SFUSA: How long has Bader been operating in Lebanon? How did you get started?
Bader: Bader is a NGO established in 2006 by 40 top business leaders in the country. Bader is a-political and a-religious. Bader’s mission is to promote entrepreneurship in Lebanon with a focus on high-impact businesses. Bader covers the whole chain the entrepreneur goes through: from Education to Finance to Networking.
SFUSA: One of your objectives is to “develop tools for and promote entrepreneurship education to young Lebanese through Bader’s own initiatives and partnerships with educational institutions.” What sort of tools do you use to promote entrepreneurship education?
Bader: On the educational level we have:
Workshop program: we developed our own curriculum delivered in Arabic by highly professional lecturers over a period of 2.5 days. The objective of the workshop is to give the entrepreneurs the tools to prepare a business plan for financing purposes. We started in underprivileged area. We are trying to reach out for entrepreneurs where no-one is going. We have trained so far more than 60 entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs will be coached and then expected to present their project for funding, which we can provide through our network of investors.
Mentorship program: Our mentorship program assigns one mentor to one entrepreneur for a period of 2 years (the most critical period in the life of a startup). We have gathered a pool of more than 20 mentors who have been trained. In parallel, the list of entrepreneurs interested in having a mentor is also growing.
Scholarship program: Thanks to the contribution of donors (a Bader member, Patchi, MENA capital, BBAC, Chalhoub Group, and Quantum), high merit students have received scholarship. From USD 36k in 2008, the program awarded more than USD 160k in 2009. We are currently receiving confirmation for our 2010 program.
Partnership with MIT: for the 3rd year, Bader is continuing its partnership with MIT Arab Business Plan Competition.
Deutsche Bank Award: Bader partnered with Deutsche Bank to launch 2 Creative Awards in Lebanon of €10,000 each to artists, craftspeople, designers and performers to start a business or carry out a project.
SFUSA: How do you go about connecting entrepreneurs with investors? Do you have a regular group of investors you continue to go to, or are you constantly looking for new ones? Who are your typical investors – are they Lebanese businesspeople? Lebanese diaspora abroad? International investors?
Bader: In 2009, Bader launched the first Lebanese Business Angel (LBA) network in Lebanon. The LBA facilitates the introduction of entrepreneurs to potential investors through presentations and other mechanisms. LBA consists of individual angel investors as well as institutions interested in financing privately held companies or ventures typically in a startup/early stage of development, based in Lebanon and in all sectors, pertaining they have a compelling value proposition and high added value, an innovative/creative product or service and the potential for regional and international reach.
Selection process: All executive summaries fitting the LBA criteria are considered for presentation at the screening committee. The screening committee will consider all filed and completed submissions and will inform selected companies before scheduling a meeting. Non-selected companies will also be informed and will receive standardized feedback from the screening committee. Selected companies will be invited to come and pitch in front of our angels/ investors in the investment committee. When an investor shows interest in any of the project, we arrange a meeting between both parties to start the negotiations.
SFUSA: What are you doing to promote your organization’s mission? I have been to your website but wonder – do you use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, or a blog?
Bader: You can visit us on Facebook.
We also have a twitter account.
Visit Bader's website at http://www.baderlebanon.com.