Posted on March 2, 2020
Afaf Balaa, founder of Da3douka – a natural homemade play dough, has won first place in the KIRI Mompreneur Challenge, receiving a $10,000 cash prize and enrolling in Berytech’s incubation program for 6 months. She now has access to master classes, training workshops and coaching sessions, as well as access to technical partners, mentors, grants, and potential investors.
The KIRI Mompreneur Challenge – organized by BEL Group and Berytech, aimed to help Lebanese mothers improve their entrepreneurial skills. Launched back in March 2019 on Mother’s Day, around 80 applications were received, of which 30 mom entrepreneurs were selected and given access to a series of capacity building and business development workshops by Berytech’s Business Support and Development team, helping them refine their business models and perfect their business plans. The teams received over 70 hours of trainings, given by 9 different experts.
“In 2019 group BEL came out to the world with a new identity and pledge – BEL For All For Good, aspiring to take inclusion to the next level everywhere in the world,” explained Hady Khalaf – Global Sales Director Transformation & Capabilities at BEL Group. “KIRI has come to women and specifically mothers with a positive message of determination and hope giving them the opportunity to create a business venture that can impact their lives and the economy as a whole.”
During the finale, the 5 finalists pitched their startup in front of a jury panel which included Dr. Bijad Azad – Associate Professor at the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut and the Director of Samih Darwazah Center for Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, Mrs. Asma Zein – Partner in Filovault Crypta and the President of Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB) and Mrs. Carine Fersan – Head of Brand Management at BLC Bank in charge of the We-initiative Women Empowerment Program. The finalists had gone through intensive one-on-one pitching training to prepare them for the final ceremony.
The 2nd place worth $5,000 was won by Cosette Chahoud Daouk, founder of Forgotten Rainbows – a line of organic natural food colors, and 3rd place worth $3,000 was won by Randa Harb, founder of Green Robot Tech – an initiative delivering STEAM and DIY-based projects using robotics and renewable energy. They also have access to Berytech’s incubation program for 6 months.
Ramy Boujawdeh – Deputy General Manager at Berytech commented, “Berytech dedicates a track of activities to support women innovators in overcoming the constraints they face to thrive in entrepreneurship and in maximizing their potential contributions to the different sectors. We motivate women to launch, grow and succeed in their own ventures by creating and managing customized programs and competitions like the KIRI Mompreneur Challenge.”
The finale was hosted by entrepreneurship partners Beirut Digital District – BDD, and the Kids’s Corner was managed by Jaleesa. During the jury deliberation, the audience had the chance to learn new recipes using KIRI products. The trophies were made by Steelouette.
The Kiri Mompreneur Challenge was open for mothers based in Lebanon, with an early-stage project which contributes to improving the future of society and the planet. It was open for mothers who are innovating in art, education, culture, food or any other societal or environmental field with a validated business idea.
“Through the Kiri Mompreneur Challenge, we tried to build an inclusive innovation economy where every woman and mother in Lebanon could participate and use her potential For All For Good,” concluded Dr. Khalaf. “This is also a call for every brand today to gear its capabilities and contribute to positive causes that impact all. This what our consumers want, and this is what we are here for.”