Lebanese Tech Network: Empowering And Connecting Entrepreneurs

Lebanese tech network event speakers and program managers (© Hassan Nada / Silicon Luxembourg).

On May 20th, the Lebanese technology network hosted an event that connected over 60 participants, including established startups, and entrepreneurs wanting to integrate into Luxembourg, offering insight from incubation programs and angel investors.

Held at the House of Startups Luxembourg, the night featured presentations from top incubators, as well as the official representative of the Lebanese Embassy in Brussels, his excellency Saadallah Zaiter. “I was very proud to see a successful Lebanese base of entrepreneurs and to see the support from the main Luxembourgish actors. We as an embassy are ready to bridge the gap and connect them with any infrastructure support they may need from Lebanon,” said Zaiter. 

This insightful session in partnership with the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT) and the Luxembourg-City Incubator, provided an in-depth look at the role of the key players within the Luxembourg startup ecosystem. After a short introduction by senior project manager, Caroline Helou, the session kicked off with a presentation by Ann Godart, communication and marketing advisor at the House of Startups, presenting to the audience her entity along with its infrastructure, components, and beneficial tools. 

Active tech ecosystem players

Marie Lacourie, the startup advisor at the Luxembourg-City Incubator (LCI), described the support enterprises receive through the incubator and what entrepreneurs can expect when incorporating. Lacourie also pinpointed establishment phases, expansion in Luxembourg and beyond, promoting job creation, and innovation as a tool for success. Examples of offers, such as tailored coaching and flexible workspaces to accelerate startup growth were presented with examples of current and previous members of the program.

Luca Mancuso, ecosystem manager at Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), presented the initiatives’ parameters to fresh entrepreneurs, showing Luxembourg’s advancements in financial technology (fintech). He presented attendees with the process of integrating with LHoFT, and the benefits that entrepreneurs can expect from the entity. He explained that at its core, LHoFT aims to connect and create value for the entire Luxembourg ecosystem, including financial institutions, fintech startups, IT industry, research and academia, as well as regulatory and public authorities.

Thierry De Poerck, representing the Luxembourg Business Angel Network (LBAN), shared his extensive knowledge and experience, offering practical advice on what business angels seek in potential investments, their impact on startups, and how entrepreneurs can effectively engage. “I think it’s always a great opportunity to gather several entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and fields, to exchange ideas, and to learn from one another. At the end of the day we are federating ideas and helping make them a reality,” said De Poerck. This presentation was a valuable addition to the event, helping Lebanese entrepreneurs understand the dynamics of securing early-stage investment and promoting growth in their ventures.

Host, Lebanese entrepreneur, and former board member of LBAN, Elias Chbeir, brought the entrepreneurial community together for a second time, realizing the positive potential of the previous event. “We met for the first time a couple of months ago. I noticed that many of the members of our community are young, with lots of great ideas, but could benefit from the “know how” aspect. Some of the questions I received were on the possibility of integrating into the system as foreigners, and today the audience saw the possibilities, that the system in Luxembourg is all about that. Our next event will surround cybersecurity, as the majority of our experts are heavily invested in that field,” said Chbeir.

“We want to innovate in Luxembourg and ensure it remains at the forefront of innovation and disruption, as our way of giving back and expressing our gratitude,”

Maroun Altekly, Founding member of BlocHome

A close-knit community of start-up entrepreneurs

A presentation by Rida Klink, founder and CEO of Augment, an innovative Luxembourgish-based startup dedicated to bringing facility and asset management into digitalization with its expertise, was given on how the startup was successfully incorporated into Luxembourg. Augment’s purpose is to empower facility and asset managers by providing them with efficient user-friendly digital solutions. “The most interesting part of today is what I like to call lateral thinking, we had a lot of people from different industries coming together, under the same umbrella, and it opens up our thinking. Connecting, opens up doors for everyone, entrepreneurs starting out, and the ones established,” said Klink.

BlocHome provides everyone with the opportunity to own real estate, allowing to gradually build wealth in rental and owned properties without the hassle of operational and administrative tasks. This approach simplifies real estate investment, making it accessible and convenient for all. Founding member of BlocHome, Maroun Altekly, shared insights from his journey, highlighting the different tools available to startups, describing that hardships are just a part of the process and that Luxembourg provides all the necessary tools for success. “We want to innovate in Luxembourg and ensure it remains at the forefront of innovation and disruption, as our way of giving back and expressing our gratitude,” said Altekly.

Walk the talk

A highlight of the evening was a compelling presentation on digital transformation by Dr. Jean Elia, who emphasized the role of leadership in navigating a critical journey, with insight from his book “Think Digital, Act Digital, Speak Digital.”  His presentation resonated with young entrepreneurs, underlining the importance of incorporating a digital vision along the various steps of a startup’s journey. ”It’s a great benefit for new entrepreneurs to discover the ecosystem of Luxembourg, especially in regards to new technologies, and who are the key stakeholders, who they have to speak to, who to contact for funding, and importantly, how to proceed with their journey,” said Dr. Elia.

The event concluded with a networking session, with LBAN board member Romain Hoffmann, president Michel Rzonzef, and manager Teona Khubutia, along with various members of the startup community, allowing attendees to connect and share experiences while enjoying a delicious Lebanese buffet prepared by Les Saveurs du Liban.

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