The Agrytech Accelerator wraps phase one of its program with Demo Day that took place on Wednesday July 12, 2017 in Abou Khater Amphitheatre USJ. The event featured 17 teams showcasing their innovative business solutions across the agri-food industry to an audience of industry experts, fund managers, business professionals, startups, entrepreneurs, supporters and media.
The 17 startups went through a 2-month Bootcamp where they learned different business methodologies and connected with business and sector experts. This has allowed them to apply their knowledge on validating their business model, test potential users and market interest, and define their minimum viable product. A grant of $3300 was given to each team to be able to cover costs related to the validation process.
The startups have presented their final pitches to a jury of experts and executives in the entrepreneurship, technology, investment and agri-food sectors on July 10th, preceding Demo Day where only 11 have been advanced to phase 2 of the program including a 4-month acceleration period with $16,000 in support grants. These 11 teams earned the opportunity to pitch in front of the grand audience on Demo Day while the entire participants of this first cohort were part of a networking session afterwards.
In his speech, Mr. Han-Maurits Schaapveld a.i., Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Netherlands reiterated, “By bringing great minds together you will be able to create state of the art innovations and technologies to solve local & regional problems, like water scarcity and mismanagement. Who best can do it other than the locals who know better than anyone else what the problems are and what the local context is.”
Maroun N. Chammas, Chairman & CEO of Berytech, highlighted: “The Agrytech Program aims to support startups in scaling their activities and accessing international markets; an objective that lines with the support of the Lebanese resilience to grow the economy. This objective also lines with Berytech’s mission for the last 15 years to support, grow and fund innovative entrepreneurs.”
Ramy Boujawdeh, Deputy GM of Berytech and program Director of Agrytech, highlighted that the road is continuing and several activities will take place during the coming 6 months to connect the engineers and computer scientists to the sector challenges through a series of round tables, Hackathon and Ideathon events to help bridge the problem-solvers with end-users and help elevate the support service to a sector that is crucial to the Food security, economic and sustainable development of Lebanon and the region. Preparations for Batch 2 will start early 2018.
Business ideas in the Agrytech Accelerator tackle agri-food challenges with varied methods of intervention: 209 Lebanese Wine is an online market place for Lebanese wines, ADTech generates electrical energy from biodegradable waste, AgriHub is an online platform for Lebanese farmers, Agrysense is a platform for precision farming, L’atelier du miel is bridging gaps between honey producers and consumers, Drone Tech is streamlining pest control practices, EasyReady Hummus is creating a fresh hummus dispenser, Fresh Express is an online platform connecting packers to retailers, Lifelab Biodesign is providing the world’s smallest hydroponic modules, Makanat is a platform connecting the public to production facilities, Meka-Prep is automating the manoushe making process, Mothers Cooking is an online platform that connects the public to home cooked food, SmartGourmet is making ready-to-eat sous-vide food, Starchy has innovated a bio coating for fruits, Souk Baladi is a platform that connects farmers to consumers, Mountain Bite is an online marketplace connecting rural to urban and Na7le is innovating the collection of bee venom.
The Agrytech Accelerator is headquartered in Berytech Technology Pole located inside the Campus of Sciences and Technology of the St Joseph University (ESIB), in Mar Roukoz, Mkalles. The 11 teams will compete for phase 3 of this one-year program where up to 8 teams will receive 6 months of incubation and growth and $22,000 in Matching Grants.
The Agrytech Program is an initiative jointly funded by the Kingdom of The Netherlands and Berytech, which aims to develop startups with technology-based innovations in the agriculture and agro-food sectors.
Berytech: Founded in 2001, Berytech is a leading organization in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Lebanon developing startups and SMEs through incubation, business support, networking, mentoring, funding, access to markets, and company hosting. Berytech is a Member of the European Business Network (EBN) and has the BIC certification (business innovation center) and is also part of the International Business Innovation Association, the largest member-based entrepreneurial support network in the world.
Kingdom of the Netherlands: The Agrytech Program is part of a larger stabilization contribution of 86 Million EUR aimed at reinforcing Lebanon’s resilience by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This contribution aims to provide a better future for the Lebanese youth focusing on the importance of economic growth and job creation for a stable and more prosperous Lebanon.