Within the multiple activities of the Agri-Food Innovation Days 2022, Nadine Khoury, President of the QOOT cluster took the stage to announce the cluster’s official registration as a non-governmental organization.
Berytech, with the support and co-funding from The Kingdom of The Netherlands, helped setup QOOT, the first agri-food innovation cluster in Lebanon under the ACT Smart Innovation Hub.
Three Years of Growth
“We are a community of entrepreneurs and pioneers, SMEs, multinational companies, knowledge providers, support institutions, and funding companies. We want to make Lebanon’s flag fly higher on the World Food Innovation & Trade map,” says Nadine to the crowd gathered to hear QOOT’s announcement during AFID2022.
“When we started QOOT three years ago, we were 20 members. Today we are 90 members and counting working in 19 different subsectors, from agri-input companies to food production, wineries, breweries, distilleries, poultry, compost and the list goes on.
We have signed 12 collaborations and partnerships with academia and the Chambers of Commerce and we just signed today a 13th partnership with the Notre Dame University NDU. In 2020, despite the crisis and pandemic, we organized 11 activities for our members and in 2021, we organized 26 activities between workshops, webinars, international trade meetings, collaborations and networking sessions.”
“We joined the QOOT cluster two years ago and it’s been a good experience because of the positive environment the cluster has created. The business opportunities that members receive are priceless whether in export, networking and opportunities in new markets,” reveals Chadi Tannous, CPO of The Three Brothers Gin.
An Independent NGO
QOOT is now an independent NGO registered under the number 1477. This ensures the cluster’s sustainability, allowing it to grow on its own led by its own members while opening doors for fundraising and new opportunities.
“Moving forward, we have big plans and goals. We just created an export excellence center, we have a business and product innovation hub where members can meet all our innovators, we also have an export booster center. Members can also benefit from a new service we are working on in innovation for readiness, innovation for competitiveness and innovation for internationalization.
Valerie Zakka, Member of the QOOT board joined Nadine on stage to share her experience: “QOOT has been an amazing community for me and for all the members, it’s not only a place to network it’s also a place where you belong. If you like this industry then QOOT is where you must be. We have created an amazing environment for people to feel comfortable sharing their challenges and innovations and a safe environment where people who are competitors can share information relevant to their industry. We have also created a unique environment in Lebanon of innovation and development.”
“If you believe in reviving the Lebanese economy, if you want to become visible on the national, regional and global scale and most importantly, if you are creative and passionate, then join us.”
QOOT is open to every Lebanese agri-food business that shares its vision to make innovation the norm in this sector, including small, medium and large enterprises dealing in food production, input supplies, processing, distribution, marketing, technology, and retail, among other verticals. http://qoot.org