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Syrian refugee micro-entrepreneurs in Lebanon and Jordan
Assistant Professor Ramzi Fathallah (AUB, BICAR) in conjunction with the Issam Fares Institute (AUB) recently conducted a study on “Informal adaptive mechanisms among refugees in the Middle East,” funded by the Ford Foundation. Adopting an exploratory approach, the study examined the entrepreneurial experiences of 37 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and 20 Syrian refugees in Jordan. In particular, the research focused on the ways Syrian refugee entrepreneurs adapt and operate their ventures in informal institutional arrangements.
1. According to a number of NGOs’ country directors interviewed for this study and who work with displaced Syrians, Syrian men and women are by nature traders and business-oriented, and quite entrepreneurial as refugees.
2. Different types of adaptive mechanisms which reflect the different shades of grey within which they operate their businesses in the informal market, were identified. In many instances, refugees were being taken advantage of by their local partners or landlords.
3. First, camouflage was the most common mechanism due to its ability to provide an appearance of compliance with regulations and norms, while still operating the business informally. The entrepreneurs made their business look more Lebanese or Jordanian.
4. Second, informal partnering with local citizens was also common among Syrian refugee entrepreneurs.  They engaged in partnering with some of their Lebanese/Jordanian friends or family members. These partnerships were informal and based on verbal agreements between the Syrian refugee and local partner.
5. Many Syrian refugees have established and invested a relatively large amount of money in their ventures, so they are not willing to let go of easily what they have been working on during the last six years or so in Lebanon or Jordan.
6. Whatever reforms are being made to support Syrian refugees’ work, the how remains as important as the what. Many issues remain unclear for Syrian refugee entrepreneurs. 
Covid-19 in Lebanon - The 'Market In Crisis' Approach by Mercy Corps 
The pre-existing economic crisis and political uprising in Lebanon has intensified due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Various levels of the economy are affected, including a breakdown in the supply chain of basic goods, dramatic increases in price of essential goods, reduction in purchasing power, an increasing trade deficit, rise in unemployment, and shut down of numerous businesses. Increasingly, this has decreased the ability of vulnerable communities to meet their basic needs.
Mercy Corps, a lead actor in Economic development in Lebanon, is focused on meeting these needs, by proving coping and recovery implementations through its ‘Markets in Crisis’ approach.
Their actions include:
1. Maintaining purchasing power through cash transfers and working through government safety net programs. Working with payment providers and leveraging technology where relevant, cash transfers will provide flexibility for recipients to meet a variety of needs though their local markets.
2. Supporting financial services and liquidity, and helping providers adapt their product/service offer. Partnering with formal and informal Financial Service Providers will help institutions retain liquidity while continuing to provide essential financial services
3. Supporting supply chain networks, with a specific focus on transport and adoption of local solutions. Mercy Corps plays a role in sharing market analysis and collaborating with government authorities to improve their COVID-19 control policies, as well as helping traders and transporters of critical goods access special permits.
4. Supporting labor markets and essential small businesses to withstand and recover from the crisis. To build the resilience of labor markets, Mercy Corps will engage critical supporting functions and actors, for example job searching services, or health and safety services.
The "Market in Crisis" approach aims to alleviate the short term economic shock following the October 17th 2019 political uprising, subsequent economic collapse, and Covid-19 disruption. As the crisis worsens, the humanitarian sector, government, and civil society continue to explore ways to provide relief for those most vulnerable during this crisis.
Research Assistant Needed
From 31st of June to 31st of August 

The Business-in-Conflict Research Group are looking for a qualified research assistant to support research and admin related tasks in the social sciences field. A suitable candidate would be at Masters or Ph.D. level. Salary ranges from $1000 to $2500 per month, depending on the candidate's experience.
Please contact BICARs Communications Manager Dalia Haidar for further information.
Featured Publications and Reports
Daou, A., Joseph, J., Yousif, D., Fathallah, R., Reyes, G. (2019). Intellectual capital and resilience in torn societies. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 20(4), 598-618.

Joseph, J. and Sumer, F (2019). Public Sector Reforms in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Tackling the Socially Constructed Barriers to Change. Palgrave Macmillan
Partner Publications

van Dorp, M. (2019). Ready to engage? An introduction for civil society organisations and other stakeholders on the role of business in fragile and conflict-affected settings. Amsterdam/The Hague: SOMO/Oxfam Novib/Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding. 

Rettberg, A., Miklian, J. & Medina, D. (2019). Corporate Strategies to Assist Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in Colombia. Oslo: PRIO

Miklian, J. & Rettberg, A. (2019). From War-Torn to Peace-Torn? Mapping Business Strategies in Transition from Conflict to Peace in Colombia. In Jason Miklian, John Elias Katsos, Rina M. Alluri (eds.)  Business, Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development, Taylor and Francis Group, pp. 110 – 128. 

Rettberg, A. (2019). The Colombian Private Sector in Colombia's Transition to Peace. In Deborah Avant (ed.), Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence, Oxford University Press, pp. 255 – 278. 

Rettberg A. (2020). The Role of Business in Peace Processes in Latin America. Encyclopedia of Latin American Politics. Oxford University Press. 

Business-In-Conflict Areas Research Group (BICAR)
 +961 1 374 374 Ext: 3716
P. O. Box 11-0236, Riad El-Solh , Beirut, Lebanon 1107 2020 

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BICAR · Hamra · Beirut 1107 · Lebanon

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