The 3rd edition of the REAF Ideathon: A 3-day Journey from Ideas to Impact 

On December 8, 9, and 10, 2023, the Rural Entrepreneurs in Agri-Food (REAF) Ideathon welcomed 29 participating startups for its first phase ideathon. This third edition of the REAF Ideathon offered interesting sustainable projects and business solutions in the sectors of agrifood, eco-tourism, sustainable agriculture, and circular economy.  

Day 1 

The first day of the gathering marked the event’s official inauguration. After an introductory presentation and opening note, the participating members got to meet over an icebreaker, connecting with fellow experts in and around their fields of work. This introduction was the ideal networking opportunity and a perfect way for everyone to get familiarized with what would be their very own community of entrepreneurs for the next 2 days. 

Last but not least was the participants’ first workshop: Finding and Developing Innovative Ideas. With the completion of this seminar, the teams got to check off the first part of their goal: learning.  

Each group benefited from continuous mentorship throughout their ideation process. At the end of the day, 29 ideas emerged and were validated. 

“It was very interesting to see so many startups from rural areas, and to hear about diverse ideas in food technology and agriculture, which aim to support the Lebanese economy.”

Mr. Reda Helbawi, Senior Program Coordinator at Asher Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (USEK) one of the event’s mentors.

Day 2 

Day 2 kicked off with a workshop that focused on developing a business model. This intervention allowed the participants to start tackling the second stage of their plan: practicing.  

“We were able to learn how to identify real business problems and find concrete solutions for each of them. We were also given valuable insight into developing our ideas, and into creating solid business models to avoid as many failures as possible.”

Yara Ibrahim, founder of Les potagers de Yara

The rest of the day included different activities, from business model mentorships to pitching workshops with our experts, all built on the importance of clearly defining the solution and implementing it.  

Day 3 

On this last day of the ideathon, the morning consisted of one-on-one pitching mentorship with external and internal experts. After lunch, the start-ups moved on to rehearsing pitches with their peers, before the final submission. Each team worked with expert mentors, making sure to iron out every detail of their pitch.  

After all presentations were submitted, each start-up pitched in front of a panel of judges to rank the startups based on 5 key criteria, so the program could select the 15 startups eligible for Batch 3 of REAF. 

A celebratory dinner and closing ceremony were held after the announcement of the winning teams. The event then concluded with an inspiring note.  

“The REAF Program is not just about the workshops, mentorships or grants, it’s about the impact that each startup has with its solution, in their respective industry and the community they serve, partly through the network and channels that Berytech offers.”

Mr. Adam Sleiman, REAF Program Manager

Meet the Winners

  • ADE Drinks: Co-founded by Diana Noueihed, Christine Noueihed and Wael Al Hakim, this startup developed a fresh, vitamin-infused drink with a uniquely prolonged shelf life. 
  • Atelier Abou Zahra: Co-founded by Zaher Issmail, Mostafa Harba, Omar Farhat, this startup specializes in smart greenhouses for flower cultivation and essential oil production. 
  • Eco Gen Charger Pack: Co-founded by Alaa Harmoush, Bahaa Harmoush, this startup created a backpack that generates electricity from solar energy, but also from movement. 
  • Joud’s Butter: Co-founded by Maha Ghanem, Adham Bou Karroum, this startup focuses on producing healthy and affordable spreads, sweetened with honey and molasses and free from artificial sugars. 
  • Katret Hob: Co-founded by Kareem Kanso, Lara Kanso, this startup offers a range of highly concentrated natural products made from extracted essential oils. 
  • Kinoko: Co-founded by Zein Salloukh, Dana Salloukh, this startup is dedicated to gourmet and medicinal mushrooms, providing mycology supplies for mushroom growers. 
  • Le Potager de Yara: Co-founded by Yara Ibrahim, Youmna Iskandarani, this startup introduces new seed varieties in rural farming, aiming to create unique sauce blends. 
  • Lebanese Detox Juices: Co-founded by Dana Abou Chakra, Katia Said, this startup specializes in healthy juice blends for targeted medical cases, athletic needs, and weight loss. 
  • Pashta Pasta: Co-founded by Shatha Dagher, Najwa Btadini, this startup produces a range of fresh and dried pasta, primarily made from local raw materials. 
  • Passion Vine: Co-founded by Jalal Ayoub, Alwalid Rahal, this startup is involved in establishing new, exotic greenhouse fruit farms. 
  • Ribiotica SARL: Founded by Rita Al Haddad, this startup adopts an environmentally friendly approach to food production for sustainability. 
  • Soldier Sustainability: Co-founded by Abdallah El-Jawhari, Omar Mohtar, this startup focuses on producing rich livestock feed from organically fed Black Soldier Fly Larvae. 
  • Terratonic BioTech: Co-founded by Rayan Kashmar, Heba Hellany, this startup takes a targeted approach to decrease pesticide residues for enhanced quality in Lebanese crops. 
  • The Worm Factory: Co-founded by Mohamad Ghalayini, Heba Fadel, this startup leads a vermicomposting initiative with a range of worms, bins, and beddings for efficient farming. 
  • Vantastic VW: Founded by Eyad Abou Assi, this startup transforms nonfunctioning vans into comfortable living spaces at campsites. 

The selected winners have now entered the REAF program’s 3-month pre-incubation phase at Berytech, during which they will benefit from financial grants of up to 2,000 USD to develop their ideas or prototypes. This validation phase will end with the careful selection of 8 startups, that will move on to the 5-month incubation phase. 

About the REAF Ideathon

The REAF Ideathon – or Rural Entrepreneurs in Agri-Food Program – is an annual event aimed at supporting the launch of startups and SMEs from different regions of Lebanon. Funded by The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in partnership with Berytech, the pioneer event strives to boost socio-economical resilience through mentorship, guidance, and financial support of different teams and entrepreneurs. 

Picture of Raghid Jarrah

Raghid Jarrah

Raghid Jarrah joined Berytech in July 2021 and is currently a Communication and Outreach Coordinator. He supports the team on various ongoing projects such as ARYAF, DAWERR, REAF, SAFI, WE4F, and others.

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