Lebanon ranks second in MENA region on scale-up readiness index. 

Scale-ups generate on average 3.4 times more revenues and 8 times more jobs than SMEs. 

Scale-ups represent on average 5 percent of SMEs in a given country, and tend to be more productive and innovative when compared to SMEs.

Scale-ups are SMEs with a proven business model that are poised for exponential growth and economic stimulation. Strategy&, part of the PwC network and Endeavor Lebanon hosted influential guests and speakers on Friday, April 12, at Le Grand Serail, to discuss the benefits and challenges of scaling up small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Lebanon. 

In a recent joint study entitled ‘Scaling up MENA SMEs: How a handful of firms can fast forward economic growth’, Strategy& and Endeavor found that scale-ups generate on average 3.4 times more revenues and 8 times more jobs than SMEs. They represent on average 5 percent of SMEs in a given country, and tend to be more productive and innovative when compared to SMEs. To further gauge the type of support needed by scale-ups to grow further, a ‘Scale-ups readiness index’ was created to assesses the maturity of the scale-ups ecosystems across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt based on four key growth pillars: business fundamentals, business propellers, demand creators and country readiness. The index shows that Lebanon ranks second in the MENA region.  

According to Mahmoud Makki, partner with Strategy& Middle East, “Lebanon provides affordable facilities, funding opportunities channeled by Venture Capital funds and the Central Bank, and a skilled talent pool. Yet our study shows that there are several challenges facing Lebanon’s SMEs, including access to domestic and global customers, the non-conducive regulatory framework, in addition to brain drain”.

Christina Chehade, Managing Director of Endeavor Lebanon reiterated the non-profit’s objective: “Efforts at Endeavor are centered on supporting scale-ups in Lebanon to overcome these common challenges and provide the right support for scale-ups to embark on a faster growth trajectory”.

A panel discussion also shed light on the challenges that exist, in addition to the support required for the entrepreneurial sphere to achieve further growth. The panel featured distinguished speakers from key ecosystem players, including Elie Habib, Co-Founder of Anghami, Fadi Bizri, Partner at B&Y Venture Partners, Maroun Chammas, Chairman and CEO of Berytech and Yasmina El Khoury Raphael, Head of Business Environment and Innovation at the Lebanese Prime Minister’s office. 

“We remain dedicated to improving the business environment and in particular to further enabling scale-ups to exponentially grow and positively affect our economy” confirmed Ms. Raphael. 

To read the full study, visit: ‘Scaling up MENA SMEs: How a handful of firms can fast forward economic growth’