An Initiative by Endeavor Lebanon And Beirut Digital District to Ignite Commercial Relationships between SMEs and Companies
Beirut, 27 November, 2014 – As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, dozens of SMEs and industry leaders gathered on Wednesday 19 November at Beirut Digital District (BDD) for IGNITE, a first-of-its-kind event where entrepreneurs pitched their products and discussed commercial deals with C-suite representatives from large corporations. Organized by non-profit organization Endeavor Lebanon and Beirut Digital District, the event united suppliers and buyers from the best Lebanese startups and leading companies in the real estate and finance sectors, facilitated commercial deals and generated first-hand product feedback to help entrepreneurs progress their business.
“IGNITE is the first within a series of pioneering activities that we are planning, to connect eager entrepreneurs with larger corporations and help them build an impressive local client portfolio, as they grow to access foreign markets”, stated Tarek Sadi, Managing Director of Endeavor Lebanon. “As importantly, the entrepreneurs’ one-on-one meetings with decision makers and industry veterans offered much-needed market feedback on the proposed products, clarifying large corporations’ needs vis-a-vis startups’ offers and pinpointing where the proposed solutions need adjustments”, added Sadi.
“The event falls within BDD’s and Endeavor Lebanon’s cooperation to support and boost partnerships between local entrepreneurs and larger corporations’ leaders, a mission critical to the development of the Lebanese entrepreneurial sector”, noted Mouhamad Rabah, General Manager of ZRE developers of BDD.”Our role will continue after the event, to offer participating entrepreneurs feedback-based guidance and increase their chances to seal deals with larger corporations in the future”, added Rabah who confirmed that similar events are planned for other sectors in the future.
Representing Al Mawarid Bank on the companies side, Chief Operating Officer Mrs. Nahla Khaddage Bou Diab stated: “Supporting our country’s SMEs, through events such as Endeavor and BDD’s IGNITE, is a great opportunity not only to boost our economy but also to evolve our national culture and ultimately improve our country. If each one of us gives back to society by making a small contribution, we will create a better Lebanon for the coming generations”.
Through a series of 15-minute discussions with each of the participating corporations, every attending entrepreneur got the chance to showcase their products and hear honest expert feedback, in a speed dating format.
Elie Nasr, Managing Partner of FOO, a startup specialized in mobile applications development, commented: “I have never thought that “speed dating” could be so interesting in the business world, but these quick discussions with large and successful corporations have been an enriching and value-adding experience, as both ends had clear expectations and the meetings came at a time when businesses are seriously searching for new ideas to implement in the coming year”.
The event was distinguished by the great deal of enthusiasm and energy that ran among participants on each side, and the fun element represented by the race against time and a bell ring at the end of each session. The speed dating sessions were followed by drinks at Digicafe, BDD 1499.
Participating large enterprises
Al Mawarid Real Estate, BenchMark, Jamil Ibrahim, Majid El Futtaim, Solidere, ZRE, M1 Real Estate, SV Properties, Premium Projects,Al Mawarid Bank, Arab Bank, Banque Libano-Française (BLF), Banque Libanaise Pour Le Commerce (BLC), Banque du Liban et d’Outre-Mer (BLOM), Intercontinental Bank of Lebanon (IBL), Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL), Byblos bank.
Participating small and medium enterprises
01 Barmaja, BAD, Dawtec, Elcir, Energy 24, Green Studios, Kashida Design, Mosaic Marble, Paravision, Tiqany, Bsynchro, Viamobile, Bnooki, CPS Solutions, Yields Management, Brate, Foo, Ubanquity.