Archive for the ‘Lebanon’ Category

Kuv Capital Launches Project To Create A Media City In Lebanon (Updated)

| April 5, 2009 – 9:52 am | comment 6 Comments

Lebanon FlagMy friend Hervé Cuviliez, Founder and Managing Director of Kuv Capital just wrote about a great and ambitious new project that they’re launching in Beirut, Lebanon: The creation of a Media City in Lebanon.

This stems out of their belief that Beirut has a window to become a Digital Middle East Hub, and that despite the weak broadband infrastructure, unreliable power grid and Lebanon’s inability to reform itself, it still is a country that offers a great opportunity to entrepreneurs with all the necessary ingredients to create a startup and have a low burn rate.

Creating a company is cheap and easy (limited liability company starts at 3500 USD) and so are office space and expenses. There’s a great pool of talent available, at lower costs than the GCC countries for example.

The idea is to find old warehouses or factories, rehabilitate them into offices with decent broadband and electricity, free spaces for students who want to work on innovative projects, showrooms for high tech companies …etc.

They’ve already started working on the project; they’ve spotted three places around Beirut, talked to investors, convinced six digital related companies and a media group to move in, and they’re still reaching out to more.

The hope is that by doing this, and grouping all these innovative companies and people in one place over time, they will be able to replicate to a certain extent the creation and growth of Silicon Valley.

If you want to be involved in any way or help in growing this project, you can contact Kuv Capital at: info@kuvcapital.com

Updated: Kuv Capital released more details on the project on their official blog.
They’re in the process of setting up a company  that will run this project, and will be creating a strategic committee to advise the company on what needs to be done in the Media City.
The timeframe is currently:

  • April-May(-June if needed) will be dedicated to identify potential locations and initiate discussions with landlords.
  • May: First community meeting to brainstorm on services that should be found in the media city.
  • June: second community meeting, presentation and business model finalization.
  • July-september: meetings with investors.
  • October: Go / No Go decision.

Berytech Entrepreneurs Forum, BIEL, Lebanon (May 21-22, 2009)

| March 15, 2009 – 7:49 pm | comment No Comments

Berytech Entrepreneurs Forum

Berytech announced the launch of the Berytech Entrepreneurs Forum with the support of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF), to take place on May 21, 22, 2009 at the Pavillon Royal of the Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Center (BIEL), Lebanon. The event is specifically designed to help existing or aspiring entrepreneurs make contacts, start a business or take an existing business to the next level.

The forum comprises of an exhibition area, free seminars and activities on entrepreneurial best practice from Lebanon’s leading business practitioners as well as International SME experts, providing entrepreneurs with the opportunity to attend presentations and meet with an array of business support institutions.

Mr. Maroun N. Chammas, President of Berytech declared: “The wide range of services and special packages presented will help entrepreneurs become more successful in starting or expanding their enterprises. This will definitely allow them to improve their productivity and connectivity and getting access to finance”.

Several activities will be held during the forum, offering the chance to seek the advice and knowledge of experts tackling specific challenges, such as Branding, Business Law, Business Plan, Business Tax, Cash Flow, Employment, Franchising, Media relations, On-line and Smart Marketing, Raising Finance, Sales Strategies, etc.

Dr. Nicolas Rouhana, Director of Berytech Technology Pole, emphasized: “Entrepreneurs will build a professional network, relevant to all sectors through the networking and business matching activities that we are planning. Investment facilities will also be proposed to selected projects through matching to Angels and VC Funds.”

For more information on exhibitors’ section and visitors’ profile as well as for updates on the event, visit the officiel site here: www.entrepreneurs-forum.org

ABAN Signs MoUs To Set Up Three New Business Angel Networks In MENA Region

| January 20, 2009 – 9:47 pm | comment No Comments

ABANThe Arab Business Angels Network (ABAN), established by the Young Arab Leaders (YAL) with Dubai International Capital as its founder and lead investor, recently announced the signing of three strategic memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with companies in the MENA region to collaboratively work towards establishing three new business angel networks in the region.

ABAN’s agreement with the Saudi-based Siraj Capital in Jeddah and the National Enterprise Centre (NEC-Centennial Fund) in Riyadh, as well as the Beirut-based Bader Lebanon will facilitate the creation of the Jeddah Business Angels Network, Riyadh Business Angels Network, and the Lebanese Business Angels Network respectively.

ABAN will counsel the three partner companies on various aspects of establishing and maintaining a local Business Angels Network in their respective cities. The key components of their knowledge transfer will include full technical support and skill-set training, extensive onsite training on global best practices for recruiting angel investors, screening investment opportunities, and nurturing a spirit of entrepreneurialism within the organizational structure. ABAN will also equip each of the three partner networks with a training manual on effective practices to maintain day-to-day operations.

Other than sharing the responsibility of due diligence activities such as screening potential angel investors and seeding ventures, ABAN will be invited to participate in the three new networks’ future matchmaking events, opening up a new pool of seed capital for ABAN’s network. The events will help provide an organized and professional platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their companies to potential angel investors.

Wikeez, A New Social Entertainment Platform

| November 6, 2008 – 2:00 pm | comment 12 Comments

WikeezWikeez, is a new Lebanon-based startup, focusing on user generated content around entertainment topics, which was founded by Kuv Capital with a seed investment of US$250,000.

