The Innovation Factory Program: from Research to Market is a 6-month acceleration program revolving around Technology Transfer and allowing 11 teams to develop their research or technology innovation in any sector into practical and commercially viable products and applications. The program will give them business support, local and regional exposure with access to local and global markets, B2B networks, and a pool of seasoned experts, mentors, and investors. This program is funded by the European Union under THE NEXT SOCIETY organized in Lebanon by Berytech and Anima.
Program Launches with Bootcamp
The Innovation Factory program, which consists of 3 phases, started with a three-day bootcamp in April, focusing mainly on key topics in business and all the areas that need to be considered and developed by entrepreneurs, including market validation and commercialization of innovations, business model, understanding the value chain, an overview of financials and pitching.
“The value of this program is that most of the selected applicants come from universities and research institutions. Their backgrounds are strictly technology or research, so, they have rather limited knowledge and skills when it comes to applying business concepts. One of the biggest values that we provided in this workshop was to give them the knowledge and the skills to see how they could take their technology and commercialize it in different ways in the market,” explains Mohab Anis – lead Trainer and CEO of INNOVETY, a leading innovation management consulting firm.
Applicants were assessed based on the strength of the application – including technology innovation assessment, the economic viability of the project, the team expertise, and the motivation.
“The plan was to choose 8 teams, but there were so many great projects that we opted for three more to enter the bootcamp,” comments Krystel Khalil, Head of Programs at Berytech.
Out of the 41 applications received, the 11 teams who were chosen into the program and participated in the Bootcamp are described hereafter.
Smart Car Insurance – Reslan Kain
The project addresses the problems related to insurance telematics and vehicle-driver fatigue-related accidents. It has a low-cost communication overhead module, that collects location and speed information via GPS, driver alertness level via video camera and image processing software which runs on a Raspberry Pi.
Vitalip – Omar Obeid & Nehmat El Helou
The project addresses the problem of low folate in women known to be associated with increased incidences of neural tube defect in their infants. The team developed a method to fortify lipsticks with folate in an amount that can exhibit improvement in folate status. Ingredients of the lipsticks can be absorbed through skin and oral ingestion.
Six Degrees of Freedom – Nassim El Agha & Saadallah Darazi
The project helps dentists document their work by taking pictures and videos on the same timeframe while having continuous optical zooming in and out and a more controllable workplace. The connected device will allow sharing experience with other dentists through live streaming, which can be used primarily in education sectors and in conferences.
Handy Hand – Ramsey Hamade
The project provides a prosthetics solution for amputees that is both functional yet inexpensive. It offers a custom-made solution to fit individual features, with an integrated function of prosthesis and cosmesis able to provide to amputees the emotional satisfaction of having a limb that looks and behaves much like their missing own.
Sajouna – Charbel Chamieh & Rima Chamieh
The project introduces automation to bread-making (Saj) to reduce dependence on the labor force. The team created a machine that makes a qualified Saj bread with unique healthy traits and in a very fast way.
Under Construction – Reem Hilal, Arwa Kayali & Jane Abou Rjeily
The project introduces a material that is a remake of concrete – a mix of shredded plastic, paper and cement or lime depending on its use and for different results. The material recycles and produces lightweight construction blocks that have higher insulation properties than regular blocks.
Tarec – Firas Bahsoun & Firas Abou Diab
‘Tarec’ is a smart device that sets off when an accident occurs, immediately notifying the local emergency services and a favored contact number with an exact location, health records, and insurance details. The device that is mounted next to the steering wheel contains an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a heat sensor along with a GPS.
Smart Trash Can – Gabriel El Hakim & Ghada El Hakim
Smart Trash Can is an automated waste sorting machine that integrates echo technology to sort waste in the most effective way, intended for public use.
Energy Builders – Randa Harb & Mira Ayoub
The project tackles the lack of awareness on efficient energy and water behavior and the importance of renewable energy. The team has built a technology robotics game and circuit for kids. By installing the circuit and building the robot, kids will learn the basics of energy and water efficiency, along with renewable energy.
BBox – Nadine Eid & Dana Zoueini
The project tackles the ability for young citizens to participate in early-age civic education, hence increase their sense of belonging and responsibility towards their home country. The team has developed a tool that helps bring together the elements of education, game, play, technology, language and hands-on activities, to help young children creatively broaden their scope of knowledge about events and phenomenon occurring in their context.
C-Green – Rosabelle Chedid, Danny Romanos & Georges Jalkh
The project tackles the problem of organic waste materials generated from wastewater treatment plants. The team is offering a solution to the management of the solid sludge created by the treatment processes.
Kickstarting The Entrepreneurial Journey
The Bootcamp allowed the teams to develop their business model, pitch deck and to present their projects and receive feedback from a panel of experts including Virginie Cossoul – Trade Attachée EU Delegation to Lebanon, Naji Abi Zeid – Director of Euro-Lebanese Centre For Industrial Modernisation (ELCIM) and Ramy Boujawdeh – Deputy GM of Berytech.
Nadine Khoury – trainer at the Bootcamp and leadership coach at Accompleash, emphasized the keys messages that entrepreneurs, who are just starting their journey, need to take away with them, “the first is keeping a positive mindset, talking to their brain in a positive way, if they want to achieve success in their business and the change they want in the world. The second is that they need to remember their passion because what started this entrepreneurial journey was their passion for their project. A lot of times when challenges come our way, we just forget what we are passionate about and the reason we are doing this. They always need to go back to the meaning of this for them so that they regain their passion and persevere and continue towards their success.”
Impact of the Program
“This program is really great because it shows the potential of young Lebanese innovation and creativity. It also shows what the market needs and lacks. These are the types of initiatives that we are funding,” explains Naji Abi Zeid.
Following the bootcamp, a 3-month acceleration phase will launch from May to July, including weekly group coaching sessions with experts. The teams will focus on market validation, and by the end of this phase, each team should be able to develop a revised business model, a clear go-to-market strategy, an IP plan, the financial modeling of their business and an investment pitch deck, taking into account the market findings data collected over the past period.
Phase 2 will wrap up with a public event allowing the teams to pitch in front of a jury panel, experts, ecosystem players and the media. Two teams out of the eleven, will be selected to pursue the incubation phase.
The 3-month incubation phase will take place from July to September 2019. The program will include customized follow up with the 2 teams tailored to their needs.
As for Virginie Cossoul, she concludes that “at the European Union we are trying to really help entrepreneurs, to boost the private sector and help young people to find jobs. So, I think this is a really good initiative and I’m happy that we have such a program as THE NEXT SOCIETY implemented in Lebanon through Berytech.”
Learn more about the Innovation Factory Programhere.