Agrytech Hackathon Took Place in Lebanon
March 31st marked the kick-off of the first Agrytech Hackathon in Lebanon, at the Berytech Technology Pole for over 48 continuous hours. The hackathon is part of the Agrytech Program, an initiative jointly funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Berytech, aiming to develop startups with disruptive innovations in the Agri-food sector – leveraging on technology and innovation, providing them with the adequate technical and business resources and support to scale into successful businesses of global impact. The Agrytech Hackathon received over 100 multidisciplinary applicants with varying backgrounds of agriculture and food sectors, business and finance, and hardware and software engineering, who pitched 22 unique ideas. 35 expert mentors from leading organizations guided the teams. Up to 30 partners including UNICEF, World Food Programme, USJ, ISOC Internet Society-lebanon, MENA Devs Group, Green Studios, Jusoor Syria, Wamda, and Arabnet, among others; engaged in the 48-hour event. Participants from technical developers, engineers, agronomists, food experts, designers, to innovative problem solvers of the Agri-food space in Lebanon and the region, were given 48 hours to generate a prototype (or a demo of a prototype) to answer to the industry’s challenges. Souk Baladi was awarded first place and a $1,300 prize, presented an online marketplace connecting small farmers to niche stores. Starchy won second place ($1,500 prize), it synthesizes bio-plastic for fruits and vegetables aiming to offer an organic alternative to wax and vacuumed plastic for preserving food to extend their shelf-life, delaying oxidation and decreasing the mass of thrown food products, aiming to benefit farmers and merchants alike. Both winners will have direct access to the Agrytech Accelerator program with the opportunity to receive up to 12 months of support, and up to $40,000 of grant funding.