – She is a food production and business development professional with more than 15 years of experience working with development projects, food exporters, and processors in Lebanon, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Tunisia, and Egypt. She has provided direct technical assistance to various value chain actors to upgrade and implement their activities and ensure they meet the appropriate targets.

Rasha Hteit – She is a senior food safety expert with more than 15 years of experience in the Food Safety and Public Health fields which include developing and implementing all types of food safety and quality management systems in addition to assisting, auditing, and training different food industry sectors.

Elissar Hajj Zarwi – She is the managing Director of Comma Hub, a boutique communications and marketing agency, with more than 25 years of experience in developing strategic integrated marketing communications for leading private and public sector institutions in the Middle East and internationally.

Dr. Hussein Hassan – He is a graduate of AUB and McGill University and an associate professor of Food Science and Technology. He is also the director of Academic Compliance at LAU. Dr. Hassan is a senior expert in UN agencies, Lebanese ministries, and USAID, among others in the areas of food processing, safety, and waste.

Mohammad Makki – He has an M.A. in Financial Economics from the American University of Beirut (AUB) and is completing his Ph.D. at Université St. Joseph in Sustainable Development and Policy. Mohammad is a lecturer in Economics, a Business Coach, and a Financial Consultant.

Hassan Zarzour – He is a customs officer and training expert working with the Lebanese Customs Administration. He is also a Co-trainer for the WCO/UNODC Container Control Programme.

Hassan Makke – He has been an Inspector at the Lebanese Customs Administration for seventeen years and has been working at the Port of Beirut since 2014. He is also a Co-trainer within the joint WCO/UNODC CCP programme in addition to being a member of their Port Control Unit.

Antonio Khabbaz – He is the founder of ACE Faction and is an instructor at AUB, USEK, and Sagesse University. He’s also an approved Instructor of the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance in the standardized curriculum complying with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act rule.

Rima Saad Azar – She is the General manager of Sea Sky Services sarl and UK Ltd. She has more than 25 years of experience in shipping, logistics, and supply chain management. She was an elected board member in the Lebanese Forwarder’s syndicate for 3 years and is recognized for her problem-solving skills, strategic planning, and support for NGOs and social enterprises.

Joe Azar – He is a licensed customs broker with more than 35 years of experience in customs clearing, logistics, cargo insurance, and export compliance. He is also an accredited IATA agent. His main goal since the beginning of the Lebanese crisis in 2020 is to assist Lebanese businesses in their journey to export their products.

Fidele el Achkar – She is an entrepreneur and an expert in the Lebanese and regional agri-food industry focused on food technology, quality assurance, R&D, inspections & audits, project management, export compliance, and standardization.

Ziad Holaihel – He is a senior Business Development Consultant with extensive experience in designing strategies, coordinating projects, and enhancing business and organizational performance. He worked for regional and multinational companies and developed markets in over 15 Middle Eastern, African, and Eastern European countries.

Joseph Nehme – He is an experienced sales and export professional having spent 20+ years in FMCG, with solid managerial experience in both distribution and supply roles. He is an expert in sales management, negotiation, P&L, market expansion, business development, and team leadership.

Zeina Nakat – She is a seasoned food scientist and nutritionist, with a strong expertise in food safety and quality, auditing and certification, agro-food processing and consulting, labeling and export compliance as well as training and capacity building.

Wael Nuweihed – He is an assistant professor of marketing and innovation at the Lebanese American University. With more than 20 years of corporate experience covering the Levant, Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, and CIS markets, Wael offers several consultations, seminars, and workshops on business strategy, brand building, innovation management, and design thinking.

Dana Abou Chakra – She has 10 years of professional experience and technical knowledge in business innovation, e-commerce, and digital marketing in Canada and the Middle East. Dana has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs supporting them along with their business milestones. She also has technical and operational experience as an innovation advisor, business mentor, and Lean Methodology trainer.

Zakie Karam– She is the co-founder and the general manager of DON TELECOM, a company specializing in IT and Telecom solutions who has worked with international organizations and companies in mentorship and consultancy.

Joumana Aoun – She is a business growth specialist advisor and executive coach dedicated to helping small and medium enterprises meet their growth objectives and a pre-qualified consultant and coach with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


About the Lebanon Export Academy

Lebanon Export Academy is the first export training center and online academy dedicated to equipping Lebanese businesses with the needed skills to sustain their operations, enter new markets, and expand globally. Lebanon Export Academy is implemented by UNIDO and UNDP under the joint UN – Productive Sectors Development Program (PSDP), that aims to support gender-responsive job creation and economic opportunities in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, prioritizing women and female youth in disadvantaged areas.