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FAQ
Circular 331
What is a Start-up?

A startup is a young company that is just beginning to develop. Startups are usual small and initially financed and operated by a handful of founders. These companies offer a product or a service that is not currently being offered elsewhere in the market, or that the founders believe is being offered in an inferior manner.

A startup usually cease to be startup after approximately three years in business or once it is acquired by a larger company, possess more than one office, over five people on the board or if the founders have sold their shares.

Why is circular 331 interesting for Start-ups?

The Central Bank of Lebanon implemented Circular 331 with the purpose of incentivizing Lebanese banks to invest equity in: 

  • Start-ups;
  • Incubators or accelerators the object of which is limited to supporting the development, success and growth of startups in Lebanon; and 
  • Companies whose object is limited to investing venture capital in start-ups.

The local banks receive a seven-year interest-free credit from BDL, which can be invested in treasury bonds with an interest rate of 7%. In return, the bank commits to investing in the knowledge economy. Local banks can invest up to 3% of their capital in start-up support entities, funds or directly into startups. BDL guarantees 75% of the investment, de-risking it by mitigating the potential losses and reducing them to a mere 25%.

What are the criteria for a Start-up to benefit from circular 331?

To ensure the circular is appropriately used and that it serves its intended purpose, BDL has laid down ground rules for qualifying. The company should be a Lebanese joint-stock company (SAL) with nominal shares; its work should rely on knowledge economy, support creative intellectual skills, and have an enriching impact on the economic and social growth and on job creation in the Lebanese market.

Therefore a startup company in the ICT and Tech sector is highly qualified to benefit from this circular and especially if it is eligible to IDAL incentives. 

CONTACT THE BSU
Lazarieh Tower, 4th Floor, Emir Bechir Street, Riad El-Solh Beirut, Lebanon,P.O.Box 113-7251
Phone
+961 1 983306/7/8 Ext:286
Fax
+961 1 981302