Startup Weekend North - Ag | Food | Water Innovation

    Friday, February 16 - 18, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend North - Ag | Food | Water Innovation

Friday, February 16 - 18, 2018

Friday, February 16 - 18, 2018
Event starts at 4:00 pm

Balamand University
Koura Campus
North Lebanon, North Lebanon

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Your Ag | Food | Water Startup Idea In 54 Hours

Experts predict that we will need to double global food production over the next 35 years while land, energy and water resources are being quickly depleted. In Lebanon, water demand is rapidly increasing, while only 8% of wastewater is treated.
  • Do you have an idea related to agriculture, food or water you’d like to pursue or a problem you’d like to solve but don’t know where to start or who to start with?
  • Does your idea improve a process across the food value chain? Does it innovate in the agriculture sector from farm to fork?
  • Does it solve sustainability challenges of sanitation management and water usage in irrigation, and human consumption?
Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

In this edition of Techstars Startup Weekend innovation is key. Creatives, tech enthusiasts, experts, artists, designers, engineers, problem solvers and business-minded individuals are encouraged to attend, participate, experiment and innovate.
It’s a risk-free environment where everyone is expected to roll up their sleeves and dive into the exhilarating world of startups.

Win Cash Prizes & Business Support

All the three winning teams receive cash prizes and a three month virtual incubation from Berytech.

What do you need to bring?
Lots of energy! You’ll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.
Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. Over the course of the weekend you’ll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or minimum viable product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You’ll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely! Important: You cannot have worked previously on your idea.

Omar El Maadarani
Second Prize Winner of Startup Weekend Bekaa
Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of engineers, tech experts developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.
Still have questions? Feel free to reach us at
Don’t wait any longer and join the Techstars Startup Weekend movement!
No talk, all action!

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Friday February 16th

4:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

4:30 pm
Food & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

5:00 pm
Welcome Note
A word from the University of Balamand

5:05 pm
Key Note Speech
Richardos Simon Lebbos

5:15 pm
Introduction about Startup Weekend
Mission, Overview, and Event Agenda

5:30 pm
Ice Breaking Activity

6:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

7:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

7:20 pm
Form Teams
Teams are built

8:00 pm
Begin Work
Participants will start brainstorming and developing their idea. The venue will be accessible night and day until the event ends, so participants can work the whole night

Saturday February 17th

9:00 am
Participants arrive, have breakfast, and get their workspace ready

10:00 am
Business Model Canvas Workshop
by a member from the Berytech Team

11:00 am
Begin Work
After the workshop, participants should work on their Business Model Canvas and mentors will be available to assist them

1:00 pm

2:00 pm
Check-In | Mentors Arrive
After-lunch check-in, status reports, and help to the participants will be provided

5:00 pm
Presentation and Pitching Workshop

7:30 pm

8:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday February 18th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions! Participants are working on their presentations

12:00 pm

2:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

3:00 pm
Closing Ceremony Starts
Welcome Note and kick - off Speech

3:20 pm
Presentations Start

5:00 pm
Judging & Awards

5:30 pm

6:00 pm

6:30 pm
Go Home!


Richardos Simon Lebbos
Cofounder of Startchy

Richardos is the cofounder of Startchy-  an R&D house and natural coating materials supplier for fruits and vegetables.
He won the second prize of the Agrytech Hachathon, allowing him to join the Agrytech accelerator program and develop his company. He is pursuing his education in Biology at USEK while operating his business.
Startchy is the perfect example of a success story on how a simple idea can be turned into a viable business.

Event Judges

Ramy Boujawdeh
Deputy GM at Berytech

With more than 17 years of international experience in management in different disciplines, Ramy amassed diversified knowledge in the fields of change and quality management, operations, and entrepreneurship support programs. 
With a strong business mindset and a firm commitment to achieve excellent, Ramy is an Angel Investor and actively advises early-stage startups in Lebanon. Ramy holds a B.S. in Agriculture Engineering from the American University of Beirut, and a M.S. in Business Management and Economics.

