BEIRUT: Twelve aspiring startups presented their ideas and prototypes on the stage of the École Supérieure des Affaires (ESA) Business School, pitching for investors or potential partners on Thursday morning.
Smart ESA is an incubator and accelerator, aimed at helping startups who begin with an idea without much planning. Ever since starting in April 2017, Smart ESA has worked on more than 45 projects, providing coaching and helping the startups reach the maturity stage. Supported by Banque Du Liban and the French Embassy, it has helped create over 150 jobs in Lebanon.
In its second edition, Smart ESA introduced 18 startups who participated in the event, only 12 went on stage during the Demo Day where handouts were distributed for interested investors.
According to Jihad Bitar, lecturer at ESA and program director of Smart ESA, certain requirements must be met. “The condition for the startups who participated today is that they need money, and they are market-ready,” Bitar told Annahar. “Today’s event allows the startups to introduce themselves to interested investors,” he added.
The on-stage demos were followed by a networking event where startups had the chance to meet potential investors. Participant startups included a range of different visions and solutions to everyday problems.
Some of these services include educational apps, tailor-made fashion delivery, home massage therapy, beauty institute appointments, online dating, online investment, digital content creation, health monitoring, and more.
FindMyDoc is a startup aimed at facilitating appointments with doctors based on customer reviews, as well as proximity and quality of service. Founded by Andy Kazandjian, a 20-year-old student at the Lebanese American University, the startup hopes to make health care and lives easier.
“In Lebanon, we’re still lagging compared to the United States or Europe, we need to start moving forward, and it’s the motivated people like us who can change Lebanon,” Kazandjian told Annahar.
Elie Moukarzel, co-founder of My Otocar, a school bus real-time tracking app, shared his story with Annahar. “The idea came from the personal necessity. We started in Smart ESA with an idea and a business plan. We were provided with coaches and advisors, after advancing in the three months, we got investments and we advanced,” he said.
He then added that the hardest part about initiating a startup was the confusion. “Where do we go after having an idea? We learned here that you can have a smart idea that is shared by a few people, but it is all about executing this idea,” he told Annahar.
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