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Nine Projects by Lebanese and Syrian Youths Awarded at “EBDA Business Plan Competition”

Nine projects by Lebanese and Syrian youths have been awarded prizes totaling $55,000 in seed funding at “EBDA Business Plan Competition”, a competition organized by INJAZ Lebanon in partnership with SPARK Organization and funded by De Postcode Loterij, the Netherlands’ lottery. The prizes will help the winners implement their business ideas, or expand the small businesses they already started, contributing to local development and the creation of job opportunities.

The pitching and the awards ceremony took place at the American University of Beirut in presence of the Netherlands Ambassador to Lebanon Jan Waltmans who considered that “EBDA Business Plan Competition” is a “great drive towards a more prosperous and sustainable Lebanon” and expressed his hope to see many youngsters stay in Lebanon to implement their projects.”

Samar Dani, Executive Director at INJAZ Lebanon, said that EBDA is “a pioneer project aimed at providing opportunities for youth willing to develop a business idea in order to establish their own business or to expand their existing one.” “Our goal is to provide these enterprises with opportunities to grow, expand and create jobs”, she added.

 She explained that INJAZ Lebanon, a non-profit organization that started in 2001 and a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide, has the mission of empowering and educating youths on Entrepreneurship, Work Readiness and Financial Literacy.

 SPARK representative Nicola Farah pointed out that the institution, which has been active in the world and the Arab region for 25 years, began to provide grants in Lebanon three years ago. “We’re working on empowering youth to develop successful ideas and viable business plans capable of becoming companies that create job opportunities and thus limit youth migration”, he explained.

The top 15 projects were selected out of 250 applications submitted by Lebanese and Syrian youths aged 18 to 35. Whether they had a business idea in mind, or started their small businesses, all EBDA participants have attended intensive training on entrepreneurship and business planning skills allowing them to draw a better image of their projects and learn how to bring them to life.

After all the teams pitched in front of the audience and the jury, the first prize was awarded to Reef, a project by Lebanese Rodaina Bou Shaheen, which provides catering services for NGOs while empowering women of the rural areas and other underprivileged communities by providing women with job opportunities and fostering their productivity and creativity.

Two projects won  $7,000 each: Dr. Leda (Lina El Khoury, Marie Mouzawak, Alaa Mrad & Rida Halbawi), an online anonymous affordable psychological counseling platform that aims to provide individuals with the help they need far from stigma and the eyes of the society, and Furbiture (Khalid Al Hamwi & Moubadda Younes), a creative furniture design and production lab where interior and furniture design solidly partners up with craftsmanship to produce contemporary furniture that fulfills the unmet needs of the local market.

Six projects won each a prize of $5,000:

  • Find A Nurse (Hussein Sleiman & Khulud Khalil), the biggest network of home health care providers that connects families with qualified caregivers quickly and affordably via an online platform.
  • No Blues (Mariam Al Kotob & Rajaa Abeed), a small atelier where two designers and self-taught soap makers make high-quality handcrafted bathing and relaxing products inspired by the traditional local Tripolitan soap and the new trendy imported bathing products to be sold on the local market with very reasonable prices.
  • ADSH (Omar Al Merhe), an online platform that allows e-commerce store owners to run their drop shipping stores efficiently.
  • MyPlan (Mohamad Mkayas), a software to build Amazing Projects Plan and interactive online planning tools for NGOs & community leaders to help users in preparing business plans and proposals.
  • Nawafez (Tamador Mahmoud), a news website concerned about the developmental and economic affairs in the governates of North Lebanon and Akkar..
  • Smart Kids (Yasser Alyan), an application that helps parents monitor and balance the time their children spend playing and learning.

The Judges included: Amine Alameddine – Founder & Creative Director at Caustik Studios, Amine Wehbe – Senior Consultant at A.T. Kearney, Azza Yehya –  Research & Data Director of Arabnet, Murad Hamze – SME Development Specialist Jordan at SPARK, Dr. Rita Mokbel – Member at Seeders LWAF and Head of Sales Mobile Financial Services, Ericsson, Dr. Rodrigue Balaa – Chairman of Agriculture Department at Balamand University and Yolla Sarieddine – Deputy General Manager at Kafalat.

 “The People’s Choice Award” was given to the team who received the top votes on the competition’s website. Another prize was given to the “Best Pitch”, selected by a jury from the audience.

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