Beirut, Lebanon: January 19, 2017: “Agrytech” is Lebanon’s Agri-Food Innovation Hub, a program jointly funded by the Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands and Berytech. It was launched on January 19, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut, with speeches from Mr. Maroun N. Chammas, Chairman & CEO of Berytech, H.E. Mr. Han-Maurits Schaapveld a.i., Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Netherlands and Mrs. Rafif Berro representing H.E. Mr. Raed Khoury, Minister of Economy & Trade.
The program aims to source the top startups with disruptive innovations in the Agri-Food sector and provide them with the adequate technical and business resources as well as community support.
Startups and SMEs with solutions across the Agri-Food value chain are encouraged to apply.
The pillars of the Agrytech program are:
- The Accelerator, which aims to advance innovative ideas in the Agri-Food sector into successful businesses with a global impact.
- The Cluster, which is envisioned to be a catalyst promoting a smart Agri-food innovation hub.
- The Resources platform, which is developed to create effective cooperation, raise awareness on the importance of integrating innovation in the Agri-Food sector, and disseminating information on various topics and themes of relevance to the sector.
Advances in technology are key to the future of food and agriculture, given the global challenges presented and the need for innovation to address them. Under the slogan: “Catalyzing Innovations From Farm To Fork”, the Agrytech Accelerator is open to Startups and SMEs at the idea and early stage with engineering and tech solution including but not limited to Robotics, Remote sensing, Automation, E-commerce, Traceability, Payments, Big Data, Artificial intelligence, Sensors, IOT, Internet, Mobile Payments, Drones, Logistics.
- 30 startups will be given the opportunity to build a minimum viable product over the period of two months.
- 15 startups will go into a 4 months acceleration program to validate concept.
- 8 finalists will be able to join the 6 months incubation program, potential internationalization, and benefit from investment.
In sum, the program provides up to $40K in grants and up to one year of support for each startup.
Further, the speeches highlighted the program’s scope of solutions as transcending the national remit to extend to the regional and global spheres as well.
Ambassador Schaapveld reiterated the “importance of economic growth and job creation for a stable and more prosperous Lebanon. This contribution will provide a better future for the Lebanese youth. This program is part of a larger stabilization contribution of 86 Mln EUR aimed at reinforcing Lebanon’s resilience.”
Maroun N. Chammas, Chairman & CEO of Berytech, highlighted: “Together with the Embassy, we aim to grow these initiatives and support the startups in scaling their activities and accessing international markets through business collaborations and exchange, in addition to developing further Lebanon’s knowledge economy and making a strategic Agri-food innovation hub and ecosystem. Berytech, initiated by USJ, brings to the program 15 years of expertise in supporting, growing and funding innovative entrepreneurs. “
Mrs. Berro added: “In Lebanon, SMEs constitute more than 90% of firms in the country, and employ half the population. Their revenue contribution however stands at about one third of the total, well in disproportion with the number of SMEs; this implies a significant room for improvement in that regard.
The message I wish to pass on to entrepreneurs is that the ecosystem has witnessed huge leaps over the past years. Opportunities in the Agro-food sector abound, and this initiative by Berytech and the Kingdom of the Netherlands constitutes a solid addition to the continuously increasing spectrum of support possibilities available to entrepreneurs and SMEs. We encourage and welcome collaborations with experienced markets such as the Netherlands, and see the bridge to the EU market that this project brings forward as a very valuable contribution.”
The project will benefit from the expertise of Start Life, the incubator of Wageningen University and Research Center and Food Valley NL, the leading cluster supporting innovation in the agriculture and food business. The program partners will share their knowledge and expertise and bridge innovations between Lebanon and Europe.
The launching event ended on a call to action to “Apply to the Agrytech Accelerator Program today” until April 19, 2017.
To learn about the program visit the website www.agrytech.org
To view the event’s photos and videos, please visit: www.agrytechlaunch.org