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Leading Chilean Changemakers Meet Lebanese Entrepreneurship Players

Linked to the MIEP initiative , an Ecosystem Knowledge-Exchange Week was organized by the World Bank, the Ministry of Telecommunications, and Berytech between July 20-25, bringing Chile’s Startup community and innovation Ecosystems experts to Lebanon to meet with active players in the Lebanese entrepreneurship landscape.

This initiative included dynamic activities and meetups, aiming at bridging Chilean and Lebanese actors involved in innovation and entrepreneurship. Targeted study tour meetings with ecosystem partners, focus groups, and workshops presented an exceptional opportunity to exchange ideas, share best practices and develop collaboration around startup hubs, maker communities and open innovation to support the development of competitive startups.

The study tour also included a public event entitled “Chile-Beirut-Startup Ecosystem Knowledge Exchange Forum” where the Chilean delegation presented their startup and innovation ecosystem. It was an amazing networking and inspiring event, bringing all community players, partners and active innovators under one roof, after a dynamic week, on July 23, at the Radisson Blu Martinez Hotel.

The forum hosted more than 100 attendees of which were investors, entrepreneurs, academic and government representatives in addition to ecosystem partners. The forum looked to engage the changemakers of Chile in a conversation to learn from the bountiful expertise that had transformed Chile into the entrepreneurial hub of Latin America. The Chilean entrepreneurial leaders presented practical examples, ideas and actions to promote innovation and maximize social and economic impact. They also responded to questions about local challenges and came up with fruitful recommendations.

Dr. Walid Karam, manager of the Financial and Procurement Management Team of MIEP and ICT adviser to Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb, who represented the Minister, started the event with the opening remarks highlighting the hard work done so far to make the MIEP project happen, in addition to the importance of this initiative to Lebanon. Victor Mulas, Innovation Specialist at the World Bank, added to the welcoming remarks: “The idea today behind this activity is to share experiences and best practices among two ecosystems from countries that have similar economic conditions.”

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Then, presenter Macarena Pola, Co-founder at Santiago MakerSpace, gave tips on collaboration and its benefits of shared experience and learning. As a product designer, she believes in the ability of engaging people through stories and shared experiences of learning and development. “A maker space is a place for work where you can find tools and people”; “imagine that you can change the world and most importantly collaborate and make it diverse” stated Macarena.
The 2nd speaker featured Sebastian Vidal, Executive Director of Startup Chile, who took the conversation further by explaining the idea of changing a country’s future through the success of global start-ups. Explaining their beginnings, Vidal stated: “our challenge was to create global mentality and an ecosystem for Startup Chile.” He also explained Startup Chile’s recipe to “attract, transform, and create.” Vidal is also a mentor in different accelerator and entrepreneurship programs such as Stanford Ignite and Founder Institute.

Afterwards, Chilean changemaker Carolina Rossi spoke on “Generating A Local Ecosystem With A Global Push”. Rossi explained the essential concept of “community” to an ecosystem, which requires the building of networks, mixing abilities, and serving needs. She believes in Lebanon’s ability to move forward in the global context: “Lebanon has everything to be the pole of innovation of MENA but it has a lack of PR.” Rossi is currently Head of the Social Innovation Center at Finis Terrae University, Chapter Director of Startup Grind, was the former Director of business development at Startup Chile, and was previously named one of the Top 100 Young Leaders of Chile (2014).

Rossi was followed by Alejandra Winter, Operations Director at Idea Factory, and previously consultant on innovation processes. “If you need all people to be part of your initiative, it needs to be trendy”. Winter further explained the notion of a community where collaboration would lead to innovative development, provided that the purpose of the community served its needs, and appealed to the majority of its people.

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The talks were followed by a panel discussion with the audience, led by
Yasser Akkaoui , Chairman and General Manager of K Concept Holding raising all participants interventions into a dynamic conversation.

Finally, a cocktail reception took place, adding a warm networking atmosphere to the event.

The exchange week brought knowledge and potential plans to strengthen Lebanon’s ability to compete with other regional markets as a knowledge-based economy and add value to sectors, helping stimulate ICT-based competitiveness and economic growth.

About MIEP project:
The Mobile Internet Ecosystem Project (MIEP) fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent creation to increase competitiveness and boost skills. This initiative was developed by The World Bank, introducing a new approach to develop skills and entrepreneurship, and which will first be implemented in Lebanon by the Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT).
MIEP is implemented through a series of activities that include co-creation workshops, open innovation competitions, 21st-century skills development programs for kids, and more.

More information available on http://www.mie-p.org/

Check out Event Tweets on #chileLBN
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