By Amr Farkash.
Tripoli, 14 November 2013:
This month sees the launch of the largest event on entrepreneurship worldwide – the Global Entrepreneurship . . .[restrict]Week (GEW) and Libya will be participating by host a GEW event for first time in its history.
Libya scored 187 out of 189 in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” 2013 report – proof of how much reform is needed to kick-start the private sector and reinvigorate entrepreneurship in Libya.
The question is whether the task is able to make the transformation? The answer is no, never is impossible. Yet, we need to move from the back seat position to the driver’s seat and start making things happen on the ground.
According to the World Bank’s Report “Doing Business” Libya Champions in one area above the MENA averages which is “Getting Electricity.” Certainly, we need to champion in more areas than that.
Company formation is the one to start up with. We need to decrease the period of incorporation which currently takes on average five weeks. A number of areas need to be tackled swiftly in order to create a friendly environment for entrepreneurs in Libya like: (according to the WB’s “Doing Business” report.
1. Ease of Access to Credit
2. Property Registration
3. Investors’ Protection
4. Law Enforcement
Is that it? Would such measures be sufficient to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship in Libya? Of course not, other areas need to be tackled and developed too. Professional training and business mentoring need to develop in Libya in order to offer skilled labor for newly established enterprises, as well as the much valued business advice that maturing organisations need during the startup phase to decrease the risk of failure.
Also, aligned with the training, comes labour law reform, an area in need of special attention and definitely would aid startups in their business journey in raising employment levels.
Discipline needs to be strongly encouraged and recognised as a key ingredient for success. The culture of one-time deals nurtured during Qaddafi’s era has created a culture of complacency and state dependency.
This can be dealt with through presenting to the society successful case studies and through national state campaigns. An example of a successful startup is Rawaabit, an ISP (Internet Service Provider), which is growing rapidly and stands a strong chance of competing with the state owned provider in a matter of few short years.
More media coverage should focus on such startups and show their success as this only enforces the idea, that even with the current eco-system, and state affairs, companies do emerge to the surface, it only takes dedication, focus and relentless efforts.
The Libyan private sector is the way forward, and we need to put forward a bottom up approach in order to succeed, and encourage entrepreneurs and SMEs’ owners to do business and grow.
As Agatha Christie eloquently puts it “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Amr Farkash will be participating in GEW Libya from 18-24 November. For more details see: www.gew.co/countries/libya [/restrict]