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Riad Salameh: Finance oil and knowledge the backbone of Lebanese economy of the future!

27-5-2015

The Lebanese-American Chamber of Commerce organized the ‘Startup Lebanon’ conference in cooperation with Startup Megaphone organization. The one day event which was held at the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City was attended by some 300 people representing start-up companies in Lebanon who met with world established investors in the lookout for emerging enterprises in emerging markets. The Head of the Chamber, Saleem Zenee said that the NYC forum drew together prominent Lebanese talents, entrepreneurs, investors and officials with the aim to build a future by mobilizing the hidden potentials of the startup sector in the country. Zenee said Lebanon would see many success stories by ambitious enterprises should they be given the right support and economic environment. For his part, the Lebanese Ambassador to the US, Antoine Chedid, noted that despite the regional turbulence, the losses incurred on the national economy are limited and can still be contained. Likewise, the Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, said in a recorded speech to the conference, that the future of Lebanon will rely on three key sectors, namely, finance, petroleum and natural gas and on the knowledge economy. Regarding the latter, Salameh revealed an ongoing plan to develop an electronic stock market that allows startup businesses to issue stock subscriptions for the public, whereby Lebanon would have completed a cycle of required accelerators, funding and the option of selling or logging out. In the same vein, former Finance Minister Jihad Azour spoke about the current conditions of entrepreneurship in Lebanon and the prospects for small and medium startup businesses which he noted roughly represent 93% to 95% of total businesses. The share of enterprises with less than 10 employees is 73%. (Al Hayat, Al Diyar, 23 May 2015)

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