News

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  • 05 Aug 2015 1:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Beirut gets new tech accelerator, Speed@BDD

    by Maya RahalJuly 31, 2015


    CEO Sami Abou Saab during a meeting at the Speed@BDD offices  

    Yesterday, a collection of Beirut’s entrepreneurial ecosystem players announced the launch of a new tech accelerator called Speed@BDD.

    A Y Combinator-style accelerator, it has drawn together thus far three funds and two support organizations: Berytech Fund IIIM CapitalMEVP Impactfund, Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program and Lebanon for Entrepreneurs(LFE).

    “We want to give back to the community and create a high quality ecosystem for startups,” said CEO Sami Abou Saab, who not long ago returned from Seattle after serving as Product Manager for Skype at Microsoft.

    Speed@BDD’s Board of Directors is currently composed of Maroun Chammas Chairman of Berytech, Fadi Bizri Managing Director of Bader, Walid Hanna Managing Partner at MEVP, and Abdallah Jabbour Managing Director of LFE.

    After 18 months of preparation, Speed@BDD is ready to accept applications from Lebanon and the MENA region, to launch the first batch of the program on September 15th. The acceleration program will have two cycles per year, each for 10 early-stage startups focused on Web and mobile apps.

    Each accepted team will get $30,000 in cash for the 3-month acceleration program, in return for 10 percent equity. Speed@BDD will offer free working space, product development and business development workshops, accounting services, legal services, and mentorship.

    “We will be very strict in our selection process, and the first element we will look at is the team: team members have to be fully dedicated and completely focused on their start-up, and preferably have some industry experience,” said Abou Saab.

    The top two start-ups in each batch will get follow-on acceleration in Silicon Valley (names of partner accelerators will be announced soon). “A great value we’ll be offering are the mentors and speakers. We are working on having on board top-caliber local and international mentors to help the entrepreneurs,” Abou Saab added.

    The CEO doesn’t deny the fact that he is intending on pushing the accepted teams as much as possible to have them deliver a beta version of their product/service within the first month of acceleration. “We will encourage them to adopt the lean startup approach and make sure they are on the right track, even if this means getting involved in their daily work,” he told Wamda.

    Being physically present at the accelerator and attending all mentorship sessions is crucial for this program. Accepted teams that are based outside of Lebanon are expected to move to Beirut and register their companies there.

    “The one thing that keeps me up at night is managing to keep entrepreneurs in Lebanon,” added Abou Saab.

    Speed@BDD is now accepting applications here.  

    --

    Maya is Arabic managing editor at Wamda. You can reach her at maya[AT]wamda.com, find her on Twitter @RahalMaya or connect with her on LinkedIn or Google+.


  • 24 Jul 2015 6:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Tony Fadell volunteered to rescue Google Glass

    blogger-avatarby Nick Summers | @nisummers | 


    Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Day 2

    Google's decision to 'graduate' Glass from Google X in January was coupled with the announcement that the team would start reporting to Nest co-founder Tony Fadell. Glass was never a roaring success -- privacy concerns and the "Glasshole" label scuppered public adoption -- so some wondered whether the iPod designer had been saddled with the project. Apparently not so. In a BBC interview, Fadell has clarified that he actively asked for the role. "It wasn't handed to me and said, 'Tony, clean it up,'" he explained. "I offered and said, 'this is important.' I remember what it was like when we did the iPod and the iPhone. I think this can be that important, but it's going to take time to get it right."

    We don't know, however, when Fadell approached Google's upper management to pitch his involvement. Had the company already decided to 'graduate' Glass before Fadell expressed an interest? If he hadn't stepped forward, would Google have carried on regardless? We may never know, but Fadell's support for the wearable could help Google to frame Glass' comeback if and when a second-gen model emerges.



  • 22 Jul 2015 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    15-year-old Lebanese taking on the world of game development


    https://stepfeed.com/entertainment/gaming/15-year-old-lebanese-taking-world-game-development/#.Va_dUflVhBf


    RYAN STULTZ

    ARTICLE AUTHOR


    Naji Kadri says that success boils down to a few key things: “You have to work hard, you have to never give up and you have to be ambitious. But the most important thing is being passionate. If you’re not passionate about your work and your skills, how are you going to get better?”

    That’s sound advice for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere – but it’s an odd experience hearing it come from the mouth of a school boy.

    But then again, Kadri isn’t your average 15-year-old. The Lebanese computer programmer has already created more than 10 games – from “Flappy Bird” clone Tappy Bird to his latest, Round. He also has created his own gaming company, Lightbulb Games Studio, and runs a blog where he not only shares his experiences but offers advice to other aspiring coders.

