Beirut, Lebanon – April 27th, 2021 –Insure & Match Capital (IM Capital) celebrated the achievements under the Middle East and North Africa Investment Initiative (MENA II), a $20 million program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Launched in 2014, the program is dedicated to providing matching capital, equity guarantees and crucial support to early-stage businesses and investors to leverage private investments and develop the investment ecosystem while contributing to economic growth and job creation in Lebanon. The event, which was streamed on-line, was held at IM Capital Offices in the presence of H.E. U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy C. Shea; USAID/Lebanon Mission Director, Ms. Eileen Devitt; and Berytech President, Mr. Maroun Chammas. It was attended virtually by entrepreneurs, investors, private sector representatives, and other key stakeholders in the investment sector.
Working with early-stage startups, Insure & Match Capital has supported entrepreneurs and innovators across several sectors, including educational technology, agri-food, biomedical, lifestyle and fashion, entertainment and media, hardware, online platforms, and marketplaces. Six years into its $15 million fund, IM Capital has invested over $10 million in 25 Lebanese startups, created 5 groups of angel investors, and trained more than 800 entrepreneurs through technical assistance and mentoring, while creating over 300 jobs. IM Capital also launched, with the support of USAID’s MENA II, the من_قلبي_دعم_لبيروت# emergency relief initiative to assist small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as families impacted by the Beirut explosion by channeling funding through its portfolio of companies across four sectors, including education, housing, food and water security, and business platforms. This initiative helped more than 6,000 individuals, sustained and created over 200 jobs, and supported more than 130 SMEs.
Maroun Chammas, President of Berytech Foundation and MENA II Chief of Party, commented: “Our partnership with USAID allowed us to make a meaningful impact and contribute to the growth of the Lebanese ecosystem. Berytech is and always has been an innovation-led foundation and a national reference for Lebanese startups, working to fostera conducive entrepreneurial environment. Today, our primary focus is on the future; we need to support value-added entrepreneurship and innovation activities as they have can a positive impact on the economy. We thank USAID for its continuous trust in Berytech and for its contribution to the economic well-being of Lebanon.”
H.E. Dorothy C. Shea, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon stated,“Six years ago, we launched this program together because we shared a strong belief in the entrepreneurial spirit and the work ethic shared by both Lebanese and Americans…Today, thanks to MENA II, we are proud to say 25 startups received equity investment to bring their ideas to life. These program participants are a testimony to the power of entrepreneurship as a driving force in the Lebanese economy…. We will continue to be a supporting partner for entrepreneurship and business start-ups in Lebanon through a new program, the Lebanon Investment Initiative, known as LII, which is implemented by Berytech Foundation.”
“Thanks to our growing community of successful entrepreneurs, all-star investors, inspiring mentors, powerful advocates and partners, and most importantly, thanks to USAID’s ongoing assistance, IM Capital was able to enable Lebanese startups and assist entrepreneurs in what matters most to them – growing their startup and realizing its potential”, saidNicolas Rouhana, General Manager of IM Capital. “Our mission is to empower entrepreneurs to drive economic growth, and we help advance gender equality in the workplace by leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs,” he added.
The event also included a live panel discussion moderated by H.E. Dorothy C. Shea, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, and which included Ms. Eileen Devitt, USAID Lebanon Mission Director; Mr. Maroun Chammas, Chairman and CEO Berytech; Dr. Nicolas Rouhana, General Manager IM Capital; Mr. Gabriel Deek, Member of Confideo Venture Mentoring Program launched by IM Capital; Ms. Asmahan Zein, Chairperson of Seeders-LWAF which is a group of angel investors managed by IM Capital; Ms. Audrey Nakad, Co-founder and CEO of Ostaz by Synkers; and Mr. Rabih Nassar, Founder and CEO of ElementN, both of which are MENA II portfolio companies. The panel discussed overall challenges and opportunities in the investment sector.
About IM Capital
Insure and Match Capital (IM Capital) provides Matching Capital, Equity Guarantee, and Support Programs to a broad range of qualified early-stage business and investors in Lebanon, reducing the risks associated with investing in early-stage businesses and encouraging increased capitalization. IM Capital is a fully owned subsidiary of Berytech Foundation, which was awarded the management of the USAID MENA Investment Initiative program in Lebanon.