Lebanese startups get a head start

Published: April 30, 2018

Lebanon’s startups got a long-awaited capital injection from a central bank initiative designed to send financing lines to the country’s newest companies, and four years after its inception, bankers say that Circular 331 has changed the landscape of the country for early investment.

Circular 331 was issued by the Banque du Liban (BDL) in 2014 as a way to try and stem the flow of graduates leaving the country in search of jobs. The circular encourages financing for startup companies by providing commercial banks with risk sharing and free loans from the central bank in return for lending. 

“Before the BDL’s initiative, startups were encountering difficulties to raise capital,” Mrs. Maya Abou Alwan El Kadi, deputy general manager and head of investment banking at BLOMINVEST Bank, told EMEA Finance. 

However, this is starting to change. “Up till now,” said Kadi, “the participating banks have committed a total of US$347mn”.

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