During ArabNet conference, there was presented the French incubator “Esa Smart” program with a double meaning, accelerator and start-up incubator, mainly those operating in the digital economy. The program is aimed both at companies still in the planning phase (incubator), both companies have already begun, which will be accompanied by a period of nine months in order to facilitate their growth (accelerator). The exact date for the start of the project and details on the selection criteria are still being studied.
Smart Esa, which has the support of the Embassy of France, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bank of Lebanon, involves an investment of approximately 5 million dollars over 5 years, which will be made available by various investors.
The program will be managed by ESA, Ecole Superieure des Affaires in Beirut. The ESA, is based on its statute that its experience in management education, is the ideal tool to support the new Lebanon policy in the field of new technologies. The project will act as a bridge between the two countries: on the one hand incubated Lebanese companies will benefit from easier access to the French and European markets; the other, the school will be a magnet for French companies and will help them develop their activities in Lebanon.
With this project, France wishes to build on the experience of the French Tech, an experiment launched by the French government in 2013 to encourage the development of an ecosystem conducive to business creation. The “French Tech”, which at birth consisted of a connection network between French cities, has subsequently internationalized, until you have in 2015 eleven hubs abroad, including New York, San Francisco, London, Cape Town, Barcelona, Abidjan and Montreal. ESA wants to make Beirut the twelfth hub of the network.