Since the early times of Lebanese, Lebanon was the hub of business In the Middle east region. The country was recognized for its marketing skills and its literate residents. Before the 1970s, the per capita income of Lebanon was comparable to Southern Europe. This development brought sophisticated consumers into a country, especially in and around Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.
Twenty years of civil war destroyed the foundation of Lebanon and broke its GNP output by half. After the war settled in 1991, Lebanon’s primary source of revenue was tourism and trading. As a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Lebanon was perceived as the safe area for the Arabs because of its banking privacy and was no longer in the battle zone.
The economy of Lebanese significantly grew after the 2006’s war, with an average growth of 9.1% between 2007 and 2010. After the year 2011, the local market was influenced by the Syrian civil war, by an average early increase of 1.7% in the 2011–2016 period and by 1.5% in 2017. In 2018, the estimated size of the GDP was to be $54.1 billion. In terms of the ratio of debt-to-GDP, Lebanon is considered the third-highest indebted country in the world.
Lebanese entrepreneurs have a different kind of motivational spirit set than other developed economies that have experienced socioeconomic disturbance.
Lebanon outlines both unique chances and challenges to large and small enterprises. There are many creating possibilities to work with Lebanese entrepreneurs both at home and overseas.
Tips for New Lebanese Entrepreneurs
Since the Lebanese economy is strengthening, the country needs more emerging entrepreneurs to show their support. But there are various basic issues among many Lebanese entrepreneurs, especially those struggling on their initial venture. Here, we share some useful tips for the new entrepreneurs to look after these issues and rock on their field.
1. Do Not Complain About the Lack of Support
Few things are the pillars of Lebanese culture, and complaining is one of them.
It is often noticed that Lebanese entrepreneurs complain about the lack of help, the lack of investors, and the lack of support.
Lebanon, unlike its size, possesses too many opportunities. There is lots of early-stage help from accelerators, competitions, networking opportunities, incubators, and workshops, many of which arrive at no cost to the entrepreneur.
If you think there is insufficient support in Lebanon, I will definitely say you have not completed your work.
2. Do Not Ignore Regional and International Possibilities
Do not restrict your hunt for support to Lebanon only. Explore abroad.
There are many resources available in Lebanon; also, there are lots of regional and international possibilities for which Lebanese entrepreneurs are good. Of course, you will require an extremely competitive and innovative business to get help at a regional or international level; you have to work hard for that.
3. Do Not Mix Media Recognition for Success
Media recognition is like a drug. It gives you a deceptive hype for a little while until you find out that it harms you even than good.
According to our analysis, so many Lebanese startups who took media hype on their heads no longer exist.
Media outlets are always in a hunt for stories, and they usually consider the story more important than the real product. And in Lebanon, it is effortless to get media recognition as opposed to other competing markets. The main problem with this is that it shows the entrepreneur a misleading feeling of success, which often ends in following fame opportunities rather than growing their business.
This publicity is early in many cases, mostly when an entrepreneur spends time on a media appearance to speak about a product/service that people cannot use yet. So, the tip for you is, do not agree to every appearance opportunity of media. It is essential to study well before appearing in public. Also, speak in the media only when you are sure your potential customers will buy the product, download the app, etc.
4. Do Not Worry Much About Someone STEALING Your Idea
Even the most well-known companies with all of their legal resources cannot secure their ideas, for instance, Apple vs. Samsung, or you can take an example of Instagram VS Snapchat. Whether your idea is copyrighted or not. And keep in your understanding, almost all flourishing businesses today were not the original to do what they are doing. It is not the idea that does a successful business; it is implementing a good plan, a good market strategy, the successful accomplishment, and most importantly, supportive and understanding the team behind it. And it is always believed that if someone can steal your idea and form a better business than you, then their good planning and creativity are always behind carrying that “idea.”
5. Do not limit yourself
Lebanon is a small market, and very few businesses can succeed in this size of the market. If you aim to make a few thousand dollars a month, then, by all means, it is a profitable business that meets a fair need can accomplish that. If your goals are any more significant than that, you will require to think regional or international markets. If you want to stay local, then think of businesses with have a high rate of repeat purchasing this is the reason why the food business is the most profitable in Lebanon. Stay away from those businesses that restrict your activities with the customers
9 Lebanese Entrepreneurs Making Their Name All Around the World
The following are some famous Lebanese entrepreneurs who are excelling in their fields and trying to present the right image of Lebanon.
1. Brahms Chouity
Brahms Chouity is a Lebanese entrepreneur who has contributed his two decades forming companies in various fields varying from gaming to online publishing, luxury lifestyle management, hospitality investment to interior decoration, and private shopping to motorsports.
In 1978, Brahms was born in Beirut but lived most of his childhood in different countries like Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Lebanon. In 2003, after receiving his degree in International Business and Hotel Management from the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne University, he started his first company in 2005, Trait d’union, which was a hospitality investment consulting company that secured large projects all across the Gulf countries. It was an all-in-one shop for investors who wanted to enter the business of the hotel. He specialized in feasibility studies, space layout studies, concept consulting, architecture & interior design.
