Libyan entrepreneurs connect to raise their voices
"Young people’s idea of the ‘dream job’ is changing because of the economic situation and the reality they are facing in Libya. They realize that the kind of job they would like to have is hard to get so they conclude that they would rather create that job themselves to do what they love and what is best for the society," said Amir Neihoum, Tatweer Entrepreneurship Campus (TEC) manager.
Led by Tatweer Research and implemented by UNDP with European Union’s support Tatweer Entrepreneurship Campus (TEC) aims to improve Libya’s entrepreneurial environment. The first step towards this goal is the creation of Entrepreneurs of Libya (EoL), a platform to map and gather information about who are those people in the country that own a business.
- Within the framework of the EU-funded Strengthening Local capacities for resilience and recovery in Libya project, UNDP Libya and Tatweer Research have reached an agreement to partner and invest in the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Libya.
- The three-year EU-funded project to be implemented by UNDP, aims to help local authorities in Libya to improve access to essential services, create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, and increase community security and rule of law.
- Tatweer Research, as the UNDP partner on the ground, is in charge of identifying and supporting economic recovery strategies that will create sustainable jobs outside of the public sector.
“When you think about creating your own business it is very important to know people that already did that. They are the ones that can guide you and help you to understand what are the legal procedures and the products and services that are on demand right now,” explained Basheir Shikie, coordinator of EoL. “This type of information is essential for entrepreneurs, but unfortunately no one in Libya has had access to these resources before,” he added.
With the clear objective of boosting the Libyan entrepreneurial system and accelerate its growth, EoL has started to build a strong network of startups through technical and financial support.
“Most entrepreneurs based their decisions on intuition, not on data which is fine for the initial stages but in the long run, it compromises the ability to develop and adapt to the market,” stated Anas Mussa, cofounder of Tadweer, a startup for recycling plastic waste, while interviewed by TEC team during the data collection phase of EoL.
“With information being key in today’s world, more and more entrepreneurs are taking decisions based on data rather than on their own ideas of the market,” he said.
Another example of entrepreneurs in Libya is Habka, a group of 20 men and women trying to spread comic culture in Libya and in MENA region in general. Habka Libyan magazine combines the style of Japanese manga and American comics, and is the first of its kind in Libya.
“We face a lot of challenges that are common in Libya, from electricity blackouts to access to basic services. We had to stop printing our magazine because of these issues,” confessed Nour-eldin Houni, cofounder of Habka Libyan magazine.
"But Habka did not stop working. We were able to overcome these challenges because we focused on solutions instead of problems," he said.
Habka is now moving into digital publishing and has created a website and an app for Android and IOS.
"Despite these challenges, Habka keeps on working and the magazine is a proof that with determination and hard work it is possible to succeed even in a challenging environment like Libya,” added Houni.
EoL platform will provide entrepreneurs with regular reports on the business system in Libya, helping them to connect.
“We will bring under the same platform different startups and projects that can jointly go further and raise their voices together to achieve a common goal: the wellbeing of the people living in Libya,” concluded Neihoum, TEC manager.
This project is implemented in the framework of the €90 million programme "Managing mixed migration flows in Libya through expanding protection space and supporting local socioeconomic development" financed by the North of Africa Window of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The main objective of this programme is to comprehensively reinforce protection and resilience of migrants, refugees and host communities in Libya while supporting an improved migration management along the migration routes in the country.