    Robots Revolution

    Robots Revolution was released by Lightbulb Games last summer.

    Entirely self-taught, Kadri started out with simple games – he sheepishly admitted that his first farming simulation’s graphics were done in Microsoft Paint – but has now mastered several programming languages and a host of software he uses to make his games.

    “If I don’t know [how to do] something, I just started searching online to find answers,” Kadri said.

    He must be a quick learner, as he codes and designs the games entirely on his own, telling StepFeed that the only outside resources he uses are sound tracks available online. His last game, Round, took him five to six hours a day for around two months. Pretty impressive considering he is also in school all day.

    Since starting at 12 years old, Kadri has progressed an incredible amount, and he is now working on a 3D game using Blender and the Unity game engine. He’s spending his summer working on his latest idea at Lebanese gaming company GameCooks, where StepFeed caught up with the programmer.

    In a country where tech startups can be few and far between, a situation that is slowly changing, Kadri is lucky to have found mentors at GameCooks.

    “I saw their games on Google play. They were the first time I had seen game developers in Lebanon, I was excited and I found them really impressive,” he said.

    After connecting with the company, he was eventually offered a summer internship and the opportunity to see how professional game developers take a game from an idea to a finished product.

    “The idea was he would brainstorm on a game idea,” GameCooks’ Marketing Manager Lara Noujaim told StepFeed. “We want to help him develop this idea.”

    His latest project sounds like a huge step up from the simpler, arcade-style games he’s produced in the past. Describing it as a farming simulation, Kadri said it would be a 3-D sim where the player was able to terraform an entire earth-like globe.

    Considering how much he’s already accomplished, we can’t wait to see what Kadri comes up with next.


    ABOUT AUTHOR

    Ryan Stultz

    Ryan Stultz

    Based in Beirut, Ryan is the managing editor of StepFeed. He moved to Lebanon from Kentucky four years ago, and previously worked at The Daily Star as an editor and new media specialist. With a focus on business and tech news, Ryan works in journalism in order to pursue his passion as an amateur mixologist.


  • 20 Jul 2015 5:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    These 20-somethings will help you get the rebates that online stores owe you

    ParibusParibus

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/eric-glyman-paribus-interview-2015-7#ixzz3gTyp51nw

    When Gus and his wife bought the outdoor sofa set of their dreams for $1300, they couldn't believe their good fortune.

    They had found it for $1000 less than they had seen anywhere else, and then had a $600 coupon they could use towards their purchase. What a good deal, they thought!

    But then came the best part: Notice about a rebate of nearly $300 arrived in their inbox less than a week later.

    This is the kind of story that makes 25-year-old Eric Glyman smile. 

    Gus and his wife got their big-ticket reimbursement thanks to Glyman's newly launched startup, Paribus. 

    The company's motto: "Stores owe you money. We're gonna get it for you."

    Paribus takes advantage of the fact that many of stores vow to refund customers the difference if their competitors offer the same product for cheaper or if they introduce their own additional discount not long after the initial purchase.

    There are two barriers to people actually ever getting any money back though: Every store has a different specific policy, often buried deep within the fine print on their websites, and most people don't want to go through the hassle of keeping tabs on dropping or competitor prices, much less painstakingly contacting the company in question.

    As a teenager, Glyman worked at Express, and distinctly remembers watching families come in on Saturdays to buy thousands of dollars worth of clothes at a 20% discount. By Monday, the same items would get slashed to 40% off, but very few people came back to redeem the refund Express technically owed them.

    The breaking point to his frustration came much later, when he and a group of friends bought plane tickets for a vacation, and the next day, another friend decided to join and he found tickets for $100 cheaper. He started researching the different ways companies allowed people to get refunds, saw how complicated it was, and decided to try to build something to simplify the process. 

    "It shouldn't be so time consuming — people shouldn't have to spend more than half an hour for $4 back," Glyman says. 

    ParibusParibusKarim Atiyeh and Eric Glyman

    In summer 2013, he and his friend and fellow Harvard alum, Karim Atiyeh, decided to tinker with the concept and the tech.

    A year later, they decided to quit their jobs to focus on the startup full-time.

    Paribus launched in beta in September. Users sign up with any email address that they plan to use for most of their online purchases (Glyman says many users opt into making a completely separate account).

    Every time a receipt hits their inbox, Paribus scrapes the product information and will spend several weeks poking around for potential discounts. If it finds one, the shopper will get a refund.

