Following the strong performance of the UK Lebanon Tech Hub (UKLTH) - a joint initiative by Lebanon’s Central Bank, Banque du Liban, and the British Embassy in Beirut - both the Central Bank and the Embassy have announced their commitment to support the hub’s growth over the next three years.
During the three years of its operation, the hub creating 1370 direct and indirect jobs, contributed to more than US $8.5 million worth of deals into the UK and a $26 million increase in company revenues in Lebanon, according to its press release.
UKLTH has helped grow tech innovations into global businesses primarily through London, accelerated 78 startups that raised more than $36 million and are currently valued at more than $200 million. The figures were presented at the demo day of The Nucleus, the hub’s startup venture building programme, by Hugo Shorter, the British Ambassador to Lebanon.
“The UKLTH has yielded exceptional results in just three short years. The flows of investment in both directions are an early sign of how much trade and investment could be generated through British-Lebanese tech co-operation,” said Shorter during his speech.
Managing director Nadim Zaazaa has been promoted to a permanent CEO, and works with a global advisory board of British and Lebanese industry leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and academics. US-based Ramzi Haidamus, a renowned Silicon Valley entrepreneur and former President of Nokia Technologies, is also now a new advisory board chairman.
“Our focus is twofold: getting the best Lebanese innovations to global markets through the UK and leverage the latter’s world class scientific standing to strengthen Lebanon’s knowledge core. This two-way relationship means more FDI, jobs and exports for both countries,” said Zaazaa.
Using London as a launchpad to global markets, particularly Europe and America, six of the UKLTH startups have also established their first international growth outposts from the hub’s offices in Moorgate, London.
“Lebanon is a natural partner for the UK: an outward looking, highly educated and highly skilled nation, whose talent is its biggest export,” said Shorter. “Lebanon is ranked 8th best in the world in early stage entrepreneurship. Its people are trilingual, speaking French, English and Arabic, making it a perfect bridge between Britain, the Middle East and emerging markets, where they’ve thrived as brilliant business leaders.”
The hub will receive £2.5 million ($3.2 million) of funding from the Embassy to enhance the UKLTH’s International Research Centre, with the aim of solving worldwide problems, including solutions for early breast cancer detection and new irrigation systems to help farmers to increase crop yield while saving water, added Shorter.