What is MIEP?
The World Bank is introducing a new approach to develop skills and entrepreneurship, which will first be implemented in Lebanon by the Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT). The Mobile Internet Ecosystem project (MIEP) will implement open innovation and crowdsourcing mechanisms to spur innovation and entrepreneurship and boost skills and talent creation in Lebanon’s economy. This new project will focus initially on the mobile Internet ecosystem (mobile apps), will involve innovation stakeholders (e.g., universities, industry clusters, start-ups, microenterprises, incubators, angel investors, venture capitalists, government) and will provide collaboration mechanisms to boost the effects of open innovation and crowdsourcing.
Lebanon offers a unique testing ground for applying open innovation and crowdsourcing to boost entrepreneurship and skills development. Lebanon hosts a number of the top universities in the Middle East and has a highly educated population. The country is bilingual or even trilingual and operates in multiple currencies, facilitating the development of applications for international markets. Despite constraints in the local business environment, Lebanon’s population is famously entrepreneurial, and the country has already organically developed many key elements of a technology ecosystem. This includes a relevant incubator, venture capital firms, forums and clusters and a number of successful mobile internet start-ups. Finally, there is a strong foundation of creative and banking industries which will provide a fertile ground for mobile Internet applications to develop across the economy.
Why mobile internet?
Mobile Internet provides an opportunity to develop entrepreneurship beyond local constraints and for start-ups to access global markets. Mobile Internet provides access to global market opportunities through mobile apps platforms (e.g., Apple iOS, Google Android). This significantly reduces transaction costs for the delivery of new products and services, allows start-ups to scale rapidly, and reduces the local constraints for entrepreneurship. Mobile Internet provides a vehicle for skills development for entrepreneurship for university students, entrepreneurs and businesses alike in Lebanon.
How will MIEP strengthen mobile internet in Lebanon?
MIEP aims to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in the Lebanese mobile Internet ecosystem. The project will boost local entrepreneurship culture and offer incentives for Lebanese talent to remain in the country by helping to develop startup projects. It will enhance the local talent pool’s skills to meet global standards of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, and it will help increase ICT-enabled service. Finally, it will extend the use of ICT tools, particularly mobile Internet applications, to traditionally competitive industries in Lebanon in order to increase their competitiveness in international markets.
MIEP is a 4-year program with three main components that target the specific needs of the talent pool and the industry:
Skills development and attraction of talent
This component increases entrepreneurial skills and practical training of the Lebanese talent pool to enhance its competitiveness in the mobile industry through two main activities:
First, this component will develop a series of mobile Internet crowdsourcing competitions (e.g., hackathons, app challenges), paired with training, a mentorship and international exchange program for entrepreneurs and programmers. This program will result in a final competition among innovators competing for incubation by local incubators and financing programs.
Second, the component will create a university-industry platform for industry internships and co-creation of projects. Here, final-year students in multidisciplinary programs will team up with industry to solve real challenges from companies through a start-up or product projects in a 6-month timeframe.
Bolstering the mobile Internet industry
This component creates the instruments for industry to interact and develop innovation networks to increase its maturity and global competitiveness. The project will create a “MiHub” (Mobile Internet Hub), which will provide a forum for Lebanese ecosystem actors to meet, coordinate, learn, and adopt the international knowledge and best practices that are currently missing in Lebanon. This hub will include a living lab and it will bring together different local industries to interact and share practical expertise on how to develop and apply mobile Internet tools to increase their reach and competitiveness.
Enhancing the mobile Internet enabling environment
This component assesses Lebanon’s competitive position in ICT-enabled industries to identify areas where improvements are needed. In this process, it will develop a roadmap and recommendations to the government for reforms that can help improve Lebanon’s ICT competitiveness.
Click here for official World Bank project documentation.