    Paribus takes a 25% cut of that rebate when it saves you money — though the first one is free. Right now, the company will let anyone who invites five friends spend their first year of the service not giving it any of their cash.  

    YCombinator recently accepted Paribus into its summer accelerator program and the service currently has more than 10,000 subscribers. Although most people don't get the slum-dunk payouts that Gus and his wife did, those kinds of savings do happen. More often, shoppers end up saving smaller increments — $5 here, $20 there. Several members have saved $500 in the past two months, others are perfectly happy with $15 over the same time span, because they're getting it through virtually no work on their part.

    That's the best part about Paribus, sign up once, and from then on you'll just watch money you never would have gotten otherwise flow into your inbox. 

    Although Paribus hasn't received any official contact from retailers like Amazon or Best Buy that it provides refunds for, he argues that his business is good for their business.

    Amazon is all about customer satisfaction, but its customers can't possibly monitor its 80 million price changes per day. When shoppers can get their money back easily, it's good for Amazon's brand.

    "We're out there, we're running super fast," he says. "And we love doing it."

     

    Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=10&v=NIDDLNjhcXw





  • 12 Jun 2015 6:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    JUNE 2015

    DEAR READERS,

     

    Nabil ItaniLebanon's media industry has always been considered one of the lucrative sectors for investment. Historically, the country has been known for its diverse media sub-sectors and its talented workforce. 

    With the rise in digital content Lebanon remained the region's creative hub, attracting production and post-production investment projects.

    As Lebanon's investment promotion agency, we are entrusted with the promotion of this sector, among others, and the facilitation of relevant investment projects. Subsequently, you will find in this issue an overview of the media industry in Lebanon with an emphasis on film production; a sub-sector that has great potential to develop in Lebanon. 


    I hope you will find this newsletter useful. For feedback, do not hesitate to contact us.


    Best Wishes,

     

    Nabil Itani

    Chairman-General Manager


    LEBANON: THE REGION'S CREATIVE HUB


    Lebanon is home to one of the most noteworthy Media industries in the Middle East. The Lebanese media sector is highly developed and consists of varied industries including television broadcasting, advertising services, audiovisual production, publishing, music production as well as new emerging markets such as Digital media. The industry is a major contributor to the Lebanese economy.

     

     

    KEY FACT FIGURES

      

    • The Media Industry accounted for nearly 4.75% of Lebanese GDP in 2013 and generated an added value of around 55.3%
    • The Media Sector comprises more than 450 companies and employ around 4.5% of the Lebanese labor force
    • Lebanon heads the advertising community in the Levant with a total spending of USD 463 million. It also has the highest contribution of creative industries to the national GDP in the MENA
    • The Media Industry spans across several fields: Television Broadcasting, Advertising, Production & Post Production, Digital Media, Publishing and Music

    COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES

     

    Lebanon is a source of talent to the entire Arab region that is both highly skilled and cost competitive:

    •  Every year, some 600 students are estimated to graduate with a degree in audiovisual arts. Specialized universities and faculties ensure these students are fit to meet the market requirements
    • Seven Lebanese universities offer courses in film production or audiovisual arts
    • Workers are not only highly skilled with average wages usually 50%-60% lower than in GCC countries.
    • Access to a large Middle Eastern market: Total household media consumption in the Middle East is considerably higher than in most developed markets, including the US, Japan, and European countries, with an average annual growth rate of 22.9%
    • The market continues to be highly promising with a youthful population ensuring a continued rise in demand;  52 % of the population in the Arab world is aged 25 and less
    • According to the Arab Media Outlook report, advertisement spending is expected to grow by 5.9% till 2015 owing to the economic recovery of the Arab world and the growth of digital advertising.  Online advertising is expected to reach USD 1 Billion in 2017.  The Arab online addressees is one of the fastest growing sectors with a growth rate of 2500% per annum. 
    • Liberal media sector: The country has the most liberal media sector in the Middle East, with minimal to no restrictions on broadcasting and publishing activities. In the MENA region, Lebanon has one of the highest Freedom of Expression Ranking.
    • Diverse geography: Lebanon's diverse geographic scene is considered very adequate for filming and production, facilitated with the presence of 250 days of sunlight, offering weather conditions and geographic areas adequate for shooting, and with diverse locations
    • Adequate legal framework: The Lebanese government has persistently spearheaded efforts to modernize media laws while playing an active role in enforcing intellectual property rights and regulations
     

    ZOOM IN ON THE FILM INDUSTRY

     

    We organized a conference titled 'Invest in Media' at the Cinemacity in Beirut Souks in partnership with Fondation Liban Cinema to encourage investments in the sector, in particular film production.

