SwitchMed Green Entrepreneurship Support Program
The SwitchMed Program, funded by EU, entrusted Fondation Diane for its implementation since Fondation Diane was the 1st to have an exclusive Green Investment Fund for small Entrepreneurs in Lebanon. It aims at fostering green entrepreneurship through promoting inclusive green growth and job creation in Lebanon, while supporting the transition to a greener, more circular, and fairer economy by efficiently leveraging environmental and networking business opportunities, providing services and products to a more integrated industrial system and harnessing regulatory and economic instruments.
Access to Finance – 2017:
VIRIDIS organized, in November 2017, an access to a finance event to connect green start-ups to potential investors under Fondation Diane.
Green Start-ups Meet Investors – 2018:
A competition for the best pitch between 8 Entrepreneurs on World Environment Day, June 5th, at “SwitchMed Green Start-ups Meet Investors” 2018, Beirut, in presence of:
– Christina Lassen, EU Representative in Lebanon
– Claudia Pani, scp/rac Representative in Lebanon
– Diana Fadel, Founder & President of Fondation Diane
“Tonight will not just end with 1 celebration for 1 winning pitch, but rather with a number of celebrations for everyone who will pitch, as well as everyone who took their first step towards change and applied and for everyone involved in the SwitchMed 2018 event, because when we collectively think and act green, everyone is a winner, especially the environment of our dear nation”.
The EcoSwitch Coalition or “Switchers Support National Partnership” in Lebanon, as part of the “SwitchMed Green Entrepreneurship Program”, brings together 27 support organizations. It is a partnership of well-established institutions, NGOs and companies aiming at strengthening the support of Eco-entrepreneurs. It helps local green entrepreneurs thrive and grow their positive environment impact by providing them with a variety of support mechanisms based on their needs.
Training of Trainers (ToT) on Green Business Model (GBM)
The “Training of Trainers” has been replicated twice in 2022 for 35 Green Entrepreneur mentors.
Training activities have greatly facilitated the incubation phase of supported green enterprises as it is complementary to the consulting activities. The result of the activity was the training of mentors assigned to each of the supported green enterprises.
Green Business Model (GBM): Workshops
GBM workshops were successfully organized by certified trainers who were previously enrolled and have completed the ToT sessions conducted by Fondation Diane. Each workshop targeted about 20 green entrepreneurs in their ideation phase. They were provided support in the development and validation of their Green Business Model Canvas, using the Switchers’ online tool and methodology.
In May 2021, Fondation Diane & EcoSwitch Coalition launched the “Switchers Suppport Programme” to support green entrepreneurs and innovators. It has provided 120 eco-entrepreneurs at the ideation stage the needed support to develop their green business model using the “Switchers Online Toolbox”. 20 projects were selected for an 8-month incubation period and will be able to develop their green business plan while benefitting from technical assistance vouchers. They were able to validate their ideas with the help of certified trainers and coaches, using a lean start-up approach to be able to bring their innovation to the Mediterranean markets, contribute to a greener economy, and secure more jobs, especially for women and youths. These entrepreneurs were also given networking opportunities in which they have shared their experience and challenges with other like-minded people.
Switchers Incubation Services provided for Green Entrepreneurs
In total, 32 green business entrepreneurs are getting incubated (18 women) distributed in 20 green business models/plans. Switchers received a series of training on the following topics: Green Business Model, Green Business Plan & Impact Monitoring Tool modules, Eco-Design Tool Module, Access to Market & Access to Finance Modules. On top of those goals, this process provided the switchers with training on how to access funding and investment and enable them to assess the impact of their business model.
1st Annual EcoSwitch Festival – 2021
The “First Annual EcoSwitch Festival for Eco-entrepreneurs” was a real success! We welcomed over 65 online participants and 80 people at the networking event. This 3-day festival was organized by Fondation Diane and EcoSwitch Coalition from 23 to 25 November 2021. The first two days featured 4 animated discussion panels with moderators, experts and Eco-entrepreneurs on the topics of: Local Sourcing & Local Manufacturing, Export & Access to International Markets, Pricing Products in Times of Crisis, Access to Investment: Current Outlook – Donors & Investors, with the aim of enabling start-ups to make informed decisions given the current local climate.
The last day consisted of a physical gathering of eco-entrepreneurs and business support organizations at BDD, and featured a World Café with the Coalitions’ partners, knowledge-sharing discussions, expert panel sessions, speed dating and networking activities.
2nd Annual EcoSwitch Festival – 2022
“Fondation Diane”, “Cewas” in partnership with “EcoSwitch Coalition”, organized from the 23rd to the 25th of November 2022 the 2nd Annual “EcoSwitch Festival”, a 3-day event funded by “Asfari Foundation”/YLEAP Project &SwitchMed Program, with two online afternoon programs on the first 2 days, followed by a physical gathering of Eco-entrepreneurs, green start-ups and supporting organizations on the 3rd day at Beirut Digital District. The keynote opening online speech by Mrs. Diana Fadel, Founder & President of Fondation Diane, highlighted the partnership with the supporting organizations, as well as the exemplary passion of the eco-entrepreneurs.
“On behalf of all our partners, I can tell you, young and older entrepreneurs, how proud we are, to see you all here, determined to stay in Lebanon and to contribute to building and re-building what will constitute the future of our beloved country. You could have easily chosen many other easier paths, but you decided to resist, to work hard and most of all, to innovate in eco-sustainable products and services. You cannot imagine how grateful we all are for your smart passion, unbeatable commitment and tireless drive!”
The online afternoons consisted of a World Café with the Coalitions’ partners, inspirational talks, expert panel sessions entitled: “The Benefits of Clustering between Enterprises”, “Behavioral NeuroScience & Going Green”, “Solving the Banana Waste Challenge“. The physical event consisted of an inspirational virtual talk by Abdel Rahman Al Halawani from “Asfrai Foundation”, and welcome notes from “Fondation Diane”, MedWaves and the Coalition’s partners. In addition to green announcements, fun and entertaining activities, this day also included collaboration, speed dating, and networking opportunities that were initiated for the entrepreneurs to get to meet other like-minded people & EcoSwitch Coalition partners.
The overall objective was to introduce the green entrepreneurs to EcoSwitch Coalition, a partnership of well-established institutions, NGOs and businesses that are passionate about growing the green ecosystem in Lebanon and the region. The EcoSwitch Coalition was created in 2020 to strengthen the support to eco-entrepreneurs in Lebanon, extend and multiply their positive impact through targeted assistance, in order to accelerate the transition towards social innovation and green circular entrepreneurship in the region. The coalition currently encompasses 25 partners, and its aim is to offer Eco-entrepreneurs knowledge-sharing events, capacity building activities, access to expertise, technical support, and financial support.