On Thursday, 10 Libyan universities gathered in Tunis to launch their Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centers, in the presence of EU officials, EU Member states representatives, Libyan officials, presidents of the participating universities and directors of university start-up Labs (USUL).
This launch is part of the European Union financed project ''Support to Libya for Economic Integration, Diversification and Sustainable employment (SLEIDSE)'' of 7,6 million EUR. After the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in June 2017 with 10 Libyan universities (Al Margheb, Benghazi, Gharyan, Misrata, Sebha, Sirte, Tobruk, Tripoli, and Zawia Aljufra), SLEIDSE has provided the Directors of USUL with more than 300 hours of training, in parallel with organising several study visits to business incubators and accelerators in France, Lebanon and Tunisia.Today, each one these 10 Libyan universities will gather in Tunis to launch their Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centers, in the presence of EU officials, Presidents of the participating universities and USUL Directors.
Ambassador Bettina Muscheidt, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union, underlined that:
'European Union is proud to support the dreams of young Libyans who are striving for a better future. The university incubators is one of the tools we have employed in the context of SLEIDSE project to support the diversification of the Libyan economy. We all know that the road ahead is full of obstacles, especially with what Libya is facing at the moment, but we, as European Union, are determined to support the youth to transform their ideas to reality and to make their dreams come true. And universities are the ideal places for young people to experiment with new ideas and be creative''.
In launching the USUL, the EU fosters an active and accessible startup ecosystem in Libya for young people across the country. On the legislative side, SLEIDSE worked closely with the universities and Libya Enterprise experts towards establishing the legal standing of incubators and start-up Labs – and a decree in this spirit was signed by the Minister of Higher Education on 14th of March 2018.
The participating universities, with the support of SLEIDSE, have identified nearly 100 potential student-entrepreneurs who received training on how to prepare and deliver a three-minute presentation about their business idea. From all these students’ presentations, 10 winners were selected as “best business idea” and earned the privilege of participation in a future bootcamp to be organised by SLEIDSE.
These 10 winners also joined the University Presidents and USUL Directors to visit a large public incubator in Tunis, Istic Startup Enterprise. This incubator is managed by the Tunisian Agency for the promotion of Industry and Innovation (APII) and is specialised on start-ups in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).