     

    The event was under the patronage and presence of the Minister of Information and Minister of Culture whereby they foresaw the signing of a memorandum of understanding between IDAL, represented by Chairman Nabil Itani and Fondation Liban Cinema, represented by its President Mrs. Maya de Freige. The conference included three panels of discussion covering investment opportunities, challenges, support and new sector trends.

    Subsequently, IDAL will support various activities related to the promotion of the film industry in Lebanon, part of which is the Lebanese pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival which took place in May.

     

    IDAL's SUPPORT TO THE LEBANESE FILM INDUSTRY IN CANNES

     

    We were present in Cannes  from 13-25 May along with the Fondation Liban Cinema and the Office du Tourisme, to promote for Lebanon's film industry and to network among the industry's key players.

      

    OBJECTIVES OF PARTICIPATION

    1. To create awareness of Lebanon as a media hub for the region
    2. To increase interest in Lebanon as a destination for film production
    3. To promote for Lebanese films
    4. To support companies wishing to establish their business projects in Lebanon
    5. To provide for existing Lebanese filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their brilliant work to an international
    IDAL, apart from the networking opportunities and B to B meetings, took part in a roundtable discussion on the new drive of Lebanese cinema:

     

    Roundtable: Produced in Lebanon : The new drive of the Lebanese cinema In 2015, several feature films and documentaries have been shot, including movies by Daniele Arbid, Georges Hashem, Assad Fouladkar, Maryanne Zehil, Vatche Boulghourjian...

    Academics and professionals commented on the evolution of this production and presented new initiatives to stimulate the sector across the financing, production, distribution and promotion fields. They also presented the main cinematographic manifestations during this year in Lebanon.

    A reception followed in the presence of Ely Dagher, a young filmmaker, whose short animation"Waves 98" has been selected for the official competition and won the Palm D'Or.

     

    The event also included film screenings:

     

    Screening of "Rough-Cuts", a selection of excerpts from movies in postproduction and distribution

    The road, by Rana Salem

    - The other side of November, by Maryanne Zehil

    - Nour, by Khalil Zaarour

    - Heatwave, by Joyce Nashawati

     

    Screening of « Film ktir kbeer»

    A feature narrative directed by Mir Jean Bou Chaaya and produced by Kabreet Productions.

    INVESTMENT INCENTIVES FOR THE MEDIA SECTOR 

    If you are involved in the film industry either through production, post production or distribution activities and would like to establish your project in Lebanon, you need to secure a minimum investment size of USD 200,000 or USD 400,000 (capital investment in land or machine) along with 25 job opportunities to take advantage of a range of incentives and business support services that include:

    * Up to 100% exemption on corporate income tax for up to 10 years 

    * Up to 100% exemption on profits from dividends for up to 10 years 

    * 100% exemption on land registration fees 

    * 50% reduction on work and residence permits for foreign workers 

    * Up to a 50% reduction on construction permits fees

    Apply now

    We have compiled all the information in an updated fact sheet on the media industry and its sub-sectors. The fact sheet also includes the various incentives offered by IDAL for investment projects in the industry. 


    ACTIVITIES

    ARAB-HELLENIC ECONOMIC FORUM

     

    IDAL participated in the 4th Arab-Hellenic Economic Forum organized by the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development in Athens on June 3 and 4, 2015. IDAL`s chairman Eng. Nabil Itani had an intervention during the "Arab countries - the investment climate: opportunities and obstacles" session, focusing on the investment climate in Lebanon as well as the available incentives and opportunities. 

     

    ENHANCING THE TIES WITH CHINA


    IDAL took part in the 6th session of the Arab Chinese Businessmen Conference that took place in Phoenicia, Beirut. Apart from our booth presence throughout the conference, we organized a workshop the second day of the conference covering a keynote speech by Chairman Nabil Itani, a presentation on Lebanon's investment climate, opportunities and incentives as well as a panel discussion headed by Mr.Itani on "Lebanon: Promising Investment Opportunities in the Framework of the Economic Belt of the Silk Road".



    CATERING TO MEXICAN INVESTMENTS


    IDAL participated in "The Mexican-Lebanese Business Relations Development" conference, jointly organized by the Mexican Embassy in Beirut and the RDCL. In its presentation, IDAL focused on the investment opportunities available in Lebanon in front of a Mexican business delegation who have expressed the interest in investing in Lebanon. IDAL`s presentation also focused on the comparative advantages of the country, and the incentives that each investor can take advantage of.


