Lebanon Businessnews News

Berytech launches
agri-food incubator
Aimed at engineering,

agricultural, and ICT graduates

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Agrytech, a smart agri-food tech hub, is being launched by Berytech. It is the first of its kind in the local market. The program is jointly funded with the Embassy of the Netherlands.

The program aims to target agro-engineering, agricultural, and ICT university graduates to come up with tech innovations that challenge, among other applications, food security and water shortages in the agriculture sector, as well as helping to evolve practices across the agricultural value chain. The Netherlands has provided 90 percent of the required funds, €2.8 million ($3 million), and Bertytech will provide the remaining ten percent, $300,000.

Ramy Boujawdeh, Deputy General Manager at Berytech, said: “Our objective is to widen agricultural and food production industries.”

Marc Zeenny, Commercial Attaché at the Dutch Embassy, said: “Many graduates are unable to find work but have good tech ideas. They need support in nurturing them. We have provided finance from a larger fund in support of economic development, especially the agriculture sector and water subsector.”

According to Boujawdeh, Agrytech will translate agricultural innovation into commercial opportunities for businesses, and adhere to international standards and regulations.

A list of 30 startups comprising teams of two to three people will be chosen from online applications for the initial two-month program. Each startup will receive $3,300, to enable them to reach a minimum viable product (MVP) stage for validation purposes. Startups will also have access to a Fab Lab, a digital fabrication factory. A shortlist of 15 companies will receive a $16,000 investment and enroll into a four-month accelerator program that provides business support including hosting, development, and mentorship, as well as master class access. Eight companies will be finally chosen for a six month program. Each will receive an additional $22,000 in further investment that the startup will have to match. The startups will be sent to Europe to meet with experts and to test their products for advance development.

The program is open to Lebanese graduates, as well as resident Syrians and Palestinians.

An inititive of the University of Saint Joseph, Berytech Foundation is a local incubator, accelerator, and business development center.

The $3 million provided by the Netherlands is part of the €86 million (around $92 million) granted to Lebanon in 2016.

Reported by Derek A. Issacs
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Date Posted: Jan 11, 2017