Building on THE NEXT SOCIETY project, Berytech, in partnership with Anima Investment Network, launched the ‘Scale-up voucher for Clusters’ project offering a technical assistance voucher to assist regional clusters in developing their growth strategy and expanding business opportunities for their cluster members.
Six clusters were selected from the Mediterranean region, Tunisia, Morocco & Lebanon, to benefit from this opportunity based on their mission, track records, growth plan, and milestones.
Berytech has created a series of interviews with the six clusters to learn more about their work, the success they have had in building an impactful cluster and the challenges they face.
Meet QOOT Cluster, Lebanon
Introduce your cluster, its objective, the industry it works in, and the type of companies it gathers.
Qoot is the first Lebanese agri-food consortium that brings together Lebanese enterprises, rising SMEs, multinational companies, knowledge providers, support institutions, and investment entities to collaboratively catalyze and innovate the agri-food sector in Lebanon. QOOT exists to help Lebanese agri-food innovators thrive. Through the services and activities of our cluster, we seek to create the ideal environment for agri-food businesses to strengthen their expertise, fuel their ideas, build fruitful partnerships, and establish themselves in new markets.
In 2022, the QOOT cluster is focusing on 3 pillars to equip its members with the right service portfolio:
- Innovation for Readiness
- Innovation for Competitiveness
- Innovation for Internationalization
What has been the impact of your cluster on the industry it works in?
QOOT Cluster was launched in February 2019 and has now over 80 innovative Lebanese agri-food companies of all sizes, all committed to joining forces and accelerating the sustainable growth of Lebanon’s agricultural sector. Since its launch, QOOT Cluster has managed to build a strong community of agribusinesses and service providers in the agri-food sector, building matchmaking intra-members projects, international linkages for export boost, and knowledge transfer.
What is the importance of your cluster in particular and creating clusters in general to your country?
What makes the cluster work in a country like Lebanon is understanding the fact that together we grow, we deliver a much bigger impact, and we are stronger compared to international entities. Clusters provide an environment that is beneficial to innovation and knowledge creation, the competitive advantage that a cluster presents results in pushing the sector forward, nationally, and internationally.
What are the main advantages that companies receive from being in your cluster?
By joining the cluster, companies can:
- Access valuable knowledge, networking, matchmaking, and lobbying.
- Increase their competitiveness
- Accelerate their innovation,
- Boost their access to export markets.
What are the main challenges you face while achieving your main objective?
The main challenges that our cluster faces are in the involvement of large-sized company members, and in the engagement of some members that can be dormant, or rarely active.
What kind of support do you wish to receive in the future?
We want to be able to benchmark against large and advanced clusters (100+ members) to understand their ways of engaging their large number of members, their service portfolio that responds to the different needs and requests of different sized companies from different value chains, and their level of partnerships.
We would also like to understand more the pros and cons of sub-clustering. Examples for wine, snacks, agri-fresh, processing, parallel services, etc.
We would like to have access to communication materials or tools that can make the process of communicating and data transfer with members and intra-members easier.
Finally, and most importantly, the access to financing and grants is essential to our growth and continuity.
THE NEXT SOCIETY is an open community of change-makers, entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, NGOs, public and private innovation, research, and economic development hubs from Europe and 7 Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. It aims at mobilizing, promoting, and reinforcing innovation ecosystems and economic development in the MENA region.