    JOINT-EFFORTS TO REACH OUT TO THE DIASPORA

     

    After being elected President of the Lebanese International Business Council (LIBC), Mrs. Roula Moussa visited the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) and discussed with Chairman Nabil Itani  communication projects to reach out to Lebanese expatriates and enhance the bonds between locals and expats through a common strategy to be developed by IDAL and the Council. Mr. Itani highlighted, during the meeting, the importance of adopting effective plans and programs to attract expats and encourage them to invest in their motherland. He pointed out that all States now recognize the weight of this issue and work in this direction. Itani also tackled the possibility of creating socio-economic communication networks that can facilitate the reactivation of communication via a specialized program and through studying the capacities of the Diaspora and its economic and intellectual potential, in addition to its investment interests.

     

    HONORARY DINNER FOR MEMBERS OF ARAB CHAMBERS 


    IDAL organized a dinner to honor the delegations participating in the "Lebanese economy: Strategic Guidelines for economic and social development" forum held at Phoenicia Hotel, on April 1st, 2015, of which IDAL was a sponsor. IDAL`s Chairman Mr. Nabil Itani delivered a speech, stressing the importance of holding this conference at this period of time, where Arab countries and the Middle East region face major challenges and changes that reflected on economic sectors, and on the overall investment climate. 

     

    MOBILIZING THE DIASPORA

     

    IDAL participated in the "Mobilizing Diaspora for Global Integration in Investment and Knowledge Transfer" conference, organized by the World Bank Group, in cooperation with the" Mediterranean Integration Center" on May 29, 2015 in Marseille - France. IDAL`s Chairman Eng. Nabil Itani declared that IDAL is striving to set up a local strategy to attract DDI, and boost the economic link between Lebanese residents and expatriates

     

    WAIPA FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT CONFERENCE

     

    Mr. Nabil Itani, Chairman-General Manager of IDAL took part at the G20 WAIPA conference on "Foreign Direct Investment" in Istanbul on April 27-28, 2015. 

    The conference is organized in association with Invest in Turkey, B20 and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) to include Investment Promotion Agencies' perspective to G20 processes to ensure continuous improvement in global investment climate, more inclusive global economic systems and higher connectivity among all economies.


    LEBANON HAS WON THROUGH IDAL THE INVESTMENT APPRECIATION AWARD 


    For the third consecutive year, the AIM delivered the Investment Award, which recognizes the accomplishment of the countries or regions in attracting sizable and beneficial investment projects and thus contributing to the economic growth and development of their markets. Lebanon has won through the investment project of Arwan Pharmaceuticals, a project of over USD 17 million, that benefited from IDAL's support and incentive schemes. 
    The Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) is an initiative from the UAE Ministry of Economy. It is the region's first emerging markets FDI/focused event to offer a perfect blend of trade fair and intellectual features aimed at enriching institutional, corporate and individual investors attending with a comprehensive view of the investment environment in high growth regions. 
    IDAL is always exerting constant effort to improve the economy and indirectly enhance the standard of living of the people in Lebanon.

    BOOSTING RELATIONS WITH CHINA

    We met a Chinese delegation from the Ministry of Commerce to boost trade and economic relations and look into FDI computation methodologies. Mr. Itani emphasized on the fact that the economic relations between Lebanon and China are not recent and that Lebanon was the first Arab country to sign a treaty with China 60 years ago.

     

    EGYPT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE 

    IDAL participated in the official delegation headed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Tammam Salam, to attend the "Egypt Economic Development" conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh between March 13 and 15, 2015. The conference witnessed the launch of the ambition investment program for many sectors that will contribute to the development of regions and create more job opportunities

    BEIRUT FILM FESTIVAL

     

    We sponsored the "Beirut Film festival", which was organized between 12 and 18 March 2015. This sponsorship fell within the framework of the support that IDAL can provide to the media sector in Lebanon, aiming at raising awareness about the services it can offer.

    THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF INVESTMENTS

    IDAL attended EDILE's (Economic Development Through Inclusive and Local Empowerment) second Regional Exchange Session, hosted by ANIMA Investment Network on 21-22 April, 2015 in Marseille. The seminar discussed the economic impact of investment and EDILE assessment tool with a special focus on economic criterion and country-specific practice. 

