April 19, 2023

Report: Going Green Works. Findings and solutions for green businesses in the Middle East

The International Labor Organization believes that globally 24 million new jobs can be created by 2030 if the right policies to promote a greener economy are put in place. 

However, the report also outlines that if current trends continue, there could be net job losses in the Middle East (-0.48 per cent) and Africa (-0.04 per cent), due to the dependence of these regions on fossil fuel and mining, respectively. Businesses in fragile and conflict-affected countries require extra support to transition to more sustainable business models in order to meet the UN Climate Goals by 2030.

SPARK’s new report, The GreenWorks Effect: Unlocking Job Opportunities Through Green Transformation in the Middle East, showcases the findings from a comprehensive survey of 100 entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Türkiye, Lebanon and Jordan.

The survey primarily targeted entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs that are actively participating in the green economy in their respective contexts to understand more about their needs. The report also incorporates qualitative input from interviews with economic and financial experts in the field of green entrepreneurship. These discussions help to identify key topics, emerging trends and solutions for green entrepreneurs.

The findings give an indication of the current business needs associated with greening and identifies unique challenges and opportunities for green entrepreneurship and transitioning towards more sustainable practices. 

Findings and solutions for green entrepreneurs

72% of businesses are going green
Green businesses have expanded in the Middle East over the past few years, with many registering as environmentally compliant firms or operating in fields that focus on sustainable and green business models. SPARK’s survey found that 72% are either engaged in green entrepreneurship or have expressed interest in transitioning into an environmentally sustainable business model. While industry focus varies, it is evident that more climate or environmental solution-oriented small businesses are emerging to solve a problem or contribute to the growth of such industries.

Investment Opportunities
One major challenge for businesses everywhere, not only green businesses, is access to funding. However, the green entrepreneurs we surveyed claim to face an even more limited pool of funding resources. Globally, investment trends appear to be growing within the green sector, with more opportunities for businesses in renewable energy, cleantech and agritech. Green businesses in Türkiye and the Middle East need to be better connected to relevant investment opportunities, and investors need to be made aware of high-potential growth companies that have the potential to generate positive social and environmental impact in their regions.

Government Policies
Governments in Türkiye, Lebanon and Jordan recognise the importance of supporting green businesses. In Türkiye, the country’s Green Deal Action Plan is a roadmap towards supporting green transformation in relevant policy areas, particularly establishing compliance with the European Green Deal. In Jordan, the National Green Growth Plan is aimed at socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth by focusing on transitioning to a green economy. Finally, Lebanon has introduced the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan to reduce energy consumption and increase renewable energy into the electricity grid. However, despite this progress, bureaucratic systems in these countries can be streamlined to ensure that talented entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs can operate efficiently and effectively, which in turn boosts national economic growth, job creation and environmental protection. 


Based on our findings, to facilitate the growth of green entrepreneurship in these countries, several actions should be taken:

  • Support Green Transition: Policies that introduce tax incentives and special loan programmes should support enterprises building eco-friendly operations or those providing green products and services.
  • Facilitate Access to Funding: Develop initiatives to connect green startups with potential investors, and create funding opportunities tailored to the needs of the green entrepreneurship industry.
  • Foster Connections: Develop platforms and hold events that encourage collaboration and networking between green startups, other businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organisations.
  • Provide Training and Mentorship: Establish programmes that offer training and mentorship to green startups, fostering the development of skills, knowledge, and expertise within the industry.
  • Support Green Marketing: Provide targeted marketing and promotional assistance to green startups, helping them gain visibility and effectively reach their target markets.
  • Match Values with Work: Match green jobs with ‘green employees’ who hold environmental values and beliefs and have an ambition to join the sector. This can happen through green job designs.

Overall, green entrepreneurship has significant potential to contribute to a more sustainable future in Türkiye, Jordan, and Lebanon. While there are challenges to overcome, the support of investors, governments and local business-support ecosystems, can help green entrepreneurs to transition and scale within the sector, for planet and profit. 

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