On the weekend of March 31st, April 1st & 2nd, the Agrytech Hackathon took place in the Berytech Technology Pole located inside the Campus of Sciences and Technology of the St Joseph University (ESIB), in Mar Roukoz, Mkalles over 48 continuous hours. The hackathon is part of the Agrytech Program, an initiative jointly funded by the Kingdom of The Netherlands and Berytech, aiming to develop startups with disruptive innovations in the Agri-Food sector leveraging on technology and innovation, providing them with the adequate technical and business resources and support to scale into successful businesses of global impact.
The event is supported by platinum sponsor Unifert (http://unifert.com/), as well as SE Factory (http://sefactory.io/), CNC Labs Lebanon (http://www.cnclablb.com/), Waste Studio (http://waste.studio/), and Biolicious (https://www.facebook.com/bioliciousdelicious/).
The Agrytech hackathon is the first dedicated hardware and software hackathon with a full electronics and fabrication facility by gold sponsor CNC Lab (http://www.cnclablb.com/) facilitating all the participants’ prototyping needs. Other technical partners included: National Instruments, offering LabView workstations and My RIO Controllers; Scriptr.io with their innovative Agile IoT Platform; Raidy Printing for 3D Printing. The hackathon was also the first to addresses technology and innovation in the agriculture and food sectors.
The Agrytech Hackathon received over 100 multidisciplinary applicants with varying backgrounds of agriculture and food sectors, business and finance, and hardware and software engineering, who pitched 22 unique ideas, supported by our industry partners who featured Case Challenges addressing opportunities for development in their work fields. Teams were guided by 35 expert mentors from leading organizations. Up to 30 partners including UNICEF, World Food Programme, USJ, ISOC Internet Society-Lebanon, MENA Devs Group, Green Studios, Jusoor Syria, Wamda, ArabNET, among others; engaged in the 48-hour event.
Selected by the notable panels of judges, Souk Baladi was awarded first place, presenting an online marketplace connecting small farmers to niche stores, and offering a traceable impact-centered journey from farm to fork. Souk Baladi team members are: Lama Miri, Yara Slim, George Kfoury, Ghida Shehab, and Mohammad Rachid.
The second place team, Starchy, synthesizes bio-plastic for fruits and vegetables aiming to offer an organic alternative to wax and vacuumed plastic for preserving food to extend their shelf-life, delaying oxidation and decreasing the mass of thrown food products, aiming to benefit farmers and merchants alike. The Starchy team is comprised of: Richardos Lebbos, Kayssar Eid and Tony Barcha.
The first and second place winners tackling food quality and impact related to the agriculture value chain were awarded 3,000 USD and 1,500 USD respectively and direct access the Agrytech Accelerator program, with access to receive up to 1 year of incubation and business support and up to 40,000 USD in grant-funding.
A special recognition prize of 500 USD was awarded to PetAgroponics, a project by ReAble (https://www.reable.tech/) with team members Emile Sawaya and Hussein Hazime. PetAgroponics aims to offer an AI-based emotionally reactive plant pet for children, particularly with mental-disabilities such as autism; showcasing emotional behavior such as sadness when the plant needs watering, and happiness when the plant has received sufficient sunlight.
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Berytech: Founded in 2001, Berytech is a leading organization in the Entrepreneurial Eco-system in Lebanon developing startups and SMEs through incubation, business support, networking, mentoring, funding, access to markets, and company hosting. Berytech is a Member of the European Business Network (EBN) and has the BIC certification (business innovation center). Visit: www.berytech.org
Kingdom of the Netherlands: Dutch Ambassador to Lebanon, HE Mr. Schaapveld noted the “importance of economic growth and job creation for a stable and more prosperous Lebanon.” Adding, “This contribution will provide a better future for the Lebanese youth. This program is part of a larger stabilization contribution of 86 Million EUR aimed at reinforcing Lebanon’s resilience.” More from the official launch of Agrytech Program here: http://berytech.org/berytech-the-embassy-of-the-netherlands-launch-agrytech/