    ABOUT US

    The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) is the national investment promotion agency of Lebanon. Established in 1994, IDAL aims to promote Lebanon as key investment destination and attracting, facilitating and retaining investments in Lebanon. IDAL reports to the President of the Council of Ministers which exercises a tutorial authority over it.

    www.investinlebanon.gov.lb


  • 27 May 2015 3:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)



    FADEL


    FADEL to be Featured on
    Worldwide Business with kathy ireland®


    Worldwide Business with kathy irelandTune in this Sunday, May 31st! 

    FADEL will be featured on Worldwide Business with kathy ireland®, scheduled to air on Fox Business Network and Bloomberg Television (as pd prog) this Sunday, May 31st to over 50 countries throughout the world.

    The show features real-world insights from corporate executives from all over the globe. During this segment, Kathy Ireland and Tarek Fadel, Founder and CEO of FADEL, will discuss the important topics of intellectual property monetization, content rights distribution and management, and digital asset rights clearance. Also featured on the show will be Laura Baldwin, President of O'Reilly Media, who talks about O'Reilly's role in the market as a digital distributor and shares her insights about how FADEL's software helped O'Reilly achieve their business objectives.

    So set your DVR/TiVo to hear industry insights on IP Rights and Royalty Management. Reference the channel finder below for market by market air times. 

      Air Date: May 31, 2015
    North America Fox Business Network - 5:30pm EST
    Channel Finder: 
    http://www.foxbusiness.com/interactive/about/channel-finder/index.html    
    EMEA Bloomberg EMEA - 8:30am CET
    Channel Finder:http://www.bloomberg.com/tv/channel-finder/
    Asia Pacific Bloomberg AP - 3:00pm HKT
    Channel Finder:http://www.bloomberg.com/tv/channel-finder/
    Latin America Bloomberg Latin America - 10:00am D.F.
    Channel Finder:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/tv/channel-finder/


    For more information about FADEL visit www.fadel.com or email us at solutions@fadel.com 

    FADEL Logo


  • 22 May 2015 9:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Salameh to launch bourse for startups

    (The Daily Star/HO)

    The Daily Star

    BEIRUT: Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh revealed plans to establish an electronic stock market dedicated to startups to allow them to sell their shares to the public. “Preparations are underway to establish an electronic stock market that would allow startup companies to sell their shares to the public if they choose not to sell their businesses to other companies,” he said.

    The Central Bank has launched a package worth over $1 billion to encourage startups in Lebanon.

    The governor is also endeavoring to set up the foundation for a capital market to lure Lebanese and foreign companies.

    Salameh’s recorded message came during the opening of Lebanon’s first startup conference organized by the American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Lebanon), in collaboration with Startup Megaphone. The one-day conference was held at the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City.

    It was attended by 300 stakeholders, including some 40 representatives from Lebanon’s startup sector and over 50 key investors interested in emerging markets startups, in addition to representatives of venture capital funds, business angel networks, business incubators and accelerators, and supporting institutions inLebanon and diaspora countries.

    Salameh explained that the future of the Lebanese economy depends on three major sectors, namely the financial sector, the knowledge economy and the oil and gas sector.

    “These sectors are going to act as a booster for the Lebanese traditional economic sectors and they will provide job opportunities for the younger Lebanese,” he said. “This is why the Central Bank of Lebanon has deployed efforts and encouraged accelerators in the country whereby it is granting a 100 percent guarantee for investments in startups,” he added.

    Other speakers highlighted the role startups could play in Lebanon.

    Former Finance Minister Jihad Azour said that startups and SMEs represent between 93 and 95 percent of Lebanese enterprises, and 73 percent of those operate with fewer than 10 employees.

    Azour identified a set of key objectives that would help realize an ambitious startup and entrepreneurial strategy for Lebanon.

    The former minister emphasized the need to effectively overcome growth hurdles, including access to growth capital, corporatization and access to markets in order to transition to larger businesses which create jobs and contribute to Lebanon’s economic growth. He also underlined the need to ensure long-term sustainability of SMEs beyond their early entrepreneurial stages and original founders in addition to securing efficient market structures with leveled playing fields.

    For his part, Lawrence Silverman, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, voiced the United States’ support for Lebanon.

    “The United States stands firmly with Lebanon and the Lebanese people as they face serious challenges and threats – from foreign conflicts, efforts to drag Lebanon into such conflicts, from violent extremism and huge economic stresses,” he said.

    Silverman added that Lebanese innovation and entrepreneurship around the globe date back centuries, thanks to the local good educational system. “Lebanon’s higher education system is one of the best in the Arab world,” he said.

    He added that the U.S. has dedicated, through USAID, funds to develop entrepreneurship among Lebanese youth. “In March, we announced a new $15 million program to support entrepreneurship, in partnership with the Berytech Foundation, one of the leading institutions supporting startups in Lebanon,” he said.

