The ACT Smart Innovation Hub is an initiative by Berytech, with the support of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Launched in 2019, the initiative was developed to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the agritech and cleantech sectors, by supporting the creation of jobs for youth and women, while linking research and industry to help SMEs and startups scale their innovations worldwide.
Berytech recently announced that a new 10-member Advisory Board is in place – an important component that will ensure good implementation of the 36-month initiative with its two Accelerators – Agrytech and Cleanergy, as well as its Agri-food Innovation Cluster QOOT, and the IP Valorization Grants Program, and Think Tank activities. The aim is to impact more than 3000 persons by creating 200 direct job opportunities and 400 indirect job opportunities.
The Role of the Board
The board will work to stir entrepreneurs in the right direction and push them to the next level as the program gives them opportunities to grow their ideas and businesses.
“We count on them input to help us maximize the impact of this initiative on the Lebanese youth, women, and country,” confirms Ramy Boujawdeh, Deputy GM of Berytech.
The four main pillars of the initiative are Acceleration, Clustering, Think Tanks, and IP Valorization. These will be to the benefit of the business and public sector institutions across agri-food and cleantech, university and research institutions, and investors and VCs.
The role of the board is to monitor the vision, mission and values of the initiative, review its strategy and advise on its improvement, exercise accountability and act as ambassadors, promoting the initiative in their wide networks.
Meet the Members
The new 10-member Advisory Board includes 4 members representing the private and the public sectors, 4 members from Academia, one representing the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and one representing Berytech.
Rima Freiji – Chairman at Tanmia
Rima is running Tanmia – the leading poultry integrated farming, processing, and marketing firm in Lebanon. She is skilled in advancing new initiatives that support the business and strengthen its institutional development. She is also the Director, Head of the Governance Committee, and Shareholder of Wadi Group.
Jamal Krayem - General Director Attached to the President of the Council of Ministers
Jamal filled the role of the Director of the North Lebanon Water Establishment. He succeeded in securing the services he oversaw to the population and gathered extensive experience in institutional reform, organizational structures design, management procedures, and elaborating strategies and business planning.
Carol Ayat - Head of Energy at Bank Audi
Carol is an energy finance expert and investment banker with over US$24billion in international transaction experience. She is focused on innovative finance for conventional and renewable projects.
Gabriel Chaftari – Gaby Chaftari Landscape
Gabriel deals with the import and production of plants and trees and the execution of landscaping projects in Lebanon and abroad.
Rodrigue El- Balaa – Chairman of Agriculture at Issam Fares Faculty of Technology, University of Balamand
Rodrigue is an expert in Agricultural Value Chains and has been involved in and manages numerous studies and development projects funded by international donors.
Dominique Salameh – Researcher/Associate Professor at Saint Joseph University
Dominique is a specialist in fermentation processes, waste management, and sustainable development strategies. His passion for cleantech industries and sustainable development led him to participate in the foundation and management of national as well as international entrepreneurship projects.
Barbar Akle – Assistant Provost/Associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, Lebanese American University
Barbar’s main research focuses on improving, modeling and characterizing Electro-Active Polymers (EAP) that are also known as artificial muscles.
Wassim El-Hajj – Associate Professor of Computer Science, American University of Beirut
Wassim’s research interests are in the areas of wireless communication, network security, and machine learning.
Evert Jaap Lugt – Managing Director at YES!Delft
Evert is an experienced entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of working in the tech industry. He is skilled in mobile applications, startups, business modeling, Internet strategy, and business strategy.
Maroun N. Chammas – Chairman & CEO at Berytech
Maroun is a successful Lebanese entrepreneur with activities ranging from Oil and Gas to Telecom and F&B, as well as Technology and Innovation.
“With your support and commitment, we will continue in our endeavor to stimulate innovators and entrepreneurs to put their creativity and energy at the service of Agri-food and Cleantech sectors in Lebanon,” assured Maroun N. Chammas, Chairman and CEO of Berytech as he thanked the new members for their commitment to being part of the board of the ACT Smart Innovation Hub.
Berytech has graduated three batches of startups since 2017 in the Agrytech Accelerator Program. There are now 23 success stories.
A total of 69 startups have been admitted to the Agrytech program since 2017, receiving over US$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.
The Cleanergy Accelerator Program has 13 startups innovating in cleantech currently enrolled and working on their MVP.
The QOOT Agri-Food Innovation Cluster is truly a success story, attracting the most innovative SMEs in the field in Lebanon. 55 companies are now members of QOOT, benefiting from each other as well as Berytech’s network.
Berytech has been leading on setting a national innovation strategy for Lebanon since 2017. Through several programs, we have introduced Technology Transfer and have been pushing researchers and academics to work on commercializing Lebanese intellectual property for the benefit of different sectors and to advance the Knowledge Economy. 4 projects from USJ, Lebanese University, USEK, and NDU have received US$100,000 part of the IP Valorization Grant project under ACT Smart, to commercialize their IP.
As the name implies, the ACT Smart (Agri-Food & CleanTech) Innovation Hub is a new out-of-the-box approach by Berytech aimed at strengthening business advancement, economic growth and job creation in the Agri-food and Cleantech sectors in Lebanon. Learn more about the ACT Smart Innovation Hub initiative.