Lebanon Businessnews News

Berytech launches agri-food
and clean tech innovation hub
Startups to receive grants from the Netherlands
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Berytech has launched its ACT Smart Innovation Hub that will provide incubation and acceleration programs for startups in the agri-food sector and in the cleantech sector that includes energy, solid waste, water, and wastewater.

The 36-month program will be funded by grants from the Netherlands. It consists of two acceleration programs Agrytech and Cleanergy (ACT is an acronym for Agri-Food and CleanTech). The program aims to create 200 direct job opportunities and 400 indirect job opportunities.

Each startup could gradually receive grants of up to $40,000 from the Dutch government as initial financing to help it kick-start its operations, said Ramy Boujawdeh Deputy General Manager at Berytech and Director of the ACT program. A startup could secure the full amount if it completes successfully the initial stages of growth, he said.

Boujawdeh said that the hub will help entrepreneurs obtain soft loans as well as equity financing by linking them to venture capital and private equity investors.

The ACT hub will also support and expand Berytech’s QOOT Agri-food Innovation Cluster which was launched a year ago. The program will create three cleantech think-tanks to lobby for an enabling environment for innovation and growth in the energy, waste, and water sectors.

Boujawdeh said: “The ACT Smart Innovation Hub capitalizes on the achievements of the Agrytech program, while adding new areas that focus on improving access to markets and partnerships through technology transfer, research to industry support, and business development linkages.”

A number of institutions will support the development of this ecosystem including the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut which will be hosting the working groups on waste, energy and water, as well as developing a paper on sustainable agriculture. The Euro-Lebanese Centre for Industrial Modernization (ELCIM) of the National Industrial Research Institute will mobilize academic and research institutions to work on commercializing intellectual property to the industrial sector. The ACT program will team up as well with universities and professional bodies to create synergies between these entities and its different components.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: Jan 16, 2020
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