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SMEs represent 96% of Arab companies, Lebanon leading in startups

19-2-2019

The director for the Middle East and Central Asia at IMF, Jihad Azour, said SMEs represent nearly 96% of registered companies in the Arab region, yet loans they receive barely exceed 7% of the total bank lending in the region. Azour was speaking during a seminar on February 11 at the American University of Cairo to launch the report, ‘Improving the financial coverage of SMEs in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia’. The report shows that Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and the Emirates have three quarters of startups in the region. In the same vein, Total Group Lebanon announced yesterday that it has shortlisted 15 out of 309 contestants in the 2018-2019 edition of the ‘Startupper of the Year’ competition who registered their initiatives online. Over two days, the 15 finalists presented their projects after receiving the required training to be later evaluated by a local panel. At the end of the nominations, the jury will announce the names of the three winners on March 1, 2019. The young entrepreneurs shall receive a financial prize up to 12500 Euros, in addition to professional mentorship, as well as benefit from an advertising campaign to promote their projects. Total will also announce the top women entrepreneur from one of the candidates to motivate her initiative. (Al Akhbar, Al Diyar, February 15, 19, 2019)

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