Overview of Recovery Support for Women-Owned Businesses Impacted by the Beirut Blast
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Lebanon represent 95 percent of all companies in Lebanon and account for 50 percent of national employment. According to the 2019 World Bank Enterprise Survey, 9.9% of all these are co-owned by women. The Beirut Port explosion compounded an already dire situation resulting from Lebanon’s socio-economic and health crises. Preliminary data suggest there was a fairly high number of women-led businesses in the explosion radius.Numerous economic development and livelihoods programs were already being implemented in Lebanon prior to the port explosion, operated by international and local actors and funded by a variety of donors and international agencies. A number of programs target MSMEs/SMEs with technical assistance and capacity building, with a few providing direct financial support. During the past year, existing programs have had to adapt to the increased socio-economic-political and COVID-19 health crises and now with the port explosion.To help link businesses in need of support with services providers, including those supported by UN Women, UN Women has undertaken a mapping of ongoing initiatives and is actively working to pair those in need with those entities offering support. As investment is made to strengthen national production and bolster employment opportunities, women owned-MSMEs are an important vehicle for change and growth.