Freelancers & Businesses Leaving Lebanon As They Struggle To Find Reliable Connection

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Lebanon has been struggling with multiple crises that make operating a business, particularly one that requires reliable connectivity (internet and electricity), incredibly difficult.

As a result, many freelancers, startups, and companies have moved to neighboring countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, and UAE to preserve their income.

Businesses need stability and reliable infrastructure – especially those working for companies and clients abroad.

Lama, a developer who just signed up for a private booth in the 961Offices coworking space for the next 2 years, tells us she was preparing to move to Istanbul, Turkey. She freelances for clients primarily abroad in the GCC and United States.

Lama, like many others, began looking for apartments in Turkey and Portugal to keep her work flowing smoothly.

Similarly, Luna Safwan, a freelance journalist who had established herself in Lebanon but writes for international organizations like The Telegraph and The National News was forced to move to Istanbul to continue pursuing her career successfully.

Having a poor internet connection destructed her work. In a tweet, she said the following:

She tells The961 News: “I was so ashamed of leaving Lebanon, but then I remembered [that] to continue doing what I do, boldly, I can no longer exist in that country in the way I want to exist.”

The lack of options has forced people to adopt other alternatives, such as connecting from their mobile phone hotspot.

Even this has not been practical and efficient as the country is facing problems on a national scale with its telecommunication service providers.

Lebanese are known for their innovations, resilience, and business mind. In times of desperate need for 24 hours electricity and internet, business developers are working to fulfill this.

Anthony Kantara, CEO and director of The961, said: “We offer coworking and serviced offices with 24/7 electricity and Wifi that has fiber internet, which is the fastest in Lebanon too.”

Around the world, companies have been forced to shut their offices as the pandemic hit, shifting to working remotely. In Lebanon, however, it’s a different case scenario.

Many companies in Lebanon have made it an option to work remotely as rising fuel prices have been an extra burden for workers to cover their transport costs.

Many depend on funded projects with organizations from outside for their stream of income. This requires instant and continuous communication.

Companies all over Lebanon, and not just Beirut, have faced technical issues with providing stable internet connection and electricity to their staff. 

Shouf biosphere reserve, its headquarters located in Maaser el Shouf, has had no choice but to resort to solar panels to generate electricity.

Jihan Seif, Human Resources officer at the organization, tells The961 News: “Most of our projects involve online workshops, webinars, constant emails, and project proposals. They all need a good internet connection.”

Seif added: “Although the cost was more than $5000 but for the longer term it is very logical.”

Although this may be one of the sustainable ways to generate electricity, it is not an option for everyone to acquire as it is costly and requires a large space.

The961 hopes to provide a better environment for freelancers & business developers to operate in.

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