Blog (125)

Official Blog of Banque du Liban Accelerate 2015
Lebanon’s 2nd Annual International Startup Conference
Emerging Startup Ecosystems

Accelerator vs. Coworking Space

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A question many entrepreneurs tend to face during their early days is whether accelerators or coworking spaces benefit them more.

To determine which is best, let’s first identify the role of coworking spaces and accelerators for you to know how each works and how they would add value to you:

First of all, you have to apply to an accelerator. Once accepted, the program typically lasts for approximately three months and would include a workspace for the team, a financial seed injection, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Beirut has quite a few accelerators such as BerytechUK Lebanon Tech Hub, and Speed@BDD.

Coworking spaces:
The spaces are created to enhance the ability to interact with others. They are an alternative solution to the isolation that work-at-home professionals and independent contractors frequently feel. They are places where you may meet brilliant and inspirational entrepreneurs who can help you strategize, share insight, and provide networking opportunities. Some co-working spaces constantly have workshops, events, and seminars to help entrepreneurs turn their startups from ideas to reality. Most of them offer affordable rent from daily to monthly contracts with access to necessary office amenities such as Internet, printers, and conference rooms. There are quite a few co-working spaces and startup hubs in Beirut such as Berytech’s DigiHive, Alt-City, Beirut Digital District.

Another thing to consider when finding or creating the right workspace for you is to consider the physical space since it largely impacts how you do business. Innovative, modular office furniture tend to encourage collaboration and foster vibrant office cultures.  You can check Start by CrownHouse in Beirut who specialize in this field.

Meet the Workshop Sponsors

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The massive 2 day international startup conference BDL Accelerate 2015 will have over 100 startups exhibiting, 2 stages packed with panel discussions, keynotes, firesides, and 2 competitions, as well as 2 hackathons , and 2 workshop spaces that will host back-to-back workshops given by experts from around the world.

Meet our workshop sponsors:


Leap Ventures
Leap Ventures was founded in 2014 as a venture capital firm specializing in investments in startups. The firm is based in Beirut and is also located in Dubai. It invests in the MENA region with a focus in Lebanon.  It considers investments between $3 million and $7 million and up to $12 million through partnerships with other firms. Leap Ventures closed off its first round at $71 million and is expected a second closing that would most likely increase the fund size to $80 million.

Leap Venture leverage their extensive entrepreneurial experience: engaging with promising entrepreneurs, providing fresh views and strategic opportunities, and planning for transformative growth.

Leap Venture has 4 founding partners with over 70 years of combined experience in founding and exiting companies.  The 4 founding  partners are Henri AsseilyHala FadelHerve Cuvilliez, and Noor Sweid, each with a wealth of experience as investors and entrepreneurs. The 4 have founded and scaled 8 companies leading to over $ 2 billion in exits, and have invested in a total of 47 startups to date.

Booz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of strategy and technology for more than 100 years. Today, the firm provides management and technology consulting and engineering services to leading Fortune 500 corporations, governments, and not-for-profits across the globe. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Booz Allen builds on six decades of experience partnering with public and private sector clients to solve their most difficult challenges through a combination of business strategy, digital innovation, data analytics, cybersecurity and resilience, operations, supply chain, organization and culture, engineering and life-cycle project management expertise.

As strategy consultants, Booz Allen Hamilton can mentor entrepreneurs and start-ups, particularly through structured programmes organised by accelerators and incubators. Many of their consultants have worked closely with government and multi-nationals and understand what these organisations look for in their suppliers –  therefore, Booz Allen Hamilton can help entrepreneurs ‘speak the right language’ to these entities, who are likely to be their customers.  They have also worked with countries to set up entrepreneur ecosystems and recognise the complexity of the ecosystem that entrepreneurs need to navigate. Their mentorship can help them in this regard and their consultants also have honed skills that entrepreneurs need to develop, particularly in relation to thinking strategically, segmenting customers and building viable financial models.

Booz Allen Hamilton are inspiring innovation and change within the industry. Their objective is to bring innovation at the heart of their people and service offering. Booz Allen Hamilton have ventured into new technologies and instilled a creative and imaginative DNA culture to drive innovation internally within their organisation and externally for their clients.

Getting to & into BDL Accelerate 2015!

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The wait for the region’s largest and most anticipated startup conference is almost over! BDL Accelerate 2015 kicks off tomorrow morning!

Here’s what you need to know to get to and into BDL Accelerate 2015 swiftly and smoothly:

Getting to BDL Accelerate 2015:
The 2 day conference is taking place at Forum De Beyrouth. For security reasons, there may be an army checkpoint prior to entering the vicinity.  All cars must be given to the FREE valet parking service we are providing. If you do not wish to give your car to the valet service, you may park at BO18. Another option is to grab a cab with our Official Transportation Partner, Charlie Taxi.

Getting into BDL Accelerate 2015:
Once you’ve passed through the metal detectors at the door, you will find 10 registration counters. Due to the massive number of registered attendees, we are opening up early registration from 7am. Each check-in process takes 15 to 30 seconds. We strongly recommend you get to Forum De Beyrouth before 8am to skip the long lines. As per our calculations, we expect to process a minimum of 1000 check-ins per hour.

In addition to the 10 registration counters, there also will be a VIP registration counter. This counter is solely dedicated to VIPs who have received white invitations from Banque du Liban via snail mail, the speakers, the official press, and the organizers.

At the Berytech DealMakers Lounge, we will be serving breakfast and coffee provided by Socrates and Dunkin’ Donuts. The Opening Ceremony starts at 9:30am promptly.

We look forward to seeing you all tomorrow morning!!

(Don’t forget: Get to BDL Accelerate 2015 before 8am to skip the long line!)

Rewarding Winners!

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There will be 2 stages at the conference, one of which will be dedicated to panels, keynotes, and fireside chats as a space for 100 influential speakers from over 30 countries to share their best practices, discuss the challenges they faced during the developing stages of their ecosystems, and exchange their knowledge. The aim of the valuable engagement and knowledge shared on this stage will be a great stepping stone for the Lebanese ecosystem to thrive through learning from the trials and errors of other ecosystems.

The second stage will be dedicated to panels and  the startup pitches as part of the two competitions BDL Accelerate 2015 is hosting dedicated to idea stage startups and early stage startups. The aim of these competitions is to educate and provide tools to aspiring entrepreneurs and to assist them in succeeding, as well as to find the best startup in the local scene.

Our Startup Competitions & Exhibition attracted hundreds of applications from dozens of countries. 30 top-tier startups from around the world have been selected for our Early Stage Startup Competition. The winner will take home an impressive 10,000 US$ in cash, but more importantly, will peak the interest of the 200+ investors with over $500 million to invest. Investors are not limited to locals, with some flying over 10,000 kilometers to participate in Banque du Liban Accelerate 2015.

Separately, our Wearables Hackathon and Web & Mobile Hackathon have received hundreds of applications as well. Each is awarding 6,000 US$ of cash prizes, which should make for worthy challenges to test the best

Winners of the Early Stage Startup Competition, the Wearables Hackathon, and the Web & Mobile Hackathon will receive the Servcorp Virtual Package for 6 months which is valued at $250 per month. The package includes an address in central Beirut at the prestigious The Beirut Souks, a phone number answered by a local receptionist who would help manage their clients, the ability to online book boardrooms and meeting rooms at any Servcorp location, 3 hours of shared space each day in any Servcorp location, and 3 days usage per month of a private office in any Servcorp location abroad. If that wasn’t enough, they would also provide them with regular networking events to help them build their business. Moreover, the runner-ups will receive the same for 3 months!