In 2006, he started up the Near East franchise of Quintessentially, which was the leading exclusive lifestyle management company of the world that caters to over 500,000 VIPs globally. Then in 2007, Brahms moved to Saudia Arabia to co-found the SSG, Saudi Sports Group, then in Basel in 2010, for the Boutique Investment Fund and then moved to the tech world in 2011, establishing at7addak.com, which grew the “biggest user-generated gaming entertainment website in the Arab world” with above 3 million Arab users.
In 2014, after also starting other tech platforms such as techtik.com and sor3a.com, he established and co-developed the first bid-to-auction website of the Arab world. Brrahm also founded BidZeed, to gamify the shopping experience, which he then sold in 2016.
With over 30 startups under his name, Brahms launched his personal food blog by the name of DaddyFoody. You can check the link of his Instagram here. He is now a brand ambassador for many international and local brands, and he is recognized as the leading food & lifestyle blogger of Lebanon. Brahms is a TEDx spokesman of 2 times and has accomplished various accolades during his professions, such as Endeavor’s High Impact Entrepreneur in 2012, Wamda’s Best Readers’ Choice Startup, also in 2012 and in 2013, he recognized among one of the Top 20 Lebanese Entrepreneurs by Executive Magazine and received Best Comfort Food Blogger at the World Bloggers Award in 2019.
2. Youssef Fares
Youssef Fares is a well-known Lebanese neurosurgeon and a prominent name in the academic and healthcare field. At the Lebanese University Faculty of Medicine, he is a Professor and the Associate Dean, where he works as the founding director of the Neuroscience Research Center. Fares is also the dynamic CEO and Chairman of Al-Zahraa Hospital University Medical Center. He works as the founding president of the Lebanese Association of Spine Surgery and also the World Academy of Medical Sciences’ Senior Executive Vice President. Furthermore, he works as an editor for the best neurosurgical journal Surgical Neurology International. In March 2020, Fares was selected into the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
3. Hind Hobeika
Hind Hobeika is a passionate individual in engineering, swimming, running, yogi, and all things related to tech. She is an enthusiast self-tracking engineer who understands biological parameters are the interesting input for technological systems. She is the founder of the very famous Instabeat. InstaBeat is a head-mounted swimming tracker device that enables the user to get knowledge about their heart-beat and lap times. The device can be attached to different kinds of swimming goggles. Through this way, InstaBeat goggles improve the training routine of swimmers and give them information about their swimming performance in real-time without the requirement to leave the water. Through USB, the calculated data can be uploaded. Through the mentioned online application of the InstaBeatConnect, the user can analyze the date and their performance can save them, and can also analyze them to earlier recorded assemblies. The company won several awards. In 2010 the company obtained 3rd position in the Star of Science competition with a prototype device called Butterfleye. In 2013, it was preferred as the best in wearable technology at CES2014. It was preferred among the 7 “hottest Global startups of 2013” by Forbes.
Instabeat is a Lebanon based technology company. Hind is on her mission to make more people comfortable in the water by designing products that allow swimmers to regulate themselves. Hind also founded the “Quantified Self, Beirut chapter“.
4. Elie Khouri
Elie Khouri was born on May 8, 1964. Elie Khouri is serving as a communications executive and Lebanese-French marketing in Dubai. He is also the Chairman of Omnicom Media Group MENA which is the Omnicom Group’s media services division.
He served within the advertising industry at Omnicom Group’s agency BBDO in 1988, after he obtained his MBA.
In 2002, he moved from the creative sector to the media side of Omnicom Group to launch OMD, which is a media communications group. It creates marketing campaigns by using mobile, digital, and television advertising and, also employing performance marketing. Omnicom has been regarded as one of the best companies to work in the United Arab Emirates for many years. Elie Khouri is a member of the boards that help the organization’s corporate social responsibility program. He has won numerous awards and recognition from Forbes Middle East and Arabian Business, and he is regarded as a prominent Arab world’s marketing executive.
5. Nada Debs
Nada Debs born in Lebonan brought up in Japan, studied in the United States, and served in the United Kingdom. Nada Debs’ works are as unusual as the artist herself. This global blending of cultures inspires her unique designs that captivate attention and draw one closer to her work.
Debs started her venture into the design in the late 1980s after earning her bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design, USA. Upon graduation, she continued to excel in the career of interior design for three years in the United States. Migration to London and the birth of her first child reach her to start her own company by the name of NDK Designs Ltd., which worked in designing schools and children’s furniture. Her revival of the antique woodcraft marquetry grew as the symbol of the children’s furniture collection, and now this craft is still a significant impact on her work. In 1999, Debs moved back to her birthplace, Beirut, Lebanon, and founded Nada Debs Furniture & Design. Beirut was the perfect place for her to experiment and to merge new designs with a contemporary Middle Eastern flair. Moreover, the availability of a high level of craftsmanship in the region influenced her to create more furniture.
She believes in a philosophy of ‘less is more.’ Debs’s elegant pieces are according to the lifestyle of her clients and fulfill their personal needs. ‘My designs are all form and function‘, says Debs of her current collections and commissioned pieces, ‘that’s quite Japanese.’ With Japanese creative touch, Debs creates traditional, beautiful Middle eastern design. Debs has again changed an ancient craft, which is the inlaid mother of pearl, to design chic, modern furniture. The blend of clean lines, whereas the stunning use of different mediums such as mother of pearl in the East & East collection, Perspex in the Floating Stools collection, has grown as her epitome of design. The background of multi-culture has shaped her inner balance and reveals the depth of these influences within her design. Nada Debs has created several products from tables to flower pots through the years of spending her life between many cultures. Her designs are a blend of unique modern and ancient styles.
6. Maroun Milia
Milia Maroun serves as the designer in Lebanon-founded womenswear company milia-m.
Maroun Milia was born and grew up in Beirut. She studied fashion design at Esmod in Paris before emerging as a lingerie designer, consequently starting her fashion name in 2000. She is considered a pioneer female fashion designer from the Middle East. She initially chose to begin in the ready-to-wear domain rather than couture. She keeps her focus on convenience, luxury, and femininity in her designs. Her client can now be seen all over the world. Having been to Beirut, Paris, Damascus, Istanbul, and London, Milia Maroun’s traveling has given a consistent source of influence.
Between 2004 and 2016, the Milia M flagship store was in Beirut’s Saifi Village. At the launch of Abu Dhabi Fashion Week, her collections were exhibited in 2007 and at Milan Fashion Week in 2008.
Meanwhile, in 2004, Milia Maroun’s conceptual work and designs have been highlighted in exhibitions and shows, such as the International Design Biennale at Saint Etienne; The Future of Tradition – the Tradition of Future at the Haus der Kunst, Munich in 2010; and the Boghossian Foundation exhibition Art is the Answer at the Villa Empain in Brussels in 2012. In 2015 The Beirut Art Centre presented her solo show Now/Here, and in 2017 she presented Object Permanence – Objeu Collection at the Design Week of Beirut. In 2016 Milia Maroun established a studio in the United Kingdom from where she unfolds the two strands of her project as a designer: conceptual works and limited edition Kimabayas, which are traded through private sales and shows; and the perennial ready to wear Millia M collection, which is traded through her webshop.
7. Labib Shalak
Labib Shalak is the founder of MobiNetS, which is established in 2003. MobiNetS allows mobile phone operators to make better-informed business choices by giving them a powerful, end-to-end picture of their networks. After 40 working years of study and improvement, the hub software product of the company, Network Enterprise Platform (NEP), was introduced in February 2010 and is currently the only complete “next generation operations support system (OSS)” appearing in the market. The NEP is a series of blended software applications that support mobile network operators in operation, cost optimization, design, and maintenance of their networks. Labib has been acknowledged as a dominant entrepreneur in the mobile and technology world, showing at the World Mobile Congress and the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year events. Also, in Executive Magazine, he was nominated a top 20 entrepreneur in Lebanon.
8. Taline Assi
Taline Assi is a founder of Mosaic Marble, which is established in 2003. Mosaic Marble has developed a substantial status as the most acknowledged mosaics company in the Middle East, consistently giving high measures of excellence and timely order accomplishment at fair prices. Over that time, Mosaic Marble has maintained high-profile people, such as Princess Aia of Jordan and Oprah Winfrey.
Taline Assi was born and brought up in Lebanon, Taline Katchadourian Assi attracted by the world of entrepreneurship when she studied in college. She encouraged her now-husband to build a web development company when studying at the Lebanese American University. She became fascinated with design. After studying the world’s leading mosaic companies’ sites, she served with an in-house web designer to generate a new website for Mosaic Marble. In early 2003, the site was launched with a variety of designs and instantly gained attraction.
Mosaic Marble makes it comfortable for customers to buy the mosaics of their desires for interior and exterior designs. Customers can choose from one of Mosaic’s designs or suggest their own. It also has huge experience regulating manufacturing quality from artisans. Confident in Mosaic Marble’s scalability production process, Taline is concentrated on revamping its sales and marketing strategy.
9. Myriam Hoballah
Myriam is in the feild of business with above 20+ years. She has international professional knowledge and extensive experience in Management Consulting, Business Coaching, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Startup Creation, Sales Strategy, and Risks Analysis over different industries such as Hospitality and F&B, Environment, Social entrepreneurship, Media, and Telecoms.
Myriam has a strong track record in service market environments and commercial, with the capability to motivate and set future leadership while developing systems to accomplish operational excellence.
By Executive Magazine, Myriam is awarded and acknowledged in 2012 among the Top 20 entrepreneurs in Lebanon for founding O’Box, which is an organic fast-food concept. Myriam possesses a Law degree in Business Law from La Sorbonne – PARIS II; ASSAS University of France. There is no doubt these Lebanese entrepreneurs are striving in their field to give the country a boost in the big market. And if you want to be like these tycoons of Lebanon then persistence and hard work are the keys.