Lebanon 2017 | TELECOMS & IT | COLUMN

TBY talks to Nicolas Sehnaoui, Chairman, UK Lebanon Tech Hub, on the sector.

Nicolas Sehnaoui

What is the process for a start-up when it decides to join the hub?

Our accelerator is split into two programs: 'The Nucleus” program targeting idea and early stage start-ups, and the scale-up program for growth level start-ups that are already generating revenues and are looking to scale and access new international markets. We have conducted two cycles of acceleration. There were 70 companies in the first two years, and we quadrupled their value. They raised more than USD16 million in investment, reached a collective valuation of USD140 million, and created around 800 jobs. The objective of the hub is to help the Lebanese ecosystem move upward, become more mature, and accelerate the whole ecosystem.

With over 200 start-ups, how do you foresee Lebanon becoming a start-up hub?

Lebanon is becoming the hub because of the supportive start-up environment, like the Banque Du Liban's Circular 331, acceleration support, and increased investment. Lebanon is definitely going to be a hub as soon as ICT infrastructure is strengthened as a result of increased political stability. We have the talent, the vibrancy, and the activity; we are the best equipped to be the digital and media hub of MENA.