Seven teams from Batch I have moved into phase three of the Agrytech Program, Lebanon’s Agri-Food Innovation Hub, the first in the region and jointly funded by the Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands and Berytech.
The official announcement came during an exclusive networking evening held at the Residence of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lebanon H.E. Jan Waltmans, who personally congratulated each team in the presence of Mr. Maroun Chammas, Chairman and CEO of Berytech, several dignitaries, investors, media, and friends of the teams.
“In an open parliamentary session in The Hague last week, one of the MPs who visited Lebanon mentioned the Agrytech program, felicitating the efforts made so far to create fair and equal opportunities for the young Lebanese entrepreneurs, and the exceptional drive and ambition of the Lebanese youth. No need to remind everyone present here tonight that it’s these kinds of initiatives that create the best possible opportunities for employment and growth in the Lebanese Economy,” commented Ambassador Waltmans.
“I am proud of the progress done by the seven teams and very happy with the achievements of the Agrytech program since we launched it in less than a year ago,” commented M. Chammas, who wished the teams good luck in this next phase of the program, one which promises to be quite aggressive and competitive.
Agrytech – Phase 3: Incubation
The finalists, who will receive up to $22,000 in matching grants, were chosen based on innovativeness, scalability, financial return, and team completeness.
The selected startups are MekaPrep – an innovative, electricity operated 2-meter machine that will prepare a freshly baked Manoushe with the click of a button; Smart Gourmet – a ready-to-eat food concept using the sous-vide technique to cook traditional authentic food with zero preservatives resulting in a longer shelf-life; Mothers’ Cooking – an online platform that connects hungry foodies with cooking mothers allowing them to buy fresh home-cooked meals; 209 Lebanese Wine – an online marketplace for more than 45 Lebanese wineries that delivers internationally while providing a powerful online food-pairing engine; EasyReady – a hummus dispenser serving fresh hummus mixes based on natural ingredients free from any preservatives; Startchy – which synthesizes starch-based bio-plastic coating for fruits and vegetables offering an organic alternative to wax and vacuumed plastic to preserve and extend their shelf-life; and Makanat – an online platform that connects food lovers, food entrepreneurs, and food businesses to short-term facility and processing line rentals.
The Incubation phase will last 24 weeks, with the aim to have the teams become investor ready. Through networking activities, workshops, meetings and classes with mentors and coaches, the teams will learn how to grow their network of support and partners, receive advice from professionals on how to finalize their product/service and build their business, as well as secure investment.
At the conclusion of the incubation phase, the teams will be requested to deliver a full-fledged pitch deck and business plan as well as financial projections and various legal documents, and finally a shareholder’s agreement and Soft-Landing Proposal. They are also expected to have developed an Investor Memorandum, and have secured clients and/or signed contracts.
The Agrytech Program board members will have monthly meetings with the seven finalists, and Berytech’s Business Support Office will deliver several Growth Wheel trainings – a visual toolbox and online platform for decision making and action planning for startup and growth companies, as well as facilitate access to Confideo Venture Mentoring (VM) where each team is matched to 2-4 mentors and initiates a mentor-mentee meeting every 4-6 weeks according to their methodology. Confideo VM supports innovation and entrepreneurial activity in Lebanon by matching both prospective and experienced entrepreneurs with skilled volunteer mentors to provide them with day-to-day professional advice.
Through Berytech and the Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands, the teams will get access to venture capitalists, business angels, mentors and strategic partner linkages as well as help with raising bank financing, grants, and seed and venture capital.
Agrytech – Program details
Launched on January 19, 2017, the Agrytech Program aims to source the top startups with disruptive innovations in the Agri-Food sector and provide them with the adequate technical and business resources as well as community support.
Batch I of the Agrytech Program started in April 2017 when seventeen startups out of 62 applicants were given the opportunity to build a minimum viable product over the period of two months with a $3,300 validation grant.
For phase 2, only eleven of these startups went into a 4 months acceleration program to validate concept, each receiving $16,000 as support grant.
In November, seven finalists were selected to join the 6 months incubation program, to experience potential internationalization, and benefit from investment.
In sum, the program provides up to $40K in grants and up to one year of support for each startup.