The first cycle of Berytech’s entrepreneurship support program, IdeaLab, has concluded, graduating over 40 startups specializing in agrifood and cleantech solutions from various regions in Lebanon.
Throughout the period of two months, the founders received support in multiple business areas that facilitated the transformation of their innovative ideas into scalable startups.
Implemented by five partnering organizations across Lebanon, ACIE, Farah Social Foundation, INJAZ Lebanon, Michel Daher Foundation, and Park Innovation, IdeaLab operates under Partner Growth, a Berytech program co-funded by The Kingdom of The Netherlands with the aim to enhance the entrepreneurial landscape by enabling these five business support organizations to support idea stage startups in Lebanon’s cleantech and agrifood sectors.
IdeaLab: The Multifaceted Support Areas
During this first cycle, IdeaLab provided the 42 startups enrolled in the program with diverse forms of support. By the end of the cycle, over $40K in grants were disbursed to the graduated startups; 15 of which had validated and presented their solutions in cleantech and 27 in agrifood.
The program launched with Concept Initiation, where startups were carefully guided through the process of dissecting their target customer base, defining the challenge they aimed to address, and crafting comprehensive solutions. Through this phase, they were introduced to the principles of customer discovery theory, delving into concepts such as identifying pain points, recognizing assumptions, and comprehending the ‘jobs-to-be-done’ by their potential customers.
In Market Validation, the entrepreneurs worked to gain insights into target customer segments and solutions. They learned to understand customer needs, invest wisely, validate assumptions, and engage stakeholders in prototype testing. Discovering target markets, obtaining consumer feedback, and adapting their marketing strategies based on market changes and customer behavior. The entrepreneurs undertook a rigorous process of conducting one-on-one interviews with prospective customers who closely matched the personas they had meticulously crafted.
As the program progressed, the spotlight shifted to Prototype Development, a phase designed to empower startups with the tools and insights necessary to turn their concepts into tangible solutions. They started by identifying crucial features, utilizing cost-effective materials, engaging in testing, and continuous iteration, all while managing their budgets. Involving the end-users was paramount to ensure that the final product design and overall experience were optimized.
The Business Model Canvas is an indispensable resource for any entrepreneur. The participants used it to provide a structured framework for crafting their business models. This comprehensive tool empowered startups to meticulously evaluate and strategize their activities, resources, and partnerships, with real-world examples offering practical guidance to amplify their understanding.
The program also emphasized the importance of effective communication. Entrepreneurs received specialized training in creating powerful pitch decks, delivering concise and visually engaging presentations, and using body language to connect effectively with their audience. This training equipped them with the skills to confidently convey their startup’s vision and value to potential investors and partners.
The Demo Days
The first cycle was wrapped up with a Demo Day event. Each organization hosted its own demo day providing its startups with a platform to pitch their solutions in front of an audience, display their prototypes to potential stakeholders, and showcase their progress and achievements.
ACIE – Asher Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Farah Social Foundation
MDF – Michel Daher Foundation
Partner Growth: Cycle 2
The Partner Growth Program will be launching its second IdeaLab cycle in October 2023 for entrepreneurs working on ideas in the agrifood or clean technology sectors. If you are interested in being a part of it, you can apply through this application form.
About The ACT Smart Innovation Hub
The Partner Growth Program is under the ACT Smart Innovation Hub, a comprehensive initiative launched by Berytech and co-funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to enable the Lebanese entrepreneurial ecosystem and stimulate innovation and startup creation in the agriculture, food, and clean technology sectors.