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Lebanon - Support for Very Small Enterprises (VSE) in the Northern region

Project leader

Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement (IECD)

Location Liban, région Nord
Duration 2018 - 2020
Intervention Area Socio-economic inclusion
Funding 250 000,00 €


The civil war in Syria has had a massive impact on the Lebanese economy and employment. The Syrian economy, which has traditionally been a major outlet for the Lebanese economy, has contracted sharply, and trade flows have collapsed. Moreover, revenue from tourism has dried up since the outbreak of the conflict, particularly with regard to the influx of visitors from the Gulf. The growth of the Lebanese economy has fallen from 10% in 2011 to 1% in 2016, and the unemployment rate among the Lebanese has risen from 11% to 33%.

This project is targeted at northern Lebanon, a traditionally disadvantaged region. It is characterised by a high percentage of the population who lives below the poverty line (45% below the poverty line and 28% below the absolute poverty line) and an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average. The presence of 280,000 Syrian refugees has further aggravated tensions with regard to employment and infrastructure (electricity, water and transport), which is structurally deficient.

In Northern Lebanon, most very small entrepreneurs lack management skills and do not have sufficient knowledge to implement business strategies or effective management. They therefore have difficulty in making their activity sustainable and sometimes have to close their business.

The aim of this project is to help improve the socio-economic situation in Northern Lebanon by supporting very small enterprises. It is part of the Lebanese Government's commitment to invest in several areas that can provide a solid basis for sustainable economic growth.

This project falls within the framework of SDG 8 "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all" and, in particular, Target 8.3 "Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalisation and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services". 

Project owner

European Institute of Cooperation and Development (IECD).

Overall objective

Promote local socio-economic development by structuring and revitalising the VSE sector in Northern Lebanon.

Specific objectives

  • Provide basic knowledge and skills to small entrepreneurs in Northern Lebanon by offering training and support services that are adapted to very small enterprises
  • Develop the entrepreneurial fabric by offering networking and skill-building services 


Direct beneficiaries:
300 small entrepreneurs.

Indirect beneficiaries:
1,100 employees and apprentices, both paid and unpaid, of entrepreneurs and dependants.


Anticipated outcomes

  • 300 small entrepreneurs trained and supported in understanding the basics of business management
  • Entrepreneurs' Clubs offer 90 small entrepreneurs the means to develop their activity