What a pioneering decade this has been ! Berytech was created right at the turn of the Century by visionaries at the Saint-Joseph University to be the first technological pole in Lebanon and the region that provides a conducive environment for the creation and development of startups, hence taking part in the economic revival of the country, participating in wealth and job creation, and retaining graduates and hi-level skills in Lebanon.
And what a pioneering decade ! Berytech grew from one technology pole in Mar Roukos in 2001 to another on Damascus Road in 2007, to the creation of the first venture/seed fund for technology startups in 2008, throwing along the way several pioneering activities: Incubation Awards, entrepreneurship contests, summer schools & regional academies for entrepreneurs, “from idea to startup” courses to engineers, Micro-Entreprise Acceleration Programs, university roadshows, local & international exhibitions & workshops, Entrepreneurs Forums, startup-weekends, mentoring programs, networking events, lunch-debates, gala dinners, etc etc. to name just a few.
To date, Berytech housed a repertoire of more than 150 entities, assisted more than 2,000 entrepreneurs in the several outreach programs, disbursed more than 350k$ in grants to startups, and invested more than 4M$ in Lebanese technology companies, and was the first in the region to receive the EU accreditation as a Business Innovation Center (BIC), opening up access to its companies to international networks.
On the occasion of Berytech’s 10th anniversary, 10 entrepreneurs from the community were awarded trophies during a gala dinner at the FourSeasons Hotel, Beirut. Even though in those times, all entrepreneurs need to be rewarded for their efforts, but choices had to be made based on remarkable and sustainable efforts throughout those last years. 3 trophies for Continuous Growth rewarded 3 entrepreneurs based on their performance throughout their stay in Berytech: continuous growth & innovation, job creation, development in international markets, and winners of various awards:
- Ethos, a digital agency, co-founded by Marc Lati & Bassam Hakim in 2006, which started with a team of two and with Berytech as their first customer to a team x10 and customers reaching KSA.
- Invigo, providing value-added services to more than 50 operators around the globe, co-founded by Fouad Goraeib, and winners of Berytech Incubation Awards 2004, now grown to 30+ engineers.
- Paravision, a leading multimedia Web services company, co-founded by Michel Sfeir in 2003, now grown to 60+ team members, and presence in UAE, KSA, Europe and US.
3 Alumni Growth trophies for 3 Berytech companies that left Berytech after starting up through Berytech, and still growing:
- BSynchro, started by Michel Chammas in 2005, providing IT & business synchronization services for insurance & health sector in Lebanon and the region, that grew from one person to more than 30 when leaving Berytech in 2009.
- FVC, specialized in videoconferencing solutions, founded by Ronal Hajj in 2004 and left in 2009, with now presence in the region and North Africa, and a turnover of 50M$.
- TheGate, started in Berytech in 2001 by Gabriel Chamoun as a telecine & cinelab provider, and evolved to a full post-production company when leaving Berytech in 2009 to its own premises. They have also the merit of being the first tenants of Berytech !
A Fast Growth trophy was awarded to the “gazelle” Dermandar, co-founded by Elie-Grégoire Khoury, for having a x8 valuation in less than a year, with a flagship iPhone panoramic app reaching more than 1.8M downloads since mid-2011.
A Recognition trophy was awarded to Wonder8 and its founders Boudy & Walid Nasrala, who contributed to the brand development of Berytech over the past years, and especially partaking actively in all Berytech community activities 😉
Two special Perseverance trophies were awarded to 2 women entrepreneurs, namely Mrs Maha Lahoud, founder of PlayLebanon, winner of Berytech Incubation Awards 2004, and to Mrs Michele Tyan, co-founder of DjinHouse Production, for their entrepreneurial perseverance and dedication throughout the years, while balancing their family life.
So congratulations on a pioneering decade indeed ! And another pioneering decade lying ahead ?! Absolutely! Berytech is already engaged in a 10-year process to grow to a 15,000sqm S&T park, to create an IT & Media cluster, to raise a much bigger VC fund, while exploring ways to develop ties with the Lebanese and Arab diaspora. So stay tuned…