Smart ESA: Ready, set, startup

An array of startups filled the halls above the auditorium to mingle and network with the crowd, in hopes to discuss future partnerships, investments, or schedule interviews with the founders to grant them the exposure they’ve been longing for.

11 October 2017 | 12:46

Source: Annahar

A picture of the crowd at ESA's campus in Clemenceau following their launched Demo Day. (Photo Courtesy of Smart ESA)

BEIRUT: Nassim Midani takes the stage of the auditorium at the Ecole Superieure des Affaires (ESA) with a bright spotlight placed directly on him, to start pitching his startup to journalists, investors, digital wizards, and entrepreneurial gurus.

Midani’s embryonic company, Dawa’i, is a patient companion smartphone application that aims to minimize drug administration errors and enhance patient adherence to medication use.

Following his presentation, the audience reacted enthusiastically to the founder’s pitch and awaited the next.

One step forward.

Dawa’i is one of many startups launched at ESA’s premier kickoff of its Smart ESA accelerator and incubator program’s latest Demo Day, which has already helped 29 startups emerge and grow with the support of 35 coaches through intense training sessions and workshops.

An array of startups filled the halls above the auditorium to mingle and network with the crowd, in hopes to discuss future partnerships, investments, or schedule interviews with the founders to grant them the exposure they’ve been longing for.

The enterprises ranged from digital wedding assistants, online fitness coaches, and programs, to 3D printed toys and e-commerce platforms.

“These startups have a lot of potential, not just to reach local and regional markets, but to even scale globally with their ideas,” Jihad Bitar, Director of Smart ESA told Annahar.

Bitar added that the school’s incubator program helps link two strong aspects of the entrepreneurial life; the first being the managerial side of the business taught by ESA professionals, mixed with the innovative and technological touch needed to remain in the trend of digital enterprises.

“The key to pushing nascent businesses such as these to grow is by solving the puzzle they bring forth when starting, be it by enhancing their motivation, opening them to new markets, or granting them access to investors,” he added.

Smart ESA uses a customized approach to guide startups through each stage of their development with four independent programs.

The first program, called “Discover” addresses the less experienced who desire to examine their business concept and learn more about how startups work. The second one is “Create” which teaches young entrepreneurs how to create a business model to grow their idea.

The third track, labeled “Incubate,” is an incubation period where startup founders work on the strategy and development of their business. The final program, “Grow,” is tailored for mature startups that are looking toward expanding to regional and international markets.

The group of innovative startups app and tech business that finished their formal training with ESA includes:

Topotrade.com, the first worldwide marketplace specially designed for Land Surveyors to buy and sell their equipment.

MyTown is a customizable slot-together wooden toy system produced with the latest on-demand digital fabrication technologies.

Dawa’i is a patient companion, a smartphone application that aims to minimize drug administration errors and enhance patient compliance on medication use.

Nuptial is an online wedding preparation platform that helps engaged couples prepare their wedding and makes the planning process relaxed and fun.

Senses is a mobile app that helps people share feelings with their loved ones, without the need for words.

Uruz is a fitness platform, allowing users to hire an online personal trainer for a personalized workout and diet program at a fraction of the price of a gym personal training package.

Neurtech is a smart algorithm that optimizes lighting conditions to match activity performed.

Wheelers is an online car shopping platform that aims to make all car showrooms available for users 24/7 from the comfort of their own homes. Users can directly interact with official car dealers and banks.

Triend is a travel platform making use of artificial intelligence to facilitate user experience and generate the most relevant information feed for the user.

Kids Clever & Co. is transforming learning through a multichannel edutainment platform engaging kids to play and develop in a fun yet educational way without parents’ assistance.

Glucoz is a wearable device that measures glucose concentration in the blood of diabetics in a continuous and non-invasive manner allowing the prediction of hyper/hypoglycemia.

Giftmebetter.com is a marketplace that provides gift delivery.

Compost Baladi is a social enterprise specialized in the re-purposing of organic waste by prioritizing the adoption of low cost, low tech, and local solutions.

SinkiTak is the middleman between clients and handymen providing excellent household maintenance services.

Bits-to-Atoms is the biggest prototype house in Lebanon that consolidates a set of companies in the field of architecture, design, arts, research and development, robotics and distribution.

The business-casual sounds of tech-filled networking conversations were heard all over ESA’s campus in Clemenceau and became more animated when reaching the event’s courtyard.

“This program has given us so many great opportunities in terms of expanding our company’s reach for the future while ushering us away from the busy stresses of the country’s politics and nerve-wracking society,” Midani told Annahar following his pitch.

During the pitching period, the startups’ founders confidently delivered a brief summary of what their embryonic company offers to the market and what impact it will have on potential future users, accompanied with colorful yet insightful visual aids to cement their ideas into the brains of the attendees.

“The program didn’t only help us in terms of the improvement of our product but enhanced our management skills of the business on multiple fronts,” Rodrigue Fattouche, CTO of Uruz told Annahar.



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