Profiles of main tech parks, accelerators, hackathons
Saif Al-Islam had projects to open up accelerators and has managed to establish a number of incubators in universities and research institutes. But these are state run and they follow government policies including hiring people with degrees and academics, with trainers usually lacking the necessary skills as well as credible experience. Libya is ranked 140 out of 144 countries for ICT readiness and last (144th) on innovation on the World Economic Forum 2015 Global Competitiveness Index. In the same report Libya was ranked the worst country in three categories out of the total ten in the 2015 Networked Readiness Index (NRI). These were Government Usage, Economic Impacts and Social Impacts.
Libya has a number of organisations that are responsible of fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, but they are mostly part of the government: the ministry of Industry has an entity called Industrial Research Center (IRC), which has a number of laboratories and an office that hands out patents, but it lacks funding and proper management; the Ministry of Higher Education and Research runs the Libya Authority for Research, Science and Technology (LARST), which has 33 research centres across the country.
There is also a number of business incubators, four of which are based in the major universities and are therefore very student-centred.
The private sector, NGOs and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) seem to be doing much better and have more impact.
Established in 2010, Tatweer Research is based in Benghazi and is one of the most vibrant and active Hi-Tech R&D companies in Libya. It recently launched its Tatweer Entrepreneurship Campus (TEC) in Benghazi, with plans to open more branches in Tripoli and other cities in the coming years.
She codes is a women-led and -focused startup that teaches coding to Libyan women and children.
Fablab Libya is a non-profit organisation based in Benghazi, which focuses on delivering training to young children and women on various aspects of technology.
BYTE is a social enterprise based in Benghazi, and it recently launched its co-working space.
Abhath is a newly established social enterprise that designs and manufactures prosthetics.
There is no innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem to link all of these organisations and thus they work independently, without any clear impact. Despite the effort from international organisations and international donors, there are a number of programs that focus on economic diversification and innovation such as the EU-funded Support to Libya for Economic Integration, Diversification and Sustainable Employment (SLEIDSE) which is managed by Experise France.