Impact Rise Program – Virtual Gathering in Times of Crisis

Despite not being able to meet, we saw a great spirit in the Impact Rise community

Berytech, under its Impact Rise Social Innovation program, organized a virtual gathering focusing on supporting social entrepreneurship by sharing experiences and news in order to lift up the spirits of the entrepreneurs during this time of crisis.

The event had been planned over drinks and pizzas but was moved online due to the rise in coronavirus cases. Many of the attendees still made it a point to attend the online gathering while enjoying their own drinks and snacks, in a very fun atmosphere.

Krystel Khalil, Programs Director at Berytech began by welcoming all the entrepreneurs, mentors and coaches, and commented, “Despite not being able to meet, we saw a great spirit in the Impact Rise community, from the startups’ devotion, to their working strategy, how they cope with the actual situation, their collaboration with the team to survive the economic challenges and to adapt their services in times of crisis.”

Krystel pointed to the efforts of the experts, mentors and coaches. “They showed great support and gave a lot of time to help the startups.” She highlighted the importance of the community, “What makes this program special is not only the cause of social entrepreneurship, but the people behind it. The experts and the Berytech team are all united to create impact.”

Maya Barhouche, Grants Program Manager at the U.S. Embassy of Beirut, showed appreciation for the program and the beneficiaries. She highlighted the commitment of all the startups and experts despite the economic crisis and the pandemic. She expressed her continuous support from the American Embassy and commented that she was looking forward to seeing the growth of these initiatives.

Experts Interventions

Another intervention came from Myriam Hoballah, expert in Management Consulting, Strategic Planning, Marketing and Sales Strategy, who affirmed that everything is in balance in this exceptional situation where there is too much adversity on many levels. She commented that while it was very important to support the community, sometimes one must let go by taking it one day at a time, by trying to be creative and by thinking outside the box. “We deal with emotions when we step out of our comfort zone,” she said. And in these times of crisis that Lebanon is passing through she shared a message from the heart, “In a situation of crisis we become edgy. We need to trust the process and to say I did my best. When we control, we feel secure. It’s ok if we don’t control or know everything. The most important thing is to re-center in order to know where we stand with clarity.”

Following this intervention, Andre Abi Awad, founder of Entrepreneurgy, commented by introducing himself and how he helps entrepreneurs to connect with each other. He announced that he had started Entrepreneurgy Africa. 

Afterwards, Dolly Choucair, mentor, social and business lawyer, and President of MEPI Lebanon Alumni Association, encouraged the startups during the gathering and expressed her continued interest in what they’re doing. She also asserted that she was proud to be part of this community.

For his part, Hicham Al Rawass, mentor and senior manager in Investment Banking at Bankmed, intervened by drawing the attention on the commitment of all Lebanese startups despite the hardships of the current situation.

Toufic Majdalani, Chairman & General Manager at SearchPath Arabia, announced that he was launching a new business on executive search and development company, in north America. He mentioned that, “perseverance and reinventing yourself at any age is the essence of success.”

Constantin Salemeh, senior coach and investment advisor at Berytech, highlighted the support provided by Berytech for the startups. He pointed to Berytech’s multifold role in building an all-inclusive ecosystem for its own entrepreneurs while contributing to the growth of the Lebanese entrepreneurial ecosystem in general.  

Finally, Gabriel Deek, General Manager at OmniSystem sal, announced that he had  written a new book to be published, ‘journal intime d’un confiné’ (diary of a confined person).

Entrepreneurs Interventions

Startups and coaches enrolled in the Impact Rise Program also shared some news about their new projects.

Georges Bitar from Live Love Recycle is collaborating with Arc En Ciel, FabricAid and Compost Baladi. Georges announced that he was launching a new application soon, and that he was working as well on a new initiative to scale up outside Lebanon. 

Loulya from Fabric Aid talked about their new shop Second Base in Gemmayze and their new collaboration with universities to bring new internship opportunities with their sponsors.

Malak Yacout, owner of Volunteer Circle is focusing on workshops entitled “I am remarkable” to help and facilitate public speaking.

Lama Mahmoud, partner in Cezar Projects, is focusing on agriculture during the pandemic situation and rural products. They’re launching 2 new guest houses as well.

Hussein Sleiman, owner at Find A Nurse, is launching a new brand “home heroes Lebanon” and a home PCR service. He also mentioned that since digital marketing was becoming expensive ,  they were opting for hiring a salesperson.

Rafic Saab, Owner at Drawwit, mentioned that he was taking the opportunity to sell masks in order to prevent covid-19. He’s trying to stay active online and to reach out to NGO’s in order to build new partnerships.

“It was a fun get-together to meet up and to share news that might be helpful and inspiring during these difficult times,” concludes Jessica Ghaoui, Senior Business Development and Program in charge of the Impact Rise Program at Berytech.

The Impact Rise Social Innovation Program is designed and managed by Berytech and funded by the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) to put ambitious startups, devoted experts and support partners on the road to growing sustainable and successful social ventures. Read more about the Impact Rise Program.

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