Posted on November 6, 2020
For the third year in a row, Berytech has partnered with Future Agro Challenge (FAC) to catalyze innovation in the agri-food industry and bring the FAC competition to Lebanon.
FoodSight – an online platform connecting food manufacturers with freelance experts in the food industry won the title Lebanese Agripreneur of the Year, competing against local agri-food startups for the title. The startup is now eligible to represent Lebanon at the Global Agripreneurs Summit 2021 and compete with the most promising agri-food startups from across the world for the title of Agripreneur of the Year.
The global competition that targets food and agribusiness startups from various corners of the globe addressing national, regional and global challenges, was founded by Carla Tanas who joined the Lebanese virtual competition addressing the participants and the audience: “Future Agro Challenge is a global network that is in over 60 countries across 5 continents. We want to look at agriculture at the very local level because agriculture innovation comes first for us. It is not about the latest technology or the latest invention in the sense of synthetic biology that has been playing a fundamental role in a lot of the current media. Here we want to change the voices because if we want to revolutionize agriculture, it comes from the fundamentals of bringing the farmers forward and bringing the agricultural part forward as well. Countries in regions like the MENA, Sub Sahara and Latin America play a essential role because they are areas where agriculture plays a fundamental role in their GDP. We want to support these regions in bringing more and more innovation to the forefront and leading the way for the global food chain.
We want to congratulate every one of you for bringing forward your ideas, the opportunities are endless. Our winners have come from different countries and have raised investments from celebrities like Aston Kutcher. They have been able to receive personal invitations to the white house. We’ve given them extended media leverage and many other opportunities. I’m hoping many of you will be able to get this opportunity to be part of a global network that will give you access to new networks and new markets.”
The winner, FoodSight, offers a range of services from advisory to implementation on projects related to food production, standardization, regulation, and compliance. The platform will simplify export requirements for local food manufacturers, improving their product quality and competitiveness. The online platform connects food manufacturers with freelance experts in the food industry who are ready to tackle challenges in food safety, food quality, and export-readiness. The team of women founders is expert in biochemistry, food technology, quality assurance, and food science.
Closely behind in the second place came Ground Vertical Farming, offering a complete vertical farming solution that includes fully automated vertical panels, growing mediums, seeds and fertilizers, in addition to the main controller. The solution can be operated all year-round and helps optimize the use of agricultural space and achieve the highest yield at the best quality, all the while reducing costs. The startup offers greenhouse owners the possibility to better plan vegetables and greeneries despite the recession, economic crisis, climate change, lack of agricultural areas, and high labor and energy expenses.
Competing startups also included Akle – a nutritious plant-based food bar, Thamra – a social enterprise aiming at alleviating the sufferings of agriculture producers and consumers, and Trustart – a platform that offers professional assistance to any individual who has land and wants to start planting it.
The online event hosted a jury panel of experts and professionals including Hill Skaff Semaan – Food production and business development professional, Lina Zgheib – Seeds Line Manager at Robinson Agri, Bassel Aoun – Project Manager at Kafalat iSME Programme, Bashar Berro – Value Chain Development Expert, and Ramy Boujawdeh – Deputy General Manager at Berytech and ACT Smart Innovation Hub Program Director.
Boujawdeh saluted the competitors for their innovative spirits: “Arriving at the final stage in the Future Agro Challenge Lebanon plays a big role in where you are and what you have achieved so far in the entrepreneurship scene. You have a long road ahead and competitions give you exposure to showcase what you are working on. FAC is a global platform that not only tackles innovation but addresses agri-food innovations and the challenges around the globe. We do that in Lebanon too with our program under the ACT Smart Innovation Hub initiative, through our Agrytech program and our QOOT cluster work. With that, we work on removing the bottlenecks and disrupting some of the activities that are across the chain to make it more productive, more sustainable, and ensuring that the future of our generations is filled with healthy and diverse food while preserving water and soil.”