Posted on November 16, 2020
Berytech has announced that applications for batch four (4) of its Agrytech Accelerator Program are now open, and that the program’s team has worked with multiple stakeholders in the agri-food sector to identify real-life challenges that need immediate innovative solutions.
Through the Accelerator Program and with the co-funding from the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Berytech’s mission is to nurture and grow disruptive ideas in the agri-food sector, assist the innovators in designing their proof of concepts and accordingly build their prototypes into viable investment-ready businesses.
Berytech has graduated two batches of startups since 2017, from a wide range of fields from farm to fork including biology, wineries, food production, cooking, waste treatment, agriculture, and vending machines. The third batch of entrepreneurs is currently finalizing the last phase of the program. A total of 69 startups have been admitted to the program since 2017, receiving over $1million in grants so far, and going through around 1200 hours of training. The startups have helped create over 100 jobs over the past three years and are expected to create another 300 over the next two years.
Berytech has partnered with these experts in their fields including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), John Paul II Foundation, World Food Programme, USAID Funded Community Support Program, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Oikos Institute Lebanon, Rene Mouawad Foundation, CELIM, LebRelief, World Organization for Animal Health, USJ-ESIAM, and Crown Flour Mills, to identify the real-life challenges presented to be solved.
These challenges are proposed to the participants of the upcoming Agrytech hackathon as well as the applicants to the accelerator, who can choose a challenge to work on. The different challenges proposed by the partners in the industry are categorized into 5 different tracks: Farming, Food Industry, Rangelands and Forestry, Fishing and Aquaculture, and Management Support. You can read about the challenges in detail by clicking here.
Berytech is looking for innovations which have a disruptive scientific or technological focus in the agri-food sector. The startups must have the capability to scale beyond the Lebanese market but with the potential to create sustainable job opportunities locally.
Berytech will support the startups with innovations across the Agri-Food sector through the yearly 3-phase Agrytech Accelerator by helping them grow their idea into a successful business with global impact. The program offers the necessary resources, knowledge, support, and funding, valued at $100,000.
Agri-food innovators and startups who qualify for the program will receive funding – up to $37K cash injection, will have access to Berytech’s electronics and hardware Fabrication Lab with technical support to prototype, will receive Business Coaching during bootcamps, training sessions and master classes to develop their entrepreneurial competencies, will be promoted in local and international markets as well as have the opportunity to link with the Agri-Food community and a pool of dedicated Lebanese and European experts.
Innovators need to be part of a startup or SME at an idea or early stage. They do not necessarily have to be experts in the agri-food sector, but rather have a creative solution to one of the pre-set challenges or have a working solution that can be adapted as a solution to the challenges.
The solutions need to use technology (hardware, software, or a combination of both) and can also be innovative food and beverage products.
Up to 24 shortlisted applicants will first go through a two-month Validation phase. This first phase focuses on practical approaches to define objectives and validate assumptions about the problem, the opportunity, the market size, the audience, and the feasibility of the solution. Experts and mentors will follow-up and advise the startups on best practices to achieve validation. Startups accepted into the first phase will receive $2,000 to validate their ideas and prototypes.
Up to 12 startups will then be shortlisted and move to the 4-month Acceleration phase, to build a minimum viable product (MVP) and get traction with a $15,000 support grant. This phase focuses on operations, product development, business modeling, and go-to-market. Experts and mentors will follow-up and advise the startups on how to build and launch an MVP. Founders learn about product-market fit, how to communicate to the right audience, develop the basics of a sustainable financial structure to secure the stability and growth of the business, and clear all bottlenecks that limit their product delivery.
Finally, up to 8 startups will be shortlisted to join the 6-month Incubation program and will benefit from up to $20,000 in matching grants. The Incubation phase will focus on fundraising, operations and building healthy client and investor relationships to gain traction and scale. Experts follow-up and advise startups on how to scale their businesses after launching their product in the market. Activities will include private and group interactions that enable the growth of startups participating in the group incubation phase, including workshops, meet-ups, talks, group pitching sessions, and a boot camp. Private interactions include clinics that tackle operations, finance, and investment readiness along with monthly review sessions to ensure that the startups are on the right path to achieve their objectives.
To learn more and to apply to the program, please click here.