The third edition of the Libyan Startup Expo was held on 10-11th March at the Mahary (Radisson Blu) hotel in Tripoli. This year’s theme revolves around the phrase “Be the change”. SLEIDSE, a European Union programme implemented by Expertise France provided support for LSUE 2018.
The expo aims to support small and medium enterprises through creating a communication network between investors and the entrepreneurs.
Libyan women have been increasingly getting involved with the expo year after year. This year two of the winners for the Nader award were women led projects. The Nader award according to the LSUE website is “a local yearly award that is granted by the Libyan Foundation for Project Development to encourage and appreciate excellence, innovation and production. The aim of the awards is to inspire future entrepreneurs to start their projects to contribute to the development of society and create a healthy competitive environment”
The best female entrepreneur award went to Naturelle a company founded by Ahlam Zoghbia and Majdoline Bakkah. They started to mix their own products and produce their own creations because of sensitive skin and help combat Rosacea.
The best business idea award went to DUBAL that was founded by Salma Guwaidr. The project aims to produce organic fertiliser to build an organic agricultural environment free of additives and harmful chemical fertilizers.
Lubna Zantouti was also awarded best ideas presentation for “space 340” a youth oriented coworking space that focuses on 3 main things: team activities, studying oriented space, training and learning. Lubna shares her vision as a place where “You can study by yourself or in a group, you can give training or prepare courses, you can work alone or meet with others in one place, Space 340 aims to be a comfortable environment, with suitable prices for students and young people that makes customer service a priority”
MEDA Libya was also present at the expo and gave two free design and creativity workshops. MEDA is an international economic development organization whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty. They have been working in Libya for 5 years now and run the Libya Economic Empowerment (LEE) project which “is designed specifically to release the unrecognized economic potential of women and youth’s entrepreneurship and contribute to Libya’s economic growth.”
They’re also launching the Step Forward Women’s Business Plan Competition that aims to ” stimulate and unleash the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation among aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with ideas that contribute to their personal economic benefit, towards developing their communities, and the well-being of Libya.”
These types of events are extremely encouraging and help to inspire and motivate other Libyan women to get involved with entrepreneurship and economic empowerment activities.
Written by Khadeja Ramali