EBRD, EU allocate €12.5 m to bolster sustainability practices of Lebanese SMEs

EBRD, EU allocate €12.5 m to bolster sustainability practices of Lebanese SMEs
09 / 06 / 2024
By Marwa Nassar - -

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) decided earmarking €12.5 million to prop up sustainability practices for Lebanese small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), especially fostering resource efficiency practices and circularity measures.

The Bank will deploy EU funds to enhance the sustainability practices of Lebanese SMEs and help them adopt circularity approaches through three main tools; capacity building, tailored advisory services, and grants to support the adoption of technologies and solutions.

With this new nine-year program, the EBRD and the EU aim to help companies in the industrial sector – primarily in the food and beverage value chain – become more sustainable and reduce their carbon emissions. Capacity-building activities will help raise awareness in the market of the importance and commercial viability of resource efficiency and circularity projects. In addition, with bespoke advisory services, the Program will help SMEs identify the most suitable solutions for improving their use of resources and adopting circularity approaches.

To support the implementation of recommended measures, a selection of SMEs will receive EU-funded Resource Efficiency and Circularity Grants to help them install the pre-identified projects.

These actions are expected to give the companies in question a concrete advantage, sharpening their competitive edge and enabling them to gain market share. This, in turn, should help them to grow and create additional jobs while contributing to the more sustainable socioeconomic development of the country.

The program builds on the success of the EU-supported Advice for Small Businesses program in Lebanon launched in 2018, including the EU-funded Innovation Program started in 2023. To date, these programs have helped almost 280 SMEs access the critical know-how they need to address market challenges and support their productivity and turnover. In 2023 alone, the ASB program supported north of 85 Lebanese SMEs and start-ups with more than 100 advisory projects, including 43 companies looking to innovate through applied research projects with Lebanese researchers.

Local and international consultants and researchers specialized in a broad range of areas continue to help SMEs enhance their green, digital and inclusive business practices. In addition, the Bank continues to conduct various capacity-building activities to provide access to best practices and improve the local market for business advice.

Attending the ceremony at the InterContinental Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut were more than 150 representatives of the business community, the Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister Saade Chami, the Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation in Lebanon, Ms. Alessandra Viezzer, the EBRD Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region Heike Harmgart, SMEs, consultants, researchers and the media.

The event served as a platform for launching the new EU-funded Resource Efficiency and Circularity Program and to highlight the achievements of the ongoing Innovation Program, while providing an opportunity to showcase some of the beneficiary SMEs and their projects.

Heike Harmgart, EBRD Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region, said “We are very happy to partner once again with the EU to support small Lebanese businesses, which are the backbone of the economy. These enterprise have proved their resilience in challenging times and our aim is to boost their sustainability practices and growth through this new programme.”

Alessandra Viezzer, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Lebanon, added “The EU is committed to facilitating and supporting SMEs’ adoption and development of resource efficiency practices, hoping that, in turn, it will bring much-needed added value to the country, boosting the local economy and, hopefully, contributing to Lebanon’s economic recovery.”

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