Saly Khalaf
Environmental specialist and Social entrepreneur

Saly Khalaf, Co-founder and Process Manager in “Green Ways”; leading waste management company in North Lebanon.
Saly is an Environment expert graduated from the Lebanese University holding a BS in “Health & environment” and Master’s degree in “Environmental Expertise”. After her experiences in the food lab, agriculture and waste management sectors, Saly won with her friend the first prize for the best business plan in North Lebanon which was a turning point in her life where afterward they founded their company and today “Green Ways” is running the only sorting and recycling factory in Tripoli.
As a social activist, she founded with her friends a youth leading social organization Called “New Youth Generation Organization” aiming for youth empowering and capacity building. Last November, Saly was a TEDx speaker and her speech was titled “Yes, Youth can change the City.

Walid Karam
Chairman of IEEE computer society, professor and researcher at Balamand University

Dr. Walid is a Computing & Telecom Engineer. He is also a professor & researcher at the University of Balamand since 1993. In addition, he is an Internet Society board member of Lebanon Chapter while being an IEEE senior member and chairman of IEEE Computer Society - Lebanon section.
He is enthusiastic about Free/Open Sources, the Internet of Things, Smart Cities, and new technologies.
He graduated with a bachelor of Electrical Engineering)  from Georgia Tech, and PhD in Telecommunications from Telecom-ParisTech.

Sarah Al Charif
Ruwwad Lebanon Director

Sarah started her career path as an intern at CISCO in Silicon Valley; then moved to Lebanon to work on educational, professional and training programs at AMIDEAST. Since June 2012, she is leading Lebanon's office of Ruwwad Al Tanmeya, a regional private sector inspired and led community development organization.  She is the former president of Tripoli - LOM, Junior Chamber International and Global Shaper. She is a former curator of Tripoli-LB Hub, World Economic Forum. Sarah is also a member of Lebanon's Young Leaders of Tomorrow Program (LYLOT) and Lebanese League for Women in Business.  

Coaches and Mentors

Melissa Yammine
Expert in Digital Economy and Business Development

Melissa is a Digital Economist who graduated from USJ, she holds a Master’s degree in Web Science and Digital Economy. She is the Business Support and M&E officer at Berytech and she works closely with Entrepreneurs and incubatees helping them developing their projects and responding to their needs. She is a GrowthWheel certified, taught and supervised in communication. 

Mohamad Sabouneh
Expert in Digital Startups, validation, fundraising

Mohamad has 4 years of experience in Venture Capital investments and advises several digital startups in the region. Mohamad additionally has 3 years of experience in project and construction management in the GCC and North Africa. Mohamad holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the Lebanese University, and an MBA from the American University of Beirut (AUB).

Naila Saba
Expert in Marketing Strategy & Communications, Startup Acceleration

With over 18 years’ experience in marketing some of the world's best-known brands at Multinational FMCGs including PepsiCo, L'Oréal & Unilever and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Naila is a Senior Marketing Consultant developing effective marketing strategies for Startups, SMEs and NGOs. A seasoned mentor, she is a Startup Trainer and Coach at Elevate and SoUK.LB accelerators and is a mentor with The Next Society. Naila is also the Director of Development for, an NGO that provides creative programs for refugee youths in North Lebanon. 

Rodrigue Balaa
Expert in Agriculture

Dr. Rodrigue El Balaa holds a PhD in Agricultural Engineering from the ENSAIA-France, he is specialized in food value chains analysis and sustainability standards. He is currently the chairperson of the Department of Agriculture at the Issam Fares Faculty of Technology at the University of Balamand and is involved in various capacity building and territorial development projects.

Sarah Habli
Expert in Graphic Design

Sarah is a graphic designer with experience in branding and digital design. she loves working with startups, especially if they have the same passion and drive she has for what they do. She has worked with the likes of Wamda, Berytech and several startups in the ecosystem such as Zoomaal. In parallel, Sarah worked with illustrator Hanane Kai on numerous children’s books, where she gained a true devotion for Illustration and storyboarding. 

Seth Shumate
PhD, CTO of Agrytech

Seth Shumate is the CTO of the Agrytech Accelerator program and actively volunteers as a mentor to startups.  He co-founded two solar energy research and development companies in the US.  His PhD focused on materials science for solar cell process technology which resulted in several awarded patents, academic papers, and federal research grants.        

Mohamad Kabbara
Expert in Agriculture

Mohamad is an agriculture engineer graduated from AUB. He is currently the service head at Regie Libanaise Des Tabacs Et Tombacs. He worked for 10 years as a supervisor engineer with UNDP on an ecologically oriented Agricultural project on Alternatives to the most harmful biocides used in modern Agriculture. Mohamad has a great experience in marketing and sales as well.

