Winners of the Femme Francophone Entrepreneure 2019 edition of the competition Rosabelle Chedid and Rayanne Beayno were announced during the final round held at USJ. The competition organized by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie and Berytech, with L’Orient-Le Jour and Le Commerce du Levant, aims since 2011 to support and promote woman entrepreneurship.
A new boost to the economy
The competition was organized this year under the patronage of H.E. Mrs. Violette Khairallah Safadi, State Minister for Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth.
Minister Safadi commented during the finale, “this competition fits naturally in the way I understand my role and the mission entrusted to me. I am convinced that the involvement of women in the business world and in particular in entrepreneurship marks a clear evolution in the equality of rights between men and women while giving a new boost to the country’s economy.”
For his part, Maroun Chammas – Chairman and CEO Berytech said, “we are proud to be partners of this competition as we play an active role in its design, management and implementation. This edition is propelling us into the 4th industrial revolution thanks to our women entrepreneurs and finalists who today innovate in cleantech, fintech, logistics, and health.”
Applications and finalists 2019
Around 60 applications were received this year, which continues to show the attractiveness of this pioneering competition and celebrates the commitment of francophone women to innovation and entrepreneurship. Five candidates representing their teams, competed in the final of this competition.
Rayanne Beayno – Mushtic, a biodegradable alternative for polystyrene, which has the same characteristics as to impact resistance and tolerance to water and heat, while being environmentally-friendly.
Rosabelle Chedid – C Green, a cleantech startup treating one of the most hazardous waste for our environment in Lebanon, the sludge which is currently being dumped into water and soil randomly.
Rouba Khoury – Pragma, a fintech software offering innovative solutions, with great flexibility, allowing the computerization of processes and conditional workflows for client companies to reduce their operating time.
Marie-Elizabeth Ragi – VITALIP, a lipstick that provides women with their recommended daily intake for vitamins B9, B12, and D.
Elise Sfeir – Fill’nForm, a platform that fills, records and manages any government formality automatically in one click.
Each finalist had 5 minutes to pitch and try to convince the jury and the public of the validity of her startup. After the pitches, the two winners were announced by the jury composed this year of Christine Francis – coach and mentor at VIVITI, Zakie Karam – co-founder and director at DON Telecom, Stéphanie Hanna – founder of Essmak and winner of FFE in 2015, and Constantin Salameh – investment consultant Berytech.
The grant awarded totals 20,000 euros, with each winner receiving 10,000 euros paid directly to Berytech to cover the costs of admission of the teams into their incubation program, providing them with appropriate support for the creation of their companies.
Side Chat: Women Entrepreneurship
Emilie Sueur, editor-in-chief of L’Orient-Le Jour interviewed Lise Yacoub, co-founder of M.A.D. – Music.Arts.Design, about the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in general, while the latter shared her experience in the field.
Hervé Sabourin, regional director of AUF in the Middle East underlined in his welcoming speech that “more than ever, this event, in its 8th edition, symbolizes and celebrates the commitment of women in the Middle East to innovation and entrepreneurship, the commitment of francophone women and even more of Lebanese francophone women, as shown by the quality of the projects submitted and their capacities to meet the needs of the local ecosystem.”
Michel Helou, executive director of L’Orient-Le Jour, said that “it is a real breath of fresh air to hear these women tell their stories, projects, and ambitions. Lebanese women should be considered as an example for the whole region and if it can be in French it is even better”.
For her part, Joanna Baloglou, head of corporate communication at SGBL, the competiton’s strategic partner for 2019, said that “SGBL supports entrepreneurs in their startups and projects daily. The Femme Francophone Entrepreneure competition, that is part of this approach, is a key element for us since these projects are initiated exclusively by women. This allows us, as a bank committed to promoting diversity, to support these women to create, innovate and contribute to the economic development of the country”.