- Budget: € 555.556 (€ 500.000 EU contribution)
- Location: Northern Lebanon
- Date of project: March 2020 - March 2022
- Implementing Partner: OXFAM Italy
Lebanon is facing the worst unemployment crisis of its history, both structural and cyclic, compounded by domestic and regional instability. Lebanon's youth unemployment rate is over 35% compared with 25% international average. Northern Lebanon has the highest rate in-country. Obtaining a university degree does not guarantee employment opportunities. Should they find a job in the formal sector the educated youth receive a salary which rarely meets the costs of living. Main reasons for youth unemployment are low or currently negative economic growth due to financial, economic and political instability; lack of job opportunities due to the investment and business climate; weak career guidance and counselling, lack of thorough market information and statistics, and pressure on jobs exacerbated by the refugee situation.
In the past few years, Lebanon witnessed the development of a start-up ecosystem supporting entrepreneurs, especially youth, in the shift to financially sustainable and profitable enterprises. These efforts have mostly focused on early-stage ideas and on growth, equipping entrepreneurs with innovation tools and design-thinking expertise. However, the challenges are numerous, especially outside of Beirut. Scattered efforts and provision of individual support result in limited social impact and influencing power, as well as an inability to compete at a national scale. This leads to low survival rates and limited opportunities for scaling up the enterprise.
With this project the European Union is facilitating youth access to the labour market and promoting youth economic participation in Lebanon. The project aims to tackle the low survival rates of youth-led enterprises and youth social enterprises due to limited access to tailored and innovative financial and technical support. On another hand, it aims to have the young entrepreneurs’ voices heard, by promoting opportunities for youth to play their role at policy level.