Three winners, Reconcrete, Eco Match, and Biochar won Ideathon 2021 under the USAID DAWERR activity and two of them successfully completed Berytech’s incubation phase.
Meet the Winners
The winners of the DAWERR Ideathon 2021 focused on municipal Solid Waste Management.
Biochar (formerly LU Environment) works on making biochar from organic waste by pyrolysis which they market as a fertilizer to reduce the production costs for agriculture. Reconcrete (formerly Eco-Friendly Concrete)- focuses on partial replacement of concrete constituents with recycled materials.
“Through the support of USAID DAWWER Ideathon and Berytech team, we were encouraged to pivot our solution to concrete blocks, and received the support we need in diverse aspects, to turn our idea into a Minimum Viable Product (MVP),” shared Reconcrete Team.
The winners received an in-kind grant of up to $6,500 each which they spent on their startups, as well as a four-month incubation at Berytech, to make sure they received the business and technical assistance they needed to validate their business idea and develop their Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
The DAWERR Ideathon 2021 tailored for entrepreneurs at an idea stage, aimed to encourage and support ideas at an early stage. This allowed participants to discover real challenges facing the municipal solid waste management sector across Lebanon, particularly in rural areas.
Over 300 members submitted their applications to join the DAWERR Ideathon 2021, out of which DAWERR Technical Evaluation Committee selected 20 teams to join a five-day event. Two juries nominated nine teams to pitch and get the chance to be among the top three winners.
They learned how to transform their ideas into valid business solutions through intensive online workshops and pitched their solutions to a panel of judges.
Biochar Team stated: “We’ve learned a lot through the USAID funded DAWERR Ideathon, especially in the areas of how to transform our solution into a valid business model and how to achieve product/market fit. We consider the relationships we built and the technical support we received from USAID essential for our progress.”
The workshops Berytech delivered during the first phase of the incubation period span across October 10, 2021, till December 7, 2021. The second phase occurred from January 24, 2022, till March 31, 2022, requiring the teams to present a prototype and a signed co-founder agreement.
The startups received in-kind grants to cover labs tests, branding, design, and ongoing support through one-on-one feedback sessions.
The sessions included multiple subjects such as: Market Validation, Product Development, Technical Growth, Go to Market, HR Training, Pitching, Legal, IP, Finance and Fundraising.
The experts delivering the workshops were: Nadine Asmar, Sustainability Trainer and Coach at SwitchMed; Wael Khalil, Fab Lab Manager at Berytech; Nisrine El Turky, Founder & CEO of Internet of Trees (IOTree); Marina Araigy, Managing Partner at Bridge Of Minds; Reine Ramadan Human Resources Management Consultant; Rana Boji, Investment Specialist at Berytech; Myriam Jaber, Attorney at Law; Andre Abi Awad, Founder of Entreprenergy; and Nour Mucharrafieh, Senior Project Manager at ECODIT.
Berytech organized the final presentation on April 5, 2022, in front of a jury consisting of DAWERR and Berytech team members: Jad Sakr, DAWERR Chief of Party; Lara El Khoury, Deputy Program Director at Berytech; Marc Aoun, GM at Compost Baladi; Christapor Dersarkissian, DAWERR Solid Waste Management Specialist; and Richard Monzer, DAWERR Private Sector Engagement / PPP Specialist.
“DAWERR Ideathon’s first iteration was an exciting event where we got to see innovative Lebanese entrepreneurs proposing solutions to municipal solid waste management challenges. It’s exciting to know that there are still resilient and persistent trailblazers who want to make a change in our communities and country. We look forward to monitoring and supporting the winners’ growth, as well as future winners of DAWERR Ideathon second and third iterations in the years to come,” explains Richard Monzer from the DAWERR team.
The jury assessed the teams based on Idea Validation, Target market, Customer Segment, Innovation, Impact, Competitiveness, Scalability, Business Model and Team.
About DAWERR Activity
Diverting Waste by Encouraging Reuse and Recycling (DAWERR) is a five-year activity funded by USAID and implemented by ECODIT in partnership with Berytech, Compost Baladi, ECODIT Liban and ELARD. The DAWERR program aims to improve the social, environmental, and economic well-being of Lebanese citizens by establishing sustainable solid waste recovery and diversion systems in collaboration with municipalities throughout rural areas in Lebanon.