Posted on January 15, 2020
Renews Agrytech Program, introduces Cleanergy Accelerator Program, continues QOOT Cluster support
Berytech officially launched its ACT Smart Innovation Hub today in the presence of H.E. Mr. Jan Waltmans – Ambassador of The Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lebanon and Mr. Maroun N. Chammas – Chairman and CEO of Berytech, as well as representatives from different ministries, associations, academia, partners, SMEs , startups and entrepreneurs, media, friends and colleagues.
As the name implies, the A.C.T. Smart (acronym for 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.
“With generous funding from the Kingdom of The Netherlands, and their renewed trust, Berytech is now taking a sector-wide approach for economic growth by stimulating innovators and entrepreneurs to put their creativity and energy at the service of Agri-food and Cleantech sectors and encouraging them to develop local solutions to the environmental and food security challenges faced by Lebanon,” explained Maroun N. Chammas.
H.E. Mr. Jan Waltmans commented, “The current situation in Lebanon shows even more than before that innovation and job creation for youth are needed. Agri-food and Cleantech are priorities to Lebanon in which we gladly invest. Renewable energy and economic activities that take into account protection of the environment increasingly are priorities worldwide. It is important for Lebanon to be part of innovation and to provide opportunities to its youth to be part of this. Berytech’s ACT Smart Innovation Hub offers the opportunity to youth from different parts of Lebanon to work towards a better future for their country.”
The ACT Smart Innovation Hub program will run over 36 months from September 2019 to August 2022. It includes two accelerator programs – Agrytech and Cleanergy, it aims to create 200 direct job opportunities and 400 indirect job opportunities with at least 50% linked to youth and 25% linked to women.
Through the innovation hub, Berytech continues its support of QOOT Agri-Food Innovation Cluster, accompanying its members in their innovation strategies and competitiveness, ultimately leading to efficiency and quality exports from Lebanon.
Berytech will work closely with Academia and research institutes on converting Intellectual Property (IP) into commercialized solutions.
Berytech will also propose policy reforms and establish lobbying and coordination structures that will last beyond the lifetime of the program. All the above will be done using local Lebanese and Dutch know-how and expertise throughout the process.
Ramy Boujawdeh – Deputy GM at Berytech and Director of the program explains, “The ACT Smart Innovation Hub capitalizes on the achievements of the Agrytech program, while adding new areas that focus on improving access to markets and partnerships through technology transfer, research to industry support, and business development linkages, focusing on actual market challenges suggested by industry actors and building corporate partnerships.”
Boujawdeh continued explaining the novelty of Berytech’s ACT Smart approach as being fourfold:
“Berytech is aware that it is not the exclusive player in ecosystem building and that a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem around the Agri-food and the Cleantech sectors is key in the growth and sustainability of the intended operations,” comments Boujawdeh.
New like-minded institutions will be brought on board to support the process of ecosystem development: the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs of the American University of Beirut will be in charge of hosting the working groups on Waste, Energy and Water, as well as developing a paper on Sustainable Agriculture.
The Euro-Lebanese Centre For Industrial Modernisation (ELCIM) of the National Industrial Research Institute will be in charge of mobilizing Academia and Research institutions to work on commercializing IP for Industry.
A set of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) will be signed with major universities and professional bodies in view of creating synergies with the different ACT Smart Innovation Hub components, beyond the strict boundaries of the acceleration component. For example, universities will be encouraged to direct final year students in STEM degrees to design their final year projects to benefit from Berytech’s support.
Berytech has articulated four pillars under the ACT Smart Innovation Hub, all with the support of like-minded organization from the Netherlands.
Berytech supports startups with innovations across the Agri-Food sector through the Agrytech Accelerator (2 batches) and the Clean Technology sector through the Cleanergy Accelerator (2 batches) in 2 yearly 3-phase programs:
The two programs offer the startups the resources, knowledge, support, and funding worth around $100K, necessary to scale their ideas and grow them into international businesses.