Lebanon faces significant challenges emanating from the war in Syria, including hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees, proportionate to the country’s population.The lack of established shelter and housing has resulted in widespread displacement across thousands of villages, communities and informal settlements. Based on current data, over 300,000 Syrian refugees have settled in the governorates of Beirut and Mount Lebanon alone.

Syrian refugee and Lebanese communities were already struggling with high unemployment rates and a weak economy, pre-crisis. As displacement extends and their savings deplete, the socio-economic vulnerability of refugees grows, putting downward pressure on host communities.

Confronted with a protracted crisis, humanitarian and development actors are becoming more involved in the provision of market-strengthening programs that tackle issues related to labor force participation, and the longer-term socio-economic needs of refugee and host country populations.

Organizations have started operating Livelihoods Centers that provide support to jobseekers, entrepreneurs, employers, and more recently, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). As part of this effort, Building Markets was engaged by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to conduct a market assessment to identify practical ways the IRC could provide meaningful support to Lebanenese MSMEs, with a particular focus on training and mentorship.

Leveraging over a decade of expertise in accelerating the growth of local SMEs in crisis-affected countries, Building Markets' report offers a snapshot of Lebanese small businesses operating in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. It highlights demographic information as well as perceptions, challenges, opportunities, and recommendations.

Read the full report here