November 2016 table of contents

EDITORIAL It’s time for some serious changes From the Lebanese entrepreneurship ecosystem to capital markets, action needs to be taken LEADERS A small matter of perspective It’s time to break the silence on the CMA Getting competitive Circular 331 needs a legal system to back it Not just the apps Our non-tech startups need support

Convincing the masses

Parliamentary elections are coming, and groups of hopeful upstarts are forming (one even financed what must be a rather expensive national billboard campaign) with an eye on defeating as many establishment candidates as possible. The challenges for such an undertaking are many and significant, so an effective strategy is paramount. The first challenge facing outsiders

Toward a national strategy

Financial literacy is a hot global policy potato that emerged as the flavor of the month for October 2016, according to the taste buds of the Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD) and a publication by the Association of Banks (ABL) in Lebanon. “Financial literacy, financial capability and consumer protection have been in focus

Not just the apps

There’s cross pollination potential being missed in a certain Lebanese ecosystem. Nowadays, everywhere you look there’s a link between technology and entrepreneurship that seems to suggest the latter is only possible if it incorporates the latest advances in the former. This is a global trend, and it’s driven by the market. Remember, a street vendor

The legal building blocks of the ecosystem

Lebanon is an awful place to start an innovative, new business venture – from a legal perspective, at least. There are a few general rules that apply to startup companies: 1) Around 90 percent are expected to fail; 2) Founders typically have no cash, investing all they have (and all they can raise) into the

Getting competitive

Policy initiatives work best when they come as a full package. Seeking to elevate Lebanon’s knowledge economy from a struggling local sector to a world-class hub for entrepreneurship, in 2013 the central bank stepped outside of its monetary policy role by passing circular 331. The decision allows local banks to invest directly in startup companies

Into a new dimension

A new layer in the entrepreneurship ecosystem is taking shape through the increasing institutional presence of academic bodies, including both top-tier and less prominent universities in Lebanon. Universities have been linked locally to entrepreneurship in the past, but this link was often feeble and limited to teaching a few courses or having an occasional conference.

Taking stock of the entrepreneurial ecosystem

The month of November is often the most pleasant month to live in Lebanon. The weather is nice, the mood is relaxed (with no holiday shopping stress yet), prices are in low-season mode to invite visitors and National Day is around the corner. It is the perfect month to celebrate entrepreneurship as the most promising

A view from the other side

Law 161 was passed five years ago to create a financial regulatory agency and structure capital markets in Lebanon. Some market players are becoming restive and others are criticizing omissions in the law’s implementation and aspects of the CMA’s methods. To understand how things look from the CMA’s perspective, Executive sat down with CMA Executive

To be or when to be

On the face of it, the story of financial markets and their regulator, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), looks like just another manifestation of Lebanese chaos. Institutions and measures that were prescribed by law in context of the CMA’s creation (in this case, Law 161 of 2011) are overdue in their implementation. Not just in

A small matter of perspective

From the position of Lebanon’s Capital Markets Authority, the world is a garden of well-tended and super-fragrant roses, especially in regard to its own achievements. Thanks to the CMA’s regulatory progress, financial markets should finally start growing to the benefit of Lebanon if all stakeholders would just close ranks and stand shoulder to shoulder with

It’s time for some serious changes

After two and a half years, Lebanon has a president. We don’t care. For the thirteenth time in our history, our head of state was imposed from outside. We don’t care. Our lawmakers – serving a second term they illegally gave themselves – are jokers, casting ballots for Myriam Klink and Zorba the Greek. We

We don’t need no explanations

We know that growth of the global economy is not as it was in earlier eras – and International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde last month warned explicitly of a “low-growth trap” or the danger of disappointing growth being with us for a long time. “Forceful policy actions are needed to reinvigorate growth and

The Gulf after oil

It is timely and prudent to review the policies of Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The region, which is known for deriving much of its economic revenues from the exporting of oil, entered difficult fiscal waters around 2014. It is in need of new ideas for economic development, given the confluence in 2016 of uncertainty about

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