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© MedGeneration
Resounding success for MedGeneration Regional Seminar
6/10/2015

The event was held on 16 and 17 September 2015 in Beirut, Lebanon. 14 innovative initiatives related to mobilisation, engagement and investment of Diaspora, from 10 different countries, were presented and discussed. The seminar aimed at sharing experiences on services and tools, potentially or currently available, to better engage Diaspora talents in the economic development of the region.

 

The event was organised by ANIMA and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (CCIA-BML). ANIMA Investment Network and its partners had mobilised experts from all over the world to showcase their initiatives. 50 executives from private and public organisations working on strategies to better engage Diaspora in the business development of their countries attended, with a wide range of organisations : business support organisations, investment promotion agencies, economic development agencies, Diaspora networks, Chambers of commerce, incubators and accelerators, etc

 

Identify and mobilise high-level Diaspora profiles

Diaspora includes indeed a wide range of profiles. Experience shows that the best way to engage Diaspora is to identify beforehand exactly what these talents are mobilised for and adapt the approach accordingly. Another shared recommendation is to cross mobilisation approaches: online mobilisation campaigns and dedicated web tools, target sector ecosystems and networks, organise specific events. Among other contributions from Morocco, United Kingdom and Jordan, Cyntia Vega, founder of the Mexican Talent Network in the UK, insisted on the importance of a long term approach and on the organisation of innovative events, like festivals, to build a community able to contribute to the development of Mexico from abroad.

 

Engage high-profile Diaspora in the development and internationalisation of local entrepreneurs

Speakers met on several key success factors to engage Diaspora talents. They insisted on leveraging the numerous existing initiatives and business networks. Kate MacInnes, International networks Manager for Scottish Enterprise, presented a support package addressed to Scottish companies with potential for accelerated growth in global markets. Scottish Enterprise insists indeed on how "advisors networks" established abroad can support entrepreneurs during early stage and how productive networks are a vital element in creating a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

 

Attract productive investment with the diaspora channel

Among other initiatives showcased, Joanna Murphy revealed how Ireland has mobilised its Diaspora to respond to the 2008 economic crisis. The programme Connect Ireland aims at harness the potential of Ireland’s Diaspora (70 million accross the world), reconnect with them and stimulate FDI in national economy. To that end, Connect Ireland develops a clear message toward Diaspora: “register, refer, reward”, asking this public to act as ambassadors for Ireland. With 52000 connectors and 100 Projects a month, this Irish initiative made a strong impression.

 

Enriched by this initiatives, the dynamic launch of the seminar was innovative, with not only a North to South approach, but also a South to South approach : Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco presented their most successful initiatives. Zoomaal (Lebanese crowdfunding platform in the Arab world) and Babyloan (French website of loans for microcredit) also presented their model, where projects financed by the Diaspora are often essential.

 

Delegations from the 3 countries partners of the MedGeneration project- which one of the final objectives is to develop in each country a sustainable offer to better engage economic Diaspora- attended, with 25 Lebanese stakeholders, 12 Palestinian and 8 from Jordan. The three delegation have benefited from a high-standard international benchmarking, with best practices and tools to mobilise Diaspora for economic development. They will build on that to strengthen their capacity of mobilisation, rely on the best practices and adapt them to their specific context. To that end, the Regional Seminar has been followed by local seminars in each country to build such sustainable offer and mobilise Lebanese, Jordanian and Palestinian Diaspora.