Ideathon 2020: Berytech sources innovations regionally

Thanks to the Ideathon, we were able to turn our technical idea into a business idea and understand our target customer

Berytech organized its third edition of the Ideathon series in North Lebanon at Balamand University – Koura campus, and Mount Lebanon at Notre Dame University – Shouf campus. 

Berytech’s Ideathon is an exciting opportunity for developers, creatives, tech enthusiasts, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, business professionals, and university students who want to collaborate and innovate in the Agriculture, Food, Water and Wastewater Management, Solid Waste Management, Transportation, or Energy sectors.

Over the course of the weekend, mentors, entrepreneurs and industry experts are available to guide the participants on validating, developing and fine-tuning their business idea and pitch.

“The participants collaborate and innovate in the Agri-food and Cleantech sectors over the course of one weekend. The teams are coached to turn their ideas into a business, attend several workshops on ideation, lean model canvas, and value proposition, and go through a pitching drill to guide them in presenting their innovation to the judges,” explains Joey Ghanem, Events & PR Officer at Berytech and organizer of the Ideathon series.

Ideathon Winners

Fodderstock – a startup aiming at growing local fodder using the hydroponic system, and UIS – a startup working on an application for paperwork management to reduce paper waste, won first place at the Berytech Ideathon North and Mount Lebanon edition respectively. The winners won 2,250,000 LBP each as well as business support from Berytech.

Marc Korkomaz, co-founder of Fodderstock shared: “We heard about the Ideathon a couple of days before it started, so we decided to research and work intensively to find a solution to the challenge we are experiencing in the North: finding local fodder.” 

Second prize winners GenerGreat – a startup working on an optimized wind turbine model, and Eggfeed – a biodegradable cutlery based on eggshells won the second place, a prize of 1,500,000 LBP cash money and business support from Berytech.

Genergreat founder stated, “Thanks to the Ideathon, we were able to turn our technical idea into a business idea and understand our target customer; the weekend was very beneficial as it introduced us to many business concepts we weren’t aware of and we met with many mentors, and participants who supported us during the weekend.” 

The third winners were Happy Tummy – a team working on an application to map local produce, and Ignite – a team working on a system to prevent the occurrence of wildfires, won 750,000 LBP and business support from Berytech. 

A special jury mention was awarded to Smart Charger – a startup working on a device to increase the life span of batteries.

First Stop: North Lebanon

The North Lebanon edition was organized in partnership with the University of Balamand for the third time. 12 teams pitched in front of the judges on the third day, managing to present their idea to the pool of jury consisting of Saly Khalaf from Tripoli Entrepreneurs Club, Dr. Georges Aouad from the University of Balamand, and Ramy Boujawdeh from Berytech.

The teams included: BIOWAySTE, Compar, Eco-prosthetic, Firefighters, Foddersock, GenerGreat, Green Storm, Green Light, Happy Tummy, Hydrotech, PCM walls, and Snail Slime.

Second Stop: Mount Lebanon

The Mount Lebanon edition was organized in partnership with the Notre Dame University Louaize – Shouf Campus in Deir El Qamar, as well as Park Innovation and Rural Entrepreneur. 

The agtech track, specifically for the Shouf edition, was part of the first regional Food Tech initiative in the EMEA region in partnership with Techstars: Startup Weekend FoodTech initiative.

The judges included Nadine Khoury from Robinson Agri, Ramy Boujawdeh from Berytech, Haitham Saab from Park Innovation, and Dr. Charbel Bassil from Notre Dame University Louaize- Shouf Campus.

Haitham Saab, founder of Park Innovation stated “We are glad to collaborate with Berytech and bring together talents and bright minds to work together on finding innovations in the agri-food and cleantech sectors, specially that we are working, through Park Innovation and Rural Entrepreneur, in the Shouf area to develop the ecosystem for entrepreneurs and innovation.”

14 teams pitched in front of the jury including: Agritel, EggFeeds, Ezra3, Ignite, MCI Charger, NaturaClean, Nitralyse, Oilecter, PortaBatt, Reseco, Soie Unique, UIS, Upcyclethon, and W2E.

Partners and Mentors

Several mentors and coaches joined the Berytech team during the Ideathon weekends and shared their expertise with the teams. The coaches and mentors included professionals as well as entrepreneurs: Andre Abi Awad (entreprenergy), Fady Aziz (The Good Thymes), Georges Aouad and Tony Antoun (Digimart), Sabah Corm (Rigino), Mireille Kallassy (USJ), Maurice Mouawad (coach), Patricia Kebbe (Noyau SARL), Pauline Sawaaya (Swift Shift), Dana Abou Chakra (Park Innovation), Haifa Najjar (Holdal Group), Hannah Wurzel (Cewas), Joe Chahwan (Jnaynet Belbol), Lara Chikhani (Consultant), Michel Matta (Consultant), Nirine El Turky (IOTree), Nizar Sarieddine (Octopus Consultancy Pro), Ramzy Bou Khalil (Clean2o), Lama Antonios (Mushtic), Dr. Christelle Iskandar, Ibrahim Chambour, Rodrigue Balaa, Peter Moubarak, Wahib Arairi, Chadi Indarim Emile Asmar, and Nisrine Darwish from theUniversity of Balamand.

Community partners included: CEWAS, Entreprenergy, University of Phoenicia, USJ-ESIAM, Beirut AI, Asher Center, INJAZ, LARI, LLWB, Makesense, MDSF, Rural Entrepreneur, Park Innovation, Sefactory, Speedlebanon, Tripoli Entrepreneurs Club, and Facebook Devs Circle.

Organized by Berytech under the Agrytech and Cleanergy accelerators, the Ideathon series is supported by the Embassy of The Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lebanon.

Check out the photo album on Facebook.

Note: two more weekends were planned in South Lebanon and in the Bekaa, but had to be cancelled due to the current coronavirus crisis in Lebanon.

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