LEE stands for Libya Economic Empowerment project.
The project partnered with 3,503 women and youth entrepreneurs to facilitate sustainable job opportunities.
In Libya, business support networks for entrepreneurs in general, and for youth entrepreneurs in particular, are weak. As a result, promising entrepreneurs in need of mentoring, access to finance, and improved general business acumen are failing to commercialize good ideas and to develop job-creating businesses at a time of heightened economic fragility in the country.
Innovation and risk-taking suffer from lack of encouragement, infrastructure, and cultural restrictions. Women and youth in particular, face barriers to access to credit and market systems.
MEDA, in partnership with USAID, established an SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) development program that provided business-oriented youth with the capacity building training required to develop their businesses and take them to the next level. Women and youth SME owners developed and expanded their businesses through training, coaching/mentorship, networking, and buyer engagement opportunities. A matching grants fund helped propel the most promising businesses forward towards growth and job creation. The project also partnered with and help build nascent Libyan civil society organizations; a new possibility in post-Gadhafi Libya.