Three ICT initiatives in favor of startups. Ministry of Telecom, AltCity, Berytech, Seeqnce, part of the projects - Lebanon

Three ICT initiatives in favor of startups
Ministry of Telecom, AltCity, Berytech, Seeqnce, part of the projects
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The Ministry of Telecommunications has announced three initiatives, concerning digital economy and startup innovation. “Our program is complementary and will accompany startups from the creation, to funding, and then marketing for better viability,” said Nicolas Sehnaoui, Minister of Telecommunication.

According to him, Booz&Co, which was commissioned by the Ministry, has worked on organizing the ICT sector. “We have launched this initiative because the Ministry of Telecoms is the closest to the ICT sector.”

The first initiative was a business angels’ network, called ‘Beirut Angels’ and led by the Ministry. This network, which includes 50 investors, has guaranteed investments for various startups, such as Presella and eTobb. Another network, called Lebanese Business Angels, acts on the same level. It was brought by Robert Fadel, Chairman of Bader initiative.

As a second initiative, a ‘national boot camp campaign’ will start on a national level to support young entrepreneurs. The initiative will begin by a ‘Boot camp program’ announced at Alt City, one of the local accelerators, which offer startups funding, mentorship and exposure.

The new Central Bank Circular, number 331, which allows banks to fund startups, for up to 80 percent of the shares, may act in favor of this second initiative. Al Mawarid Bank was the first bank to invest in Presella, an online marketing platform.

Munir Nabti, co-founder of Alt City, said that unlike regular accelerator and incubator services, the boot camp has a wider angle, and promises to produce 100 viable startups per year. “We will give young entrepreneurs support from the beginning, way before they have a really defined angle to work on.” The Ministry said that the aim of the program will be to launch 300 startups in three years.

Nabti said that the program would help develop the idea and give it the essential sustainability it requires. The program would also help the startup to pitch, access seed funding, and pave its way.

Nabti said that they will focus on tech-empowered companies, with main care for mobile gaming, education, e-commerce, green tech, and health.

The program will start Q1 2014 and several activities will be held to search for interesting ideas. Soon, application forms will be available on Alt City’s online page.

Sehanoui said a similar initiative will also start with Berytech called Digi Hive, and other accelerators and incubators, such as Biat and SouthBic will also get involved.

The third initiative will be creating a ‘startup marketer.’ Seeqnce, one of the digital accelerators, will handle this part of the project, according to Sehnaoui, in order to give startups international exposure.
Reported by Rana Freifer
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Date Posted: Dec 23, 2013