Posted on January 29, 2021
Seven social ventures have been selected to move to the second level of the Impact Rise program, to focus on further scaling their ventures and accessing new markets. During the next 8 months, the startups will receive in-depth business support based on each venture’s needs and customized connections to access markets and funding opportunities.
During the program’s Demo Day that wrapped its first level, Maroun N. Chammas, Chairman and CEO of Berytech, praised the resilience of the enrolled startups and their life-changing impact following the events of 2020, especially after the Beirut Blast: “It is easier to start a social enterprise than to grow it. It is hard to find a sustainable business model and very often social entrepreneurs cannot find the funds or the resources to scale and grow. This is where the Impact Rise Program has come in, to give social entrepreneurs the tools and introduce them to the ecosystem; to give them the support they need to scale and improve their abilities and capabilities to sustain their ventures and to operate on their own, allowing them to do what they do best: creating businesses that drive social change.”
The seven startups who were selected to continue to Level 2 of the program and further scale their social ventures are:
FabricAID: 3.3 million people in Lebanon cannot afford to buy firsthand clothing and 2.5 million people are willing to give away clothes but have no means to do so. FabricAID has created a circular model that allows the collection, sorting, and redistribution of clothes at very affordable prices. The startup has 300 bins that are distributed all over the country in addition to other partnerships made with NGOs, schools, banks, and other companies. The clothes are sorted, cleaned, mended, and then categorized into different bundles sent to its 4 different stores called Souk el Khlanj. Extravagant clothes that cannot be sold in Souk el Khlanj are sold at Second Base – a vintage and thrift store. FabricAID has collected over 120,000 kg of clothes and sold around 100,000 pieces, with 20,000 direct beneficiaries, and 30 full-time employees. The startup is now raising $300,000 to support its first venture in Jordan while aiming to reach the 77 million people in the Arab world who cannot afford to buy firsthand clothing. Learn more about them here.
Find A Nurse: A social venture that is simplifying the process of finding a caring and trustworthy caregiver. Find A Nurse has built the MENA’s first online digital platform that enhances access to home care services for families while allowing qualified nurses to earn better income. The startup interviews, screens and trains caregivers and then lists them all in one place allowing users to make better-informed decisions about hiring qualified and trusted caregivers. It is planning to convert its traditional competitors into partners and even clients which will help it scale quickly in the Gulf. In the meantime, the startup is raising its seed fund to improve its technology and launch its operations in Qatar and Kuwait. Learn more about them here.
Green Track is a social enterprise for a sustainable waste management system, that aims to solve the waste crisis in Lebanon through the sorting at source and recycling projects lead by Green Women Team. It takes a tremendous effort to build a sustainable culture geared towards sorting and recycling and the only way to do that is through continuous awareness on the subject. Green Track is a startup with a mission of encouraging sorting at source. Learn more about them here.
La Brocante upcycles donated furniture in its workshop while hiring experts and people with difficulties to work in carpentry, upholstery, interior design, architecture, and furniture design. The startup targets vintage collectors, low mass consumers, young couples, and green consumers. La Brocante upcycles up to 800 pieces of furniture per year keeping them away from the dumps, employs more than 27 employees including 15 people with difficulties, and benefits more than 1200 people with affordable and sustainable goods. After the Beirut Blast, the startup distributed free furniture and refurbished the furniture of people who got affected by the explosion thus increasing their social and environmental impact. Learn more about them here.
Live Love Recycle: The social and environmental venture has created a free pick-up service for recyclables while employing people below the poverty line to solve Lebanon’s waste crisis. The collection service is based on a mobile application where residents in Beirut can order on-demand pick-ups for their recyclables. A driver will be present at the designated location in less than 30 minutes after the request, to pick-up the bags and drop them back at the nearest recycling facilities. The startup has launched an updated version of the app using the collected data to understand the need and willingness of people to recycle. The information is critical to push for recycling programs in different municipalities. Learn more about them here.
Teabah: This social venture is a Lebanese tea brand planted and cultivated in Lebanon. The startup trains women to plant and cultivate herbs and plants providing them with the plants they need to fill out the empty spaces in their gardens. It then processes the crops in its workshops, blends them, and hires more women to package them. While the tea market size in Lebanon is equivalent to 30 billion LBP a year, Teabah aims to reach 10 to 15% as a market share. In 2021, the startup will be working on exporting Teabah’s products to the European market and the MENA region starting with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, along with opening Teabah’s teashop and tea lounges in Beirut. Learn more about them here.
The Volunteer Circle: is a social venture shaping the future of skill-sharing in the MENA region. The startup has designed a skill-matching platform that has, up until now, facilitated 2,000 matches between 4,000 volunteers with diverse skills and talent, and 180 non-profits, touching the lives of more than 300,000 beneficiaries. It has secured itself as a midpoint between NGOs and volunteers, extending its role to the corporate and academic worlds. Based on a freemium model, companies, schools, and universities subscribe to track their impact and personalize the platform features based on the sectors they want to support. Positioning it as an HR essential, The Volunteer Circle can help them improve productivity and talent retention and increase profitability by 21%. In 2021, the startup is planning to extend its activities to the Egyptian market that shares similar needs and that is worth more than US$200 Million. Learn more about them here.
“We believe in social entrepreneurs and their power to shape a better Lebanon. The target of the first phase was to provide capacity building, workshops, mentoring, training, and coaching for startups, customized as per their needs to help them sustain their business grow their impact, and scale their strategies. We worked on providing the best visibility and coverage for the startups to promote their products, services, and the social impact they are creating. Level 2 of the program will have many activities and initiatives to help startups further grow their impact and access new market opportunities on the local and regional level,” assured Krystel Khalil, Berytech’s Program Director.
Startups will have access to customized workshops and one-on-one clinics tackling key business strategic and operational needs of each, mentoring sessions with seasoned mentors, business coaching sessions with experts to receive customized feedback in key areas of the business
They will also participate in B2B and visibility events providing exposure and connections with potential investors, partners, experts, and customers. In addition to business development cash vouchers, they will have access to development sessions with the Berytech team who will provide support for the access-to-market and the connection with potential partners and customers.
The Impact Rise social innovation program is part of Berytech’s mission to empower the Lebanese social entrepreneurship ecosystem with the support of the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). The aim is to put ambitious startups, devoted experts and support partners on the road to growing sustainable and successful social ventures.