    AmCham President Salim Zeenni inaugurated the conference by emphasizing “the potential and aptitude of the Lebanese, especially the youth, and upcoming entrepreneurs that are roaming the globe with successful ideas and inventions.”

    Zeenni said AMCHAM considers that knowledge economy will have an enriching impact on the economic and social growth in the region, in addition to dramatically boosting job creation in the Lebanese market.

     A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 23, 2015, on page 4.



  • 22 May 2015 9:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “DMD Panorama,” The Popular Panoramic App Has Just Hit Windows Phone Store


    "DMD Panorama," an award-winning panoramic camera app, has just been released on Windows Phone Store. Launched in 2011 on Apple's App Store, it has totalled 10M downloads so far on both iOS and Android.

    DMD Panorama on Windows Phone Store

    DMD Panorama on Windows Phone Store

    Windows Phone devices are becoming more popular than iPhones in major European countries. By launching “DMD Panorama” on Windows Phone Store, DerManDar is strengthening its panoramic platform to become the Instagram for Wide Pictures.

    Beirut (PRWEB) May 22, 2015

    DerManDar, the leading start-up in panoramic technology, today announced the release of its flagship app, “DMD Panorama” on Windows Phone Store. This award-winning app was initially launched in June 2011 on Apple’s App Store and has already amassed 10M+ downloads worldwide so far.

    “DMD Panorama” is a fully automated app for creating, viewing and sharing seamless panoramas instantly. By tapping the screen to take the first picture, than moving steadily the device in any direction, the on-screen Yin and Yang symbols meet and a picture is taken automatically. The resulting panoramic photo can be shared on social media or saved on the device’s camera roll.

    DerManDar’s mobile apps (initially iOS and Android) and web tools have been fueling its social panoramic platform for the past 3 years. By adding Windows Phone support, DerManDar is opening its panoramic platform to a wider audience.

    Although ‘DMD Panorama’ was initially created for personal use, it can also be used for business purpose. It is an efficient tool for realtors, museums, and touristic sites since it makes virtual tours creation easier.

    “DMD Panorama” is available for free on Windows Phone StoreApple’s App Store and Google Play Store.


    Contact Information
    Elie-Gregoire Khoury
    DerManDar
    http://www.dermandar.com 
    +961 3280908



  • 20 May 2015 4:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Lebanon Part II: On War, Entrepreneurship, and Enchantment

    By Kristyna Zapletalova, May 20, 2015

    http://blog.maqtoob.com/lebanon-part-ii-on-war-entrepreneurship-and-enchantment


     

    Despite the dreadful war that is raging in neighboring Syria, Beirut is a city full of life and it's not uncommon to see groups of tourists on the streets and youth having fun in overcrowded pubs at night.  Even though more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees joined the original Lebanese population of 4 million, we were quite astonished how well (at least on the surface) the country is dealing with yet another catastrophe in the region.

     

    For us the most palpable testimony was the unsupportable traffic, as the number of cars had increased together with the influx of new inhabitants. Our Lebanese home and the universities where we organized most of our workshops were separated by mere few kilometers but the trip could easily take 1.5 hours in a shared taxi. Due to lack of public transport and high competition among taxi license owners, drivers try to take on as many passengers as possible and are used to moving along the road at the pace of a turtle, honking at everything with two legs.

     

     

    Our original plan was to organize four workshops, at maximum, in each country we're going to visit during the yearlong tour. Even before we launched MAQTOOB On The Move, our small team was overwhelmed with gazillions of tasks linked to bootstrapping a growing startup. Yet, due to the enormously positive feedback, we ended up giving 8 presentations, ranging in size from small intimate groups to huge noisy auditoriums.

     

    We talked to Lebanese startups in a garden setting of a co-working space +961 (dial code for Lebanon), to students of American University of Beirut (number one university in the country), and of Lebanese American University (founded in 1835 by American Presbyterian missionaries as the first school for girls in Turkish empire), to Lebanese eco-entrepreneurs, and to representatives of Lebanese family businesses. As usual, we elaborated on the advantages of embracing new technologies while building and running a business and presented a few useful and affordable apps that could help build strong online presence, manage finances, boost productivity, or help with social media.

     

    Many of the apps that are pretty familiar to the hardcore tech startup community, such as Trello or Buffer, were new for most of the people we met, and we were super motivated by the curiosity and interest sparked by our lectures and ensuing discussions. Especially the students (design, business, engineering) seemed to be attracted to our message that the Internet and available software make it possible to become an entrepreneur practically overnight.

