Lebanon Businessnews News

Scale-up program
to launch at UKLTH
Venture building accelerator program

launched, Beirut Innovation Week confirmed

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The UK Lebanon Tech Hub (UKLTH) will launch a scale-up program in September. The program will follow on from the venture accelerator program, The Nucleus, which was launched last week. Dimitri Papadimitriou, Acting Director of UKLTH, said the scale-up program is unconnected to The Nucleus.

“The scale-up program is still a work in progress. We are currently working on the program’s branding aspects. Details of the program will be publically announced in the coming months,” he said.

The Nucleus Venture Program is a three-month program that will take a startups’ product to market within the given timeframe. Successful applicants will have access to $50,000, a mix of cash ($20,000), and in-kind services ($30,000). Equity will vary between one and five percent, depending on the startups’ estimated value at the end of the program.

The first phase of successful applicants for The Nucleus program will number 30. They will undertake a prototyping session. Ten of the applicants will then go on to complete the full program.

According to Papadimitriou, the program’s aim is to recruit applicants from three different stages: Those who have a very early stage idea and want to take it to an minimum viable product (MVP) stage, those who already have an MVP but want to take it to market, or those who already have an MVP in the market with a few users but want to further explore the market.

The range of applications is a broad mix, since applicants can also be employees of existing companies, and not necessarily startup companies, but established ones.

“If an employee has an innovative idea and thinks they can transform the business, we can help them do that. This applies to managers of a company too. This would be in full collaboration with the company they work for,” he said.

Papadimitriou said that due to the UKLTH accelerating 70 companies in the past, it has gained valuable experience regarding the needs of startups, especially on technical and business needs, which startups find difficult to access.

“Our model for idea and early stage startups is to build ideas, people, and business together with startups and go beyond traditional acceleration models providing advisory, mentor, and training,” he said.

“There is access to a whole team of developers, C-level executives (CEOs, COO, and so on), and mentors on The Nucleus. We will provide a selection of stimulated board meetings at the end of every month for the three-month period,” he said.

The UKLTH will also collaborate next month with the London-based, specialist accelerator Resolve in the Beirut Annual Innovation Week. The event will take place at antwork, a co-working space in Beirut, and at Beirut Digital District (BDD). On May 9 and 11, Resolve and UKLTH will offer startups, students, NGOs and private sector companies an opportunity to participate in the event. An array of local and international speakers will present at the event.

Startups in attendance on May 9 of the event, which will have an emphasis on fintech for inclusivity and economic empowerment, will have an opportunity to pitch their ideas and apply for UKLTH's 'The Nucleus' Venture Building Program.

Reported by Derek A. Issacs
Date Posted: Apr 26, 2017
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