I’ve been meaning to shed more light on the startup scene and the whole ecosystem in Lebanon for quite some time now. Ever since the Circular 331 came to be, we’ve witnessed a rise in the number of startups, accelerators, VCs, startup competitions, hackathons and even co-working spaces.

Beirut’s ecosystem has expanded and matured significantly in the last three or four years but there are still many challenges facing the startups and whether the whole ecosystem is sustainable or not. I believe that we’re moving in the right direction and that enhancing the internet infrastructure, which is on top of PM Hariri’s agenda and being led by a result-driven Ogero team, will help grow the ecosystem in Beirut and more importantly expand its reach beyond Beirut, but we’re still not there yet and time is against us.

I know I have plenty of catching-up to do but I will start with the most recent initiatives and events, mainly the first batch of #Agrytech that was announced recently:

What is Agrytech?

Agrytech is an accelerator initiative jointly funded by the Kingdom of The Netherlands and Berytech. The aim is develop startups with technology-based solutions for agriculture and the agro-food sector and provide them with the adequate technical and business resources as well as community support to scale their ideas into successful businesses with global impact. 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 Agrytech Accelerator wrapped up Phase 1 of its program almost a month ago with Demo Day where more than 17 teams showcased their innovative business solutions across the agri-food industry to an audience of industry experts, fund managers, business professionals, startups, entrepreneurs, supporters and media.

Out of these 17 startups, 11 will make it to the second phase and get to pitch their ideas. The first phase gave $3,300 in order to help the businesses validate themselves. The second phase will be 4 months long, with support and grants of $16,000. Out of the 11, 8 will be selected for a 6-month incubation period, with $22,000 in grants.

Meet The Batch I startups of Agrytech’s accelerator program:

209 Lebanese Wine: an online marketplace for Lebanese wine. I love that website and the concept behind it.
ADTech: generates electrical energy from biodegradable waste
Agrysense: is a platform for precision farming
AgriHub: is an online platform for Lebanese farmers
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
Na7le: is innovating the collection of bee venom. 

I’m familiar with some of the startups but there are new ones that I haven’t heard of till now. I loved the “EasyReady Hummus” idea, as well as the “Mothers Cooking” concept and both the “Souk Baladi” and “Mountain Bite”. I once presented an idea to help connect farmers to consumers but that was for some university project so I absolutely love the idea!

If you want further info on these startups, read [here] and [here].