Joanna Abi Abdallah
Expert in Business Support and Development

Joanna has been working on projects in management and human resources, allowing her to build strong experience in establishing systems and procedures, writing operational manuals, and developing job descriptions. She has collaborated on many local success stories where he used her background and expertise to develop activities.

Lilian Volat
Project Leader at CEWAS Middle East

Lilian is an expert in water. She works as project leader at CEWAS Middle East

Walid Marrouch
Expert in environmental and resource economics, energy economics, industrial Organization and Development economics

Walid is an associate Professor of Economics and is the Associate Chair of the Department of Economics at the Lebanese American University. He holds a PhD in Applied Economics from HEC Montréal and an MA in Economics from Concordia University, Canada. He is also an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations (CIRANO) in Montreal, Canada. His research interests include Environmental and Resource Economics, Energy Economics, Industrial Organization, Applied Game Theory, and Development Economics.  

Taha Mikati
Expert in Product management, Architecture, Performance, Lean startup, Agile methodology, Manufacturing

Taha is a senior IT consultant with proven technical, product management and team building skills, currently exploring entrepreneurship with a new startup idea. He was a former senior consultant and product manager at Murex with more than ten years of experience in the ICT sector. Taha Holds a Bachelors degree in computer science from the American University of Beirut.

Janek Hermann-Friede
Expert in environmental engineering and water management

Janek is an environmental engineer with a post-graduate degree in international development cooperation. He has more than 10 years of work experience in water governance, private sector engagement and sustainable water management practices. Janek has worked on numerous projects in Latin America, Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. He develops, trains and facilitates bottom-up solutions for key management, integrity and governance challenges in the water sector.  

Michel Noujeim
Expert in environmental business consultant and business development

Michel is an entrepreneur at heart and an environmental business consultant. He believes that sustainable development and public-private partnerships are key for a viable economic growth in Lebanon. Michel holds a Master in Global Climate Change from Instituto de Empresa and an MBA from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Maya Baghdadi
Expert in business developement and consultancy

Maya is the founding partner of Seedz, a company providing business development and consultancy services. She was also a consultant for CardioDiagnostics and LASeR. Maya is an expert in in business development and consultancy and is passionate about creating a difference in her community.

Wael Saad
Expert in Agriculture engineer

Wael is an expert in agriculture engineering and is currently working wih AVSI. He graduated from Lebanese University with a Master’s degree in plant protection and Integrated Pest Management Experience.

Tracy El Achkar
Expert in environmental science and management

Tracy is working as a project manager, in a local NGO, Fondation Diane, where she organizes regular debates on environmental topics. She also evaluates the environmental impacts of startups and young entrepreneurs, who are looking for financial support. Also, she runs elevator pitch coaching for eco-entrepreneurs and help them to understand the stages of the investment process in order to raise funds.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Management from USJ, Beirut.

Bassel Basha
Expert in Agriculture engineering

Bassel is graduated from AUB in 2011 as an agricultural engineer specialized in plant nutrition and hydroponic technology. Shortly after his graduation, he kicked off his career with USAID where they have introduced the hydroponic technology to farmers across all regions in Lebanon. In 2013, he joined Green Studios who are the leaders in Hydroponic Green Wall and Roof Garden Technology as a Contracting Manager for a period of four years. Currently, he is the Assistant line Manager of fertilizers at Unifert. 

Zahy Rabahieh
Expert in Finance Consultant - Funding Solutions - Tech Start-ups & SMEs

Zahi is the managing Director of Klever, he is an expert in finance consultancy, funding solutions.

