Yesterday was SmartEx Lebanon’s Award Show, where the winners of Get In The Ring Beirut were presented, selected for the Global Startup Competition. Before announcing who they are, let’s talk about SmartEx and the event!
SmartEx is Lebanon’s leading business to business technology exhibition. It gathers hundreds of local and international brands from different sectors, such as telecom industries, security, and retail tech, among many others. This exhibition offers professionals a unique platform that allows them to browse through a wide array of business solutions. Organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Telecommunications, and in collaboration with the Beirut Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture, as well as with the strategic partnership of Banque du Liban and IDAL, the event was held at the Forum de Beyrouth from the 25th until the 28th of April. The event was sponsored by many key actors, such as touch, IDM, LBC, and had numerous media partners such as The Daily Star, Al-Mustaqbal, and Executive, in addition to many others.
The exhibition allowed visitors to discover the latest trends and innovations in the tech industry, and allowed them to explore new business solutions that will help them with their processes. This was done by assisting over 15 free seminars and workshops that highlight the trends, as well as a network that holds leading suppliers, service providers, and industry professionals in the country. The event also allowed prospects to engage with different major brands in order to strengthen their own brand’s presence as well as increasing their brand’s exposure, all-the-while allowing them to meet potential partners, distributors, and important people. Among the latter were CEOs, software developers, mechanical and telecom engineers, consultants, architects, interior designers, CFOs, CMOs, electrical and software engineers…etc.
There was a strong attendance in the 4-day event, among them startup gurus, investors, technologists and students. Various companies made their debut at SmartEx, and many others showcased their innovations whilst experts opened discussions on the challenges and opportunities present in Lebanon’s tech sector.
On the first day, important guests from different industries, such as Emre Gurkan, CEO of Touch Lebanon, and BRIC Director Hussein Ghaziri were present. After a keynote speech by IDAL Chairman Nabil Itani, Maroun Chammas, Chairman and CEO of IDM and Berytech, explained the constructive role of the private sector in the evolution of the telecom sector in Lebanon, and discussed the future of the internet in the country.
Day two featured a very interesting and memorable discussion with Sameer Areff, COO of Middle East South, revolving around the future of the internet of things (IoT), the technology allowing physical devices to connect and exchange data. In his tech talk, he presented great innovation references, explaining how IoT is transforming intelligent networks of traffic lights and vehicles into real time predictive SAP, a solution that helps turn thousands of predictive models to anticipate future behavior or outcome and guide better, leading to a more profitable decision-making process. On the same day, Banque du Liban, represented by Ali Nahle, Senior Executive Director and Head of Information and Tech Department, along with IT Project Managers, announced that it was developing a payment platform under blockchain and currency. On the third day, Hassan Osman, Senior Wireless Tech Experts at Real Wireless UK, discussed the business case of 5G in a Smart City.
Finally, the last day featured the Get In The Ring Beirut Event. Co-located with SmartEx, it’s a selection event for the Global Startup Competition. This event is a pitch competition that challenges startups to go through 1-on-1 battles in order to compete for wards, as well as a place in the Global Meetup in Portugal. This gives startups the podium they need to make valuable connections, as well as helps their business grow. They received help and trainings, advice for their business models and their finances. Among the 6 finalists, only three were given the winning positions. The 2nd runner up was Sidelick, which tries to provide and build the best network of trusted pet sitters and dog walkers in order to help pet owners. The 1st runner up was Spike, an application that helps diabetic better manage their diabetes by monitoring their daily behaviors and giving them reminders and tips when needed (food, insulin shot, activity..etc.). The application also stores the patient’s data for further analysis, which can be shared with doctors and caregivers. Last but not least, the winner was FabricAID, a platform which gathers second-hand clothes and distributes them to pre-existing second-hand shops after sorting them, grading them and cleaning them. FabricAID won the “Middleweight Champion” title and received a cash prize worth $2,500. It will represent Lebanon in Portugal for the finals.
We just need to wait and see how FabricAID fairs and hope to win!