Wikeez aims to allow people to publish and exchange on their favorite subjects centered on entertainment topics (tv shows, movies, celebrities, music and sports).

Each topic is fragmented into 3 tiers:

  • Top Stories: Information on the subject; latest news, Bio,…
  • Blog Stories: content produced by Wikeez members
  • Micro Stories: reactions shared by Wikeez members

Wikeez will also enable people to create their own blogs, fan clubs, get the latest news centered on their passions, as well as socialize with other fans.

Wikeez

The site is still in alpha, with a beta version coming pretty soon.

The company is currently looking to recruit in Lebanon; You can check out their open job vacancies on the StartUpArabia Job Board.

Update: Wikeez is offering invites to their alpha version to all StartUpArabia readers; if you’re interested, just send an email to: invite@wikeez.com.

Wikeez

SouqElArab Partners With LebanonPath To Provide More Products From Lebanon

| October 25, 2008 – 1:58 pm | comment No Comments

SouqElArabThe Arab social Web shopping portal, SouqElArab.com, just announced a partnership with LebanonPath.com to better serve Arab communities across the globe with the finest Lebanese and Arab products.   

LebanonPath.com is an Online Lebanese shopping Web site that serves directly from the heart of Lebanon with products such as Lebanese sweets, food, coffee, books, flowers, arts, olive oil, clothing and much more. Through major suppliers of gourmet foods, such as Atayeb Alrif and sweets from Douwaihy, LebanonPath.com has been able to serve customers from all over the world whom have the interest and taste for the Lebanese product.  

The partnership between SouqElArab.com and LebanonPath.com will boost the service from Lebanon with expanding product offering for both Web sites, supporting regional supplier reach and logistics platforms. SouqElArab.com will be offering more products from Lebanon, while LebanonPath.com has the reach of suppliers from the 15 countries SouqElArab.com operates from.  

The CEO of SouqElArab Inc. points; “Our efforts are going in to synchronizing the operations in Lebanon, and concentrating on the core markets abroad by serving them with the best quality and wide product offering. Both operations will be coming together in Beirut, cutting costs, while enriching the service provided to our customers.” Fadi Dababneh continues; “this gives SouqElArab Inc. the focus to expand further in its operations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran.” 

Albert Abu Hamra the CEO of LebanonPath.Com claims “This effective partnership between both LebanonPath.Com and SouqElArab.com will flourish the online shopping services and products in the Arab world, in order to provide the Arabic audience all over the globe with the best quality of these products and fastest door to door delivery of the products”. CEO of LebanonPath.Com adds: “LebanonPath.Com with its operations from Beirut and in full cooperation with SouqElArab.Com will be covering all product lines where a customer will be shopping safely and choosing from between thousands of products”.

New Startup Job Vacancies On StartUpArabia

| October 20, 2008 – 9:15 pm | comment No Comments

A number of new job vacancies have been posted to the StartUpArabia job board.

The jobs available now are at a newly launched startup in Lebanon called Wikeez, that will be reviewed very soon here.

The open positions are all based in Beirut, Lebanon, and are as follows:

For those of you interesed in filling in one of those positions, click on the position of your choice to find more details.
And if you’re a startup operating in the Arab world and looking to hire someone just right for your startup, you can post your job vacancies for free at the StartUpArabia Job Board.

Dia Diwan, Your Gateway To Middle East Chic

| September 1, 2008 – 5:53 pm | comment 2 Comments

Dia DiwanDia Diwan is an online portal that offers the latest news on lifestyle and entertainment in the region; bringing the world of modern, chic, and cool to an audience of Middle Eastern women; also providing the possibility to shop online for fashion items and luxury goods is available through the portal as well.

Dia Diwan tries to position itself as a high-end multimedia experience, where interactive magazine-like content is coupled with shopping opportunities and blogs.

The portal aims to showcase all the interesting things going on in the region, whether it’s a new restaurant, a boutique, an artist or a designer; also trying to make sure that every cool product with a link to the Middle East can be bought online.

Dia Diwan

All the portals sections were designed with a Middle Eastern audience in mind:

Dia Daily: Reporters will bring daily news from the Middle East’s major cities: whether it’s a new designer in Jeddah, a spa in Amman, a restaurant in Beirut or an art gallery in Kuwait.

Dia Style: In-house stylists will make sure each week is different, with the best selection of international and regional fashion.

Global Souk: Bringing the best boutiques and designers online, showcasing one each month, and presenting a selection of their products online for sale, delivering anywhere in the Middle East.

Blogs: Experts from around the region will be blogging at least twice a month on topics of interest to readers; humorous serial bloggers Ms. Mishmaoul and Mr. X will write about being single in the Middle East today, and the Diw Diwan team will be sharing what they’ve been up to and what ideas they have up their sleeves.

Dia Diwan was launched in the spring of 2007 and is based in Beirut, Lebanon. The website is available in English only for the time being.

# Dia Diwan

Info2cell Partners With Future TV To Provide Content To Mobile Phone Users In Saudi Arabia

| August 8, 2008 – 11:16 am | comment 2 Comments

Info2cellInfo2cell.com, the leading mobile application service provider in the Middle East, has recently announced the signing of a content license and distribution agreement with Lebanon-based Future TV to provide video and MMS clips of hugely popular TV programmes, ‘Rossoom Mutaharirah’, ