Posted on February 23, 2019
The first edition of the Maroun N. Chammas Recognition Award ceremony was held this Saturday evening where the winners of the two awards for 2018 were announced. QUADRA a startup who is developing an optical fruit sorting machine using Artificial Intelligence, won the Maroun N. Chammas Recognition Award for Technology Innovation including the $50,000 prize money and the much-coveted mentorship from Maroun Chammas. As for the Sports Excellence Recognition Award, it was bestowed on young swimming athlete Rami El Ghaziri, 15, who received $25,000 as reward and encouragement for his sports career. An in a surprise announcement during the ceremony, Chammas revealed that an additional $25,000 was being granted equally between the remaining five finalists Hiba Doueihi (Swimming), Nai Salameh (Fencing), Marie-Joe Abou Jaoudé (Fencing), Laetitia Aoun (Taekwondo), and Raphael Koudsi (Taekwondo).
Maroun N. Chammas, “This project is one of hope for people who believe in this country because every young person who stays in Lebanon is a hero and achiever. Lebanon deserves to have success stories and the finalists this evening in both awards have raised our flag high.” Chammas had previously announced that on a yearly basis, and for the next ten years, he had committed the funding for the award with US$50,000 to recognize technology innovation; and US$25,000 to recognize and reward excellence in sporting accomplishments. The management of this award has been granted to Berytech, the ecosystem for entrepreneurs in Lebanon.
On the choice of the awards, Chammas commented during the ceremony, “I am someone who has loved technology since I was 12 years old; so, I could relate to the technology innovation award. I wasn’t supposed to be involved in sports, my world revolves around oil and gas technology and entrepreneurship. But if I have learned anything through this first edition of the program is that athletes are super entrepreneurs because not only do they have the same values as entrepreneurs, but they also use their physical bodies to achieve their goal which makes them super entrepreneurs. I was literally moved by their passion and their drive, So, we have two prizes, $50k for tech and $50k for sports.” With this announcement, Chammas doubles his contribution to sports excellence in Lebanon.
The evening was held in the presence of H.E. Mr. Adel Afiouny, newly appointed Minister of State for Information Technology and Investments, as well as former Minister of Interior H.E. Mr. Ziad Baroud, and Member of the Lebanese Parliament and Head of the IT Committee Nadim Gemayel, General Director of the Lebanese Presidency Dr. Antone Choucair, the jury members and the selection committees, colleagues, friends and family of Mr. Chammas as well as the finalists in both categories.
The finalists were evaluated by a judging panel consisting High Tech Product Executive Ramzi Haidamus, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding Alain Bejjani, Lebanese sportsman, mountaineer and explorer Maxime Chaya, ICT & Telecom Expert Antoine Fadel, and COO of Real Ventures Roula Zaarour. One of the voting voices was given collectively to Maroun Chammas’ children.
Over 25 dossiers were received from Lebanese startups and SMEs applying to the MNC Recognition Award for Technology Innovation. The Selection Committee went through the applications based on the criteria set by the Administration of the Award Program, including the fact that the submissions for the award had to be products and innovations that are in market that have real customers or a working prototype with a clear plan to go to market; and products and innovations that hit an intersection of specific technology areas and market segments. The candidates had to be Lebanese and resident in Lebanon.
The finalists who pitched their business plan in front of the judges on Saturday, February 23, 2019, included Generics – who custom-makes eartips to solve for poor fitting, uncomfortable earphones through an App, photogrammetry and 3D Printing; Quadra – who is developing an optical fruit sorting machine, capable of sorting different types of fruits based on the international standards of size, color, and defects; it utilizes the latest Machine Learning and Computer Vision technologies, coupled with state-of-the-art manufacturing, to provide the best levels of accuracy in grading, defect detection, and fruit handling; Modeo Systems – an early-stage Lebanese startup, developing a modular furniture solution based on a 3D mobile app that allows anyone to create custom furniture very easily, like playing Lego; and Spike Diabetes Assistant – a mobile assistant that helps diabetics better manage their diabetes. Spike monitors the patient’s daily behavior and jumps in with reminders and tips when needed about insulin, food, activity, etc. In addition to that, Spike stores the patient’s data for further analysis and/or sharing with doctors and caregivers.
On behalf of Quadra, team leader Kevin Boutros shared how the idea started in his living room after a conversation with his father on what kind of senior university project he should work on. “We want to thank you Mr. Chammas for this incredible and generous award. We entered Beryrech’s Agrytech Program as engineers with no business experience whatsoever. Today, we are entrepreneurs, who had the confidence to apply to the Maroun N. Chammas Recognition Award and we couldn’t be luckier than to win and have the privilege to have you as our mentor.”
Over 15 dossiers were received from Lebanese athletes applying to the MNC Recognition Award for Sports Excellence. The Selection Committee went through the applications based on the criteria set by the Administration of the Award Program, including the fact that the athlete had to compete in either Taekwondo, Fencing, or Swimming; be between the ages of 15 and 18 years old; show results and future potential; demonstrate individual social behavior in line with the fundamentals of Olympism; and be Lebanese and residing in Lebanon.
The following athletes presented in front of the judges on Saturday, February 23, 2019 included Ramy El Ghaziri (Swimming), Hiba Doueihi (Swimming), Nai Salameh (Fencing), Marie-Joe Abou Jaoudé (Fencing), Laetitia Aoun (Taekwondo), and Raphael Koudsi (Taekwondo). Ramy El Ghaziri commented, “Thank you Mr. Chammas for this amazing opportunity, we need more people like you to help athletes! I want to personally thank my mom for everything she does for me and wish good luck to all the athletes in everything you do and I hope we keep making Lebanon proud.”
About the Maroun N. Chammas Recognition Award
The program aims to stimulate, recognize and reward groundbreaking technology innovation and excellence in sports in Lebanon. This award, managed by Berytech, aims to inspire talented individuals to pursue their ambitions while expanding innovation and excellence in the Lebanese marketplace. On a yearly basis, and for the next ten years, Maroun N. Chammas has committed the following funding for the award: US$50,000 for the award to recognize and reward excellence in technology innovation, and US$50,000 for the award to recognize and reward excellence in sporting accomplishments.
For further information, please browse the website here: https://marounchammasawards.org