Image Credit: Elie Mansour

Celebrating Lebanese Innovation: Highlights from Berytech’s ScaleSmart Demo Day

In a passionate showcase of entrepreneurial prowess, the stage was set for a night of innovation and celebration on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at the Ritage Garden in Achrafieh. 

The ScaleSmart Demo Day, organized by Berytech, marked a significant milestone, as five promising startups—Ajjerni, Kudwa, Brighter Energy, BookInk, and Little Melly—graduated from Berytech’s Scale-up and Investment readiness program, ScaleSmart.

Berytech, a driving force behind Lebanon’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, aims to nurture innovation by propelling startups toward success. Through an array of acceleration and incubation programs, Berytech offers startups the essential resources, knowledge, and funding necessary to scale their ideas and evolve into international businesses with a global impact. 

As a business incubator, Berytech accelerates the growth of entrepreneurial companies by providing a comprehensive suite of business support resources and services expertly managed by incubator professionals and made available both within the incubator’s premises and through its extensive network of contacts. 

This commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship was prominent throughout the ScaleSmart Demo Day, a remarkable event co-funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which showcased the promising startups.

The event was more than just a gathering – it was a testament to the resilience, creativity, and ambition of Lebanese entrepreneurs who are forging their path in a rapidly changing world.

George Diab, founder of Book-Ink, aims to transform the tattoo industry by digitizing it. Book-Ink is not just another platform; it’s a game-changer planned to modernize and streamline every aspect of a tattoo artist’s daily operations and booking process. Additionally, it serves as a vibrant marketplace that connects artists, customers, and suppliers globally. 

In an industry lacking a centralized hub for collaboration, BookInk aims to bridge the gap and provide tattoo artists and studios with customers to scale and thrive from anywhere in the world. 

Diab’s insights on the ScaleSmart program reflect the invaluable support provided by Berytech, helping BookInk build a robust startup ready for expansion across various domains, from technology to legal, marketing to finance. His advice to aspiring startups is simple yet profound: be passionate, open-minded, and ready to manage every aspect of your journey, including the inevitable constructive criticism that comes with growth.

Beyond the spotlight on these budding businesses, the ScaleSmart Demo Day offered a unique opportunity to network with a diverse and influential audience. In attendance were investors, business development experts, trainers providing valuable insights, embassy representatives bridging international connections, and members of the Berytech team.

Founder of Ajjerni, a startup established in 2019, Samer Corban runs an online rental marketplace for various products, from vehicles to gaming consoles, books, and more. 

Reflecting on the ScaleSmart program, he shared, “It’s tailored for startups seeking funds. We received mentorship, valuable contacts, and investor exposure. 

“Funded startups looking to scale up can benefit from this program,” he added.

Founders stepped up to showcase their startups, providing the audience with a comprehensive understanding of their roles, the essence of their work, the capital they sought, and their ambitious vision for the future. 

They delivered their presentations enthusiastically, laying out their financial needs and outlining their plans for the upcoming year.

Jennifer Mansour, founder of Little Melly, a startup that provides nourishing solutions for infants and toddlers, displays an entrepreneurial spirit. With a passion for securing children’s well-being through their early years, Mansour embarked on a journey that led to creating a line of healthy baby meals and toddler snacks. 

According to her, the sooner you act on your vision, the sooner you can benefit from the wisdom and guidance of consultants and mentors throughout the entrepreneurial journey. 

One unexpected and invaluable aspect of the startup world that Mansour highlights is the relationships formed along the way. The connections forged with fellow startups and consultants can be transformative, providing support and a fortune of knowledge.

After the event, Ramy Boujawdeh, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Berytech, delivered an inspiring message stressing the crucial role of support systems, such as consultants and mentors, in shaping an optimistic future for startups in Lebanon. 

He emphasized that these emerging experiences offer a path to navigate through the challenging times that Lebanon has endured and continues to face. 

“With the proper guidance and support, these startups have the potential not only to thrive but also contribute significantly to the nation’s resilience and recovery,” he said.

In a world where innovation is crucial to survival and growth, Lebanon’s entrepreneurial spirit continues to flourish, and the ScaleSmart Demo Day was a testament to that very spirit.