Greg Demarque | Executive

Pearls of economic wisdom

In good times and in bad ones, leading wealth management institutions and Lebanese families and individuals are connected via a bond of mutual interests in profits and wealth preservation. Among the torchbearers of this bond are the top-rated economists of Swiss banks who come to visit Lebanon with clockwork regularity. Usually, they bear at least

Rabih Abou Saba (L) and Marwan Ayoub, founders of Venture Group.
(Greg Demarque | Executive)

The cluster men

It all began in 2005, when Rabih Saba and Marwan Ayoub, who were at the time employed by multinational companies, decided to make some extra money on the side through freelance consulting work for hospitality companies in Lebanon. They have since come a long way. Today, they are the managing partners of Venture Group, a

Joseph Kai | Executive

The startup state

The plans to create a successful startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem are tentatively falling into place in Lebanon. From Circular 331 to the launch of new accelerators, the sector has changed dramatically over the last five, or even three, years. Executive brings you a small overview of some of the latest developments and challenges to the

Greg Demarque | Executive

Startup Megaphone

When Samer Karam talks about his new job it sounds as fantastic as if Sinatra had just sat down next to Peggy Lee to intone the Gershwin classic, ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’. Karam, who ran the accelerator program of ecosystem company Seeqnce, in March of this year began promoting the Lebanese startup

Joseph Kai | Executive

The 411 on 331

The torrent of “free” money that Banque du Liban (BDL) Circular 331 was expected to release is still but a trickle. Approved by Lebanon’s central bank in August 2013, the circular allows banks to invest up to three percent of their tier 1 capital in startup companies, contributing to the so-called “knowledge economy” or venture

Clarence Risher | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Time to talk it up a notch

Lebanon is at a crossroads. It has been two years since the announcement of Circular 331, and the murmurings of a revitalised golden age brought about by our startup and entrepreneurial system. Whilst it might be too early to speak of the clear tangible benefits to the Lebanese economy, there is obvious traction within the

Joseph Kai | Executive

Guerilla entrepreneurship

That our politicians got us into an absolutely avoidable waste crisis they have been unable to extricate us from for over three months is simply embarrassing. It’s not about garbage any more. It’s about turning Lebanon into a distressed asset.It has become obvious that our institutions, which have been running on an ad hoc basis

Greg Demarque | Executive

Industrial recycling

For all the talk of Minister of Agriculture Akram Chehayeb’s waste management plan including robust recycling initiatives, it actually lets municipalities decide how to treat and dispose of their waste with few guidelines and no fixed quotas. That is to say, there is no clear picture of what recycling will look like in Lebanon should

Greg Demarque | Executive

Blame it on Bassil

E   What was minister Bassil’s plan to reach 24 hours of electricity by 2015? [Bassil decided] that we needed barges imported from Turkey, a new [power plant to generate] 700 megawatts, to rehab Zouk, Jiyeh, Zehrani, Deir Ammar and Baalbek, and the implementation of 1,500 megawatts from [public-private partnerships]. [Bassil] talked to then prime

Photo courtesy of Averda

Coming Sukleen

After protests outside their Lebanon plant and activist allegations of corruption, the CEO of Averda gives his first ever interview to a media organization. Little known by name in Lebanon, Averda is a waste management company founded in 1993 by Lebanese engineer Maysarah Sukkar. It is the parent company of Sukleen and Sukomi. Maysarah’s son,

401(K) 2012 | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

No time to cry wolf

In the Lebanese banking sector’s cherished game of claiming the deposit throne, month-on-month drops of private sector deposits are usually reserved for the January statistics, in what has become known as the annual correction of window dressing at the end of the business year. That is why, when the relevant central bank data is pulled

Joseph Kai | Executive

Rivers of corruption

In late October the streets of Beirut filled with water. A torrential downpour, common for this time of the year, washed the garbage accumulations on various empty lots and roadside spots onto the city’s streets, turning what was solid waste into a disgusting viscous soup. After six weeks of disagreement over the emergency plan, the


Lebanon’s failing grade

Lebanon’s seasonal rains brought with them more than the usual road chaos this year. Trash that had been left on sidewalks as a result of the government’s self-inflicted garbage crisis floated down the streets, sending a stark reminder of the impending health disaster. Despite the multiple emergencies, Lebanon’s problems – like its garbage – are

Images Money | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Quilvest loves BlomInvest

It is a regular romance. Quilvest, a global wealth manager, and Lebanon’s BlomInvest Bank have tied the knot with a new product partnership, allowing the Lebanese bank’s wealth management clientele to buy into Quilvest deals via a special purpose vehicle called the Blom-Quilvest European Real Estate Fund. The two are teaming up for the second

U Energy gym

Burning the fat

The commercial fitness industry in Lebanon is witnessing a growth both in the number of gyms and in the variety of fitness options inspired by global trends. Executive profiled four different gyms to learn more about their unique business strategies and their take on the Lebanese market. 180 Degrees fitness and spa Spread over 4,000