     

    That’s why we decided to ask Adib El Aile, student of Banking and Finance at LAU, who helped us organize some of the events: Do Lebanese students see entrepreneurship as a realistic opportunity or an unattainable dream? How would you describe the eventual obstacles and current reality?

     

     

    "Its neither a dream nor a reality yet, it is somewhere in between. A lot of effort still needs to be made for entrepreneurship to become a realistic career opportunity for students, and these efforts should be directed at eliminating some major drawbacks.

    We urgently need to fix our Internet speed, I can't say this enough! This reality is a major hurdle to development. Also, more effort should be put into raising awareness among university students, who are the major group to drive entrepreneurship in the future (today only three universities in Lebanon are offering a solid entrepreneurship program for their students). Last but not least, in the long run, growth of the Lebanese entrepreneurship scene depends heavily on the ability of the Lebanese government to build an appropriate financial system to help Lebanese startups to exist here in Lebanon.

    Today entrepreneurship is being developed in a specific circle, during distinct events, and around key people, and it might look like a very distinct environment, but this is rapidly changing as a result of the growing number of private and public initiatives that are trying to push entrepreneurship to the forefront through conferences, startup competitions, and forums. Having said all that, we can't but acknowledge the huge progress achieved during the last three years and we can confidently say that the future of entrepreneurship in Lebanon looks very promising."

     

    We were also very lucky to meet and talk to students and alumni of journalism studies at LAU, and we took the opportunity to interview Yasmine Dabbous, Assistant Professor at Department of Communication Arts: Given the radicalization of the region and challenges related to practicing journalism in Lebanon, how can the concept of entrepreneurship help aspiring writers build their authority and make their stories heard?

     

     

     

    "Media in Lebanon and the region are increasingly weaponized and thus quite far from the independent journalism model. Supported by regional and foreign governments, personalities or powers, they force aspiring journalists to limit their speech to a particular discourse serving the agenda of the funders. It is largely an unfree and dependent market.

    In such an unfortunate environment, technology and entrepreneurship provide hope. Aspiring writers can now establish their own media online. Smartphones and the Internet are accessible and affordable. The step requires initiative and self-discipline but it is feasible. Entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with technological possibilities, opens new doors to those who do not want to take sides, and who wish to work as watchdogs rather than lapdogs."

     

    When I landed in Beirut for the first time in 2012, long before MAQTOOB was born and more than a decade after the end of the 15-year long civil war, I felt but optimism in the air. The conflict in Syria brought back a big deal of skepticism and omnipresent insecurity, but during our recent stay we experienced Lebanese to be very resistant and entrepreneurial souls (by the way, the 2nd richest man of the planet after Bill Gates, Carlos Slim Helu, is of Lebanese origin).

    Lebanon itself is a country of stunning beauty, fantastic food, and vibrant cultural life. We were very sorry to leave and we encourage anyone to learn more about this tiny but truly enchanting state.


    Check our first video: MAQTOOB On The Move – Lebanon


     

    Kristyna Zapletalova

    Founder & CEO

    After spending a few years in emerging countries of the Middle East and Asia, Kristyna decided to build an easy-to-use business app discovery platform to encourage financial self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship. She is on a mission to help aspiring entrepreneurs across all age groups, both genders, and different levels of IT skills to find the necessary and affordable tools needed to start and grow their businesses



  • 13 May 2015 7:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    As part of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, we are happy to share with you highlights of CardioDiagnostics journey at the White House.

    On Monday, May 11th, CardioDiagnostics was recognized as one of the top five global emerging startup companies.          

    Ziad Sankari, the founder of CardioDiagnostics, was recognized by the President of the United States. During the White House Event, President Barack Obama, mentioned Ziad Sankari by name twice during his talk. President Barack Obama referred to Ziad Sankari as a pioneer and expressed his appreciation towards his work: 

    "We want to empower pioneers like Ziad Sankari….. So today he’s improving the way we respond to cardiac incidents, which will have enormous ramifications not just in places like Lebanon but potentially all around the world. So, thank you, Ziad, for helping to save lives." 

    President Barack Obama also mentioned Ziad Sankari as one of the Global Entrepreneurs that are the face of change: "So Jimena, Ziad, Lina -- to all the young entrepreneurs out here -- you are the face of change."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

    Below is an extract of the Official White House Video "The President Speaks on Global Entrepreneurship":

    https://youtu.be/qHKWNsvE_uE