The team at the Future Agro Challenge wants to shine a spotlight on the great work the impact makers are doing around the world with a series of interviews getting to know some of the faces in the global FAC network.
This time round they featured one of the team members from the Lebanon Berytech Impact Maker group, Ramy Boujawdeh, Deputy General Manager and Director of the ACT Smart Innovation Hub Initiative.
Berytech is a partner of the Future of Agro Challenge in Lebanon and has held the Lebanon Agripreneur of the Year competition since 2017.
Berytech started looking at the importance of the agri-food sector and started building the new Agrytech Program back in 2017 to support innovations and scale agritech innovations from Lebanon to the world. We researched global initiatives and competitions aligned with our mission to build global partnerships to expose our startups on a global scale.
We found the Future Agro Challenge (FAC) platform and it seemed to be the right one. We contacted them to join their network, and they were looking forward to having an organization from Lebanon onboard. Since then, Berytech has launched the FAC chapter in Lebanon, exposing local startups to a global competition and network. Following this partnership, Carla Tanas – co-founder of FAC, visited Berytech, encouraged entrepreneurs to join the global initiative, and showcased the importance of innovating in the agri-food sector and the potential of this global initiative.
Through the Future Agro Challenge, we were able to expose some of our innovators through the Global Agripreneur Summit and meet with different Impact Makers from around the globe. This allowed the startups, as well as the organization to exchange knowledge and expertise with other Impact Makers, all having the same mission. Growing the network allowed us to welcome Carla Tanas, as our main keynote speaker, to talk about the importance of the sector during the first Agri-Food Innovation Day 2019 (AFID). During this event, Carla motivated more than 1000 persons to join the cause and pushed them to jump into the sector.
An anecdote I always like to share is that in the beginning we thought it would be love at first sight. We built the Agrytech Program believing it was going to be easy and everybody would jump on the opportunity to innovate in the sector. Then, we realized that people were not aware of the agri–food sector and they were not interested in joining the cause. We had to create the buzz around it through organizing hackathons, ideathons, startup weekends, roadshows, and joining local and international exhibitions, to attract more people to innovate in the sector.
With that passion for the sector and my own background as an Agriculture Engineer, we managed to support up until today, more than 60 startups innovating in the agri-food sector and having more than a thousand people joining our events and competitions/or following our agri–food news. In addition, I am leading the Regional Innovation Hub (RIH) in the MENA Region for the Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) challenge fund.
The final thing I would like to share is that by empowering the youth, channeling their innovations in the agriculture sector, and using science, technology and engineering as a mechanism to grow the sector, we will ensure the creation of jobs, access to nutritious food and the development of the sector across the globe.
Ramy Boujawdeh was named Impact Maker of the Year in 2019. Read more here.