From the overload of trash and lack of electricity, to a crippled infrastructure, poor urban planning and neglect of the underprivileged, Lebanon faces a variety of significant environmental and social challenges. Yet, while most of us may view these challenges as obstacles, for high impact social enterprises, they are tremendous opportunities to make a difference and play a role in redesigning Lebanon’s future.
Social entrepreneurship in MENA is growing and NGOs, universities, governments and key players within the startup ecosystem are partnering up to increase the awareness, investment, and overall impact of social enterprises.
SoUK.LB, an initiative by the British Embassy of Beirut, DAI, Alfanar and AltCity Impact, is one example of such a partnership that is aspiring to strengthen and promote the social enterprise sector by supporting social entrepreneurs and scalable social enterprises at all stages.
What makes social enterprises so unique?
The growth of tech has created so much possibility for real value creation. Social enterprises embrace these possibilities but with three things in mind, people, profit and our planet. They are unique because they blend traditional business models with traditional charity models to create innovative products, services and processes; focused on both social value and financial returns. The key characteristics of social enterprises models include being self-sustainable, profitable and mission-driven.
Have an Idea? Take it to the next stage with SoUK.LB!
So, do you have an idea that stands to achieve a transformational social and/or environmental change? If the answer is yes, SoUK.LB wants YOU!
SoUK.LB is calling for all social entrepreneurs with innovative social ideas to join their Idea-Stage Accelerator to transform their ideas into successful social enterprises.
At the idea stage, SoUK.LB will provide startups with the necessary training and guidance to formulate and master their idea pitch, which is critical in gaining the trust, confidence and funding to help grow their enterprise.
Qualification for idea-stage enterprises means you just need an idea that tackles an environmental, economical or social problem. Do you identify with any of the below points? If so, you qualify to apply.
I have an idea for a startup
I'm not sure if my startup idea is valid
I don't have customers
I still have not built the actual product or a prototype for the product
Step 2: Eligibility
Next,check your eligibility - your social enterprise must meet the following criteria:
Has less than 3 years of existence as an initiative or project
Has more than 3 years of existence but hasn’t tested either social impact or revenue generation
Has more than 3 years of existence [as an SARL] and is looking to create a social enterprise
Has a social mission that addresses a social or environmental need or challenge in Lebanon?
Has the potential to generate income from its product or service and market sources (i.e. will not rely entirely on grants)
Has the potential for scaling nationally and internationally?
Uses technology to support its operations, scalability and/or impact
Step 3: Familiarize yourself with the process
When approved, entrepreneurs will be invited to a round of interviews from October 6 to 13. They will then get a chance to move on to SoUK.LB Phase I, the Startup Sprint from October 6 to 13. Winners of the Startup Sprint will receive a cash prize and selected Sprint participants also move onto SoUK.LB Phase II from October 16 to November 3. Both Phase I and Phase II of SoUK.LB are organized by Bootcamp.
Learn more about the Sprint and Bootcamp stages below:
15 applications will be shared with the judges 2 days before judging. Judges will then have the chance to meet and score the 15 teams in order to select 10 social enterprises that will receive grants and take part in the acceleration training stage from November 13 to March 2.
Step 4: APPLY
If you meet the above qualifications and eligibility criteria and believe your idea has what it takes – APPLY NOW (Startup Sprint Applications close on October 6)