Speakers: Gary Stewart, Stephane Gantchev, Ramez Mohamad, Mike Butcher
Moderator: Paul Bragiel
The panel started off by discussing whether there are too many accelerators today and got mixed reactions. Areas such as Europe do have too many accelerators and emerging markets such as Lebanon do not have enough.
- All panel speakers agreed that some people have no business running accelerators. They are many accelerators out there who don’t know how invest properly so they possibly should be educated and trained, or work together.
- There was a debate on whether accelerators would last or become useless. An opinion was shared that if accelerators don’t start accelerating from universities, grass root, they shall become useless.
- Paul supported government investments into the sector however Mike disagreed and said he would rather governments put better regulatory frameworks and regulations instead.
- Ramez shared from his experience that at Flat6Labs, they have learnt that it is more essential to pick the team and not the idea. Teams stay, ideas change. Remaining panel concurred.
Paul summarized the panel with the following 3 points.
- Hopefully the bad accelerators will die out
- It’s all about the team
- Everyone has a role to play in the ecosystem.
Fireside: Shaping Entrepreneurs
Speaker: Kalina King
Moderator: Gary Stewart
In the fireside chat, Kalina shared some important advice and tips.
- Lebanon should be thinking very seriously about educating and providing the platform so there’s the tech talent to fuel startups.
- Stay hungry. Keep learning. Go online. Find like-minded people. Stay curious.
- Lebanon is very similar to Hong Kong in terms of education and community for startups.
Panel: Expats as Entrepreneurs
Speakers: Ivan Hernandez, Jonathan Giesen, Alina Gratschner and Rani Saad.
Moderator: Leen Segers
This panel discussed what lead them to become expats whether personal or business focused. They also discussed how being an expact impacted their personal relationships back home.
In terms of how challenging it is to move somewhere new and start from scratch, Ivan highlighted that you should identify the opportunities, network, engage, and learn all about the society you are in. You have to take the opportunity that you have, of where you are, and make something out of it.
Ivan added that if you want to have an ecosystem, you need to build it. You have to take action. You can build it gradually over a few years.
Jonathan emphasized that we are talking about a huge opportunity that is available in Lebanon where the ecosystem is rapidly changing and growing, however we have to work on our infrastructure. Also, BDL Accelerate has created something similar to a club where likeminded people have come together and networked but the challenge will be sustaining the enthusiasm.
Ivan concluded that BDL Accelerate 2014 could be the catalyst to create the momentum to build the Lebanon ecosystem.
The intervention session consisted of 5 stellar speakers presenting topics they are passionate about within a total of 70 mins.
Gary Stewart presented The Case for Corporate Accelerators
Mario Berta presented Sell, Sell, Sell
Hafez Virjee presented De-Risking Startups
Till Ohrmann presented Connecting Entrepreneurs
Vitaly Golomb presented Blueprints for Success
Closing Speech: Blueprints for Success
Speaker: Marianne Hoayek
In the conference closing speech, Marianne summarized the 2 day events:
- More than 50 industry veterans shared success stories, insights, how to attain and retain talent, and more.
- In the past two days countless entrepreneurs met with Angels, VCs, Investors, and pitched to them.
- Lebanon will have soon have a stock exchange market dedicated to the industry.
- UK Ambassador Tom Fletcher revealed the Lebanon-UK Tech Hub.
- Entrepreneurs seemed eager to work and Banque du Liban will work to provide access to resources under one platform.
- She thanked all the prominent speakers who came from around the world, as well as the partners who made it all possible and the audience for fueling the enthusiasm.
The 8 selected finalists pitched for 6 minutes each in front of the jury: Charlie Graham-Brown, Mario Berta and Hafez Virjee.
The 8 starts up were:
- Go Ijaza
The jury then took 15 minutes to deliberate and the results were:
The runner ups:
The Beirut Regional Winner is:
Congratulations to the startups!
That is a wrap from us! See you next year!