Ghassan Tayoun
Expert in Civil Engineering

Postgraduate degrees in Civil Engineering from Dalhousie & TUNS (Canada) and Paris VI (France).  Extensive experience in Strategic Tourism Development Planning with an accent on sustainability Current Member of the Municipal Council of Zgharta Ehden in charge of strategic planning and decentralized cooperation with several projects in progress: - Rachiine River Basin and Water Cycle Charter (Zgharta-Ehden and AUDE (France)) - Transition towards a more sustainable all-season tourism practice with accent on heritage, culture and use of digital media in promotion (youth jobs) - Creation of a Land-use and Urban Planning agency within the Municipal Federation - Mentoring 4 candidates to the Sustainable "Green" City Management Certificate (water and waste water infrastructure management, sustainable energy, with BTVL and CNAM)

Christelle Iskandar
Expert in food agriculture engineering

Dr. Christelle Iskandar is an assistant professor at the University of Balamand, at IFFT (Issam Fares Faculty of Technology) – AFID (Agronomy and Food Industry Department). She studied Food Industry Engineering at the Saint Joseph University (USJ) ESIA (Ecole Supérieure d’Ingénieurs Agroalimentaire). She completed her PhD in the domain of Food biotechnologies and processes, specialized in food microbiology and genomics at the University of Lorraine Nancy France. At the University of Balamand, she teaches several courses in the domain of biology and food sciences. In fact, she supervises the field of Food Sciences. As for the research, she is cooperating with Dr. Rodrigue el Balaa in order to build an advanced research laboratory giving them the opportunity to conduct multiple research plans in the domain of agriculture, with the collaboration of several Lebanese and international universities.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend North - Ag | Food | Water Innovation team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors


Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend North Lebanon is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Joey
  • Tala
  • Hady
  • Michael
  • Sarkis
    Bou Daher
  • Assem
    Abdel Malak


Tala Saleh
Events and Outreach Coordinator at Berytech

Tala studied Business Marketing at the Lebanese American University and proceeded to work in an upscale luxury environment managing customer accounts in Fashion and Business, implementing quality assurance on projects, managing the production team, and demonstrating high level customer satisfaction. Seeking career growth and improvement, Tala shifted to working in the fast environment of events developing and implementing community activities, attracting PR, developing relationship with key stakeholders, and constantly exploring new events.

Event Staff

Fadi Naffah
Agrytech Program Manager at Berytech

With more than 15 years of international experience in management in different disciplines, Fadi amassed diversified knowledge in the fields of technology implementation and business transformation delivering value to stakeholders through engagements in consulting, project management, telecom, IT and software solution, operations, and entrepreneurship support programs. With a strong business mindset and a firm commitment to achieve excellence, Fadi actively advises early-stage start-ups in Lebanon and Africa. Fadi holds an Executive MBA from ESCP Europe, Master of Engineering in Telecommunications and Computer Science, he is a certified Business Incubation Manager from InBIA and PMP Certified.

Josette Noujaim
Community & Business Manager

A self-confessed social media addict driving the content and social media marketing for companies across different industries.

Reina Dib
Head of Communication & Outreach at Berytech

Reina is the head of Communication & Outreach at Berytech

Christiane Gebran
Chair of UOB-IEEE Student Branch

Christiane is a Masters Student of Electrical Engineering (Power & Control) at the University of Balamand. She is chair of the UOB – IEEE Student Branch. Christiane takes special interest in topics related to renewable energy and sustainable living. She has taken a leading role in organizing a number of conferences, projects, and initiatives at the Faculty of Engineering at UOB.

Sandra Haidar
Chair of the UOB – IEEE Power and Energy Society Chapter

Sandra is a Masters Student of Electrical Engineering (Power & Control) at the University of Balamand. She is the newly elected chair of the UOB – IEEE Power and Energy Society Chapter.  Sandra has helped organize startup competitions at the University of Balamand. Sandra is a tech and green enthusiast.

Sarah Chahine
Chair of the UOB – IEEE Computer Society Chapter

Sarah is Masters Student of Computer Engineering (Cyber Systems Engineering) at the University of Balamand. She is the newly elected chair of the UOB – IEEE Computer Society Chapter. Sarah has been an active member of the UOB – IEEE Student Branch. She is a tech enthusiast that takes special interest in cybersecurity and entrepreneurship.

Jessica Ghaoui
Site manager

Jessica is the Site manager of Berytech Bechara el Khoury BDD. After completing a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from USEK University, she graduated from a dual MBA/MIB (Masters in Science of International Business) program from NDU in partnership with Bordeaux Business University (France). She has experience in business analysis, interaction management, and negotiations.  

Elsy Sakr
Student Agriculture Engineer

Elsy is a student at Balamand University completing her second year in Agriculture Engineer. 

Yara Kawtharani
Accounting Student

Accounting student at the University of Balamand

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