Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon

YESI: Youth Empowerment for Social Impact

13/11/2020 - 12:06

The project aims to empower youth through inclusive, innovative and sustainable models of social entrepreneurship.


  • Budget: € 555.555 (€ 500.000 EU contribution)
  • Location: Lebanon
  • Date of project: April 2020 – March 2022
  • Implementing Partner: CESVI FONDAZIONE ONLUS

Since a number of years, the Lebanese economy is faced by a severe recession. Lack of growth and job creation have resulted into vicious cycles of low productivity and unemployment. The spill over of the Syrian crisis has further exacerbated an already precarious equilibrium, bringing a steep increase in poverty rates and inequalities, accompanied by deterioration of social stability dynamics and escalation of social tensions.  Lebanon is considered among the countries with the highest youth unemployment rate (over 35%) due to the economic crisis, which has been worsening since October 2019.

Lebanon lacks a regulatory framework and policies tailored to promote youth employability. A major barrier hindering youth entrepreneurship is the lack of access to finance, mainly in relation to promoting youth-led social enterprises, which are considered a risk rather than opportunity by mainstream investors. Moreover, youth civil society organizations and social enterprises still need support through capacity building, especially in disadvantaged areas.

In this context the YESI: Youth Empowerment for Social Impact project addresses the key issues with the aim to promote youth employment. This is achieved through the empowerment and inclusion of youth in innovative entrepreneurship for social impact. The project also promotes gender inclusion and women empowerment among these civil society organisations and social enterprises.


  • Empower youth through inclusive, innovative and sustainable models of social entrepreneurship
  • Enable youth to develop and upscale innovative business initiatives through enhanced capacities, increased access to finance and active participation into multi-stakeholder dialogues on inclusive growth and sustainable development


  • Young leaders
  • Youth-led civil society organizations
  • Youth-led social enterprises
  • Youth networks and platforms
  • Micro-finance and other financial institutions


  • Tailored trainings and capacity building activities to young leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs, youth-led civil society organizations and social enterprises, finance and micro-finance institutions
  • Mapping and consultations with micro-finance institutions, venture capital investors and financial institutions
  • Participatory youth consultations, knowledge-sharing initiatives, and multi-stakeholders dialogues on social impact measurement and youth entrepreneurship
  • Financial support to youth-led enterprises through call for proposals
  • Organisation of a national summit on youth-led and youth-focused social entrepreneurship


  • New skills gained by the youth on how to develop, strengthen and scale up innovative social enterprises, with increased opportunities of access to finance
  • Innovative youth-led social enterprises have enhanced their operational and financial capacities in a more inclusive and dynamic market ecosystem
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