LWEE Phase I
MEDA’s Libya Women Economic Empowerment “LWEE” programme was among the first programs in Libya to offer business development training and is the first to systematically target women and encourage them to move forward economically.
Despite the challenges, Phase I was able to achieve its target of training 200 entrepreneurial women on fundamental business skills. The courses included six basic materials; principles of economics, entrepreneurship, small businesses, leadership, and administration, in addition to marketing principles.
Though originally budgeted and designed on a small scale, shortly after the training started in Tripoli it was clear that the demand and need was high in other locations in Libya, so working through local partners’ networks the program was expanded to other cities.
Phase I also implemented a business plan competition for which almost 600 women applied from all over Libya and which awarded matching grants ranging from 5000 – 30,000 LYD to 8 entrepreneurial women to start-up or expand their businesses.
LWEE Phase II
Phase II of the Libya Women Economic Empowerment “LWEE” programme continued to work with women-owned and managed businesses in urban and rural areas by enhancing business networks, market linkages, developing web enabled and SMS technologies, sustainable business and financial training programs, and tools for increased access to finance.
To that aim, the program focused on three main areas of activities in Phase II that include:
- Women Business Empowerment. This has worked with existing women-owned business networks within Libya and in the MENA region, facilitating the creation of new networks with the objective of strengthening linkages between M/SMEs and more established businesses.
- Virtual Business Incubation Services. Strengthening the capacity of providers of business development services to address the needs of M/SMEs, with a particular focus on women entrepreneurs, through a range of virtual business incubation services.
- Innovative Access to Finance Framework. This component explored alternative methods of financing such as private sector corporate social responsibility initiatives, value chain financing, and crowd funding.
In addition to the above mentioned, the LWEE project proposes to build-in a research and learning agenda to test selected training interventions in order to find sustainable means of reaching women entrepreneurs constrained by the local security situation and the cultural context.
In this phase a set of sustainable outcomes were designed to support stronger, more capable local organizations as well as build a network of women-led MSMEs that will contribute to greater economic opportunities for both women and men in Libya after the program has ended.