Alyafi and London Stock Exchange Group partner to launch ELITE Levant

29 November 2018 3 min. read

The London Stock Exchange Group has signed a collaboration deal with Lebanon-based professional services outfit Alyafi Group to bring its business growth accelerator ELITE to Lebanon, Oman and Kuwait.

ELITE – the international business support and capital-raising programme of the London Stock Exchange Group, which owns the London Stock Exchange, FTSE International and Italian bourse among others, has signed a collaboration agreement with Scale Up SAL, a part of the Lebanon-based professional services and management consulting firm Alyafi Group, which has offices in ten countries across the MENA region.

Further supported by the Institute for Finance and Governance (IFG) and the Capital Market Authority (CMA) of Lebanon, the collaboration with the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) will see Scale Up SAL operate its local ELITE programme – the first to be launched in the Levant – which provides training, mentoring and capital-raising support for mid-market companies preparing for their next stage of growth.

With the number of companies in the ELITE community recently surpassing the 1,000 mark, and those originating from 35 countries worldwide, selected small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from Lebanon, Oman and Kuwait will now be given the opportunity to join a year-long programme of scale-up support, including guidance on management best practices, relations building with potential investors, and the facilitation of access to funding.Alyafi and London Stock Exchange Group partner to launch ELITE Levant"By working with ELITE, we aim to provide promising Lebanese companies, mostly family owned, with an opportunity to tap into the best global expertise to grow their businesses and expand their operations and growth, in Europe, Asia and the Arab countries,” said Scale Up Chairman Mowafak Alyafi, noting the expertise of the London Stock Exchange Group and its 300 year heritage – with the LSEG founded in 1698.

Alyafi, managing partner of the Alyafi Group and a twenty-year veteran and managing partner of Grant Thornton, added that the agreement would further benefit ELITE companies in their inbound aspirations. “This collaboration opens the door for ambitious ELITE companies, from 35 countries around the world to join efforts with Lebanese entrepreneurs to benefit from their experience and relations with the Arab Countries.”

The two parties contend that the choice of Lebanon as the location for the launch of the first ELITE programme in the Levant reflects the country’s rich business growth potential as it continues to rebound from recent economic troubles, with the country host to over 15,000 SMEs – the largest concentration in the Levant. According to ELITE and Scale UP however, while SMEs make up 90 percent of locally registered firms and employ half of its workforce, collectively they only contribute to just a quarter of the Lebanese GDP.

“There is an indisputable shift in momentum in Lebanon’s economy,” said ELITE CEO Luca Peyrano, “and we are delighted to welcome Lebanese companies to ELITE’s dynamic international community of over 1,000 businesses. We are committed to supporting ambitious companies from across the region develop international best practice, create new jobs and ultimately drive economic prosperity.”

Founded in 1975 as Yafi Brothers & Co, Scale Up SAL parent Alyafi Group serves small and established regional businesses with a range of provisions in the professional services domain, including in auditing, tax and accounting and with financial and management consulting. A member of the Leading Edge Alliance (LEA Global) international accounting association, Alyafi has outlets in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria among its list of Middle Eastern locations.