Since its launch in 2018, SHIFT Social Innovation Hub, as part of the North revitalization hub “Bab Rizk,” has provided business development services to more than 300 small and micro enterprises in Qobbeh, Jabal Mohsen, and Tebbene, three of the most marginalized neighborhoods in Tripoli. The Bab Rizk revitalization hub is an initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Livelihoods and Inclusive Finance and Expansion (LIFE) project.
The project consists of a consortium of four partner NGOs: Dar Al Zahraa, Rene Moawad Foundation, and Akkarouna.
Supported businesses include tailoring, beauty care, industrial maintenance, food processing, and many others. In addition, SHIFT ensures active participation and empowerment of women within the communities it serves. Around 50% of all participants are women, many of whom are the main breadwinners of their families. The LIFE project also allows SHIFT to provide business training to approximately fourteen of these startups, which were recently identified as having strong future growth potential and were selected to receive in-kind grants. These startups are now operating and generating their own income.
An important component of USAID’s support to Bab Rizk is to provide basic business training to the youth overseeing small and micro enterprises so that they can learn essential skills to not only manage routine, day-to-day managerial operations but successfully market their product lines and expand their businesses when appropriate. Topics covered in the training include accounting and finance, operations and human resources, legal matters, customer service, and digital marketing. Furthermore, around 145 participating businesses have received in-kind grants to help them to add production lines; optimize services and increase production speed; enhance their marketing strategies to reach more customers; and create new job opportunities. As a result of USAID support, businesses supported under the LIFE project have been able to overcome the dire economic circumstances as well as the global COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, several businesses have generated decent earnings and hired new employees in order to successfully respond to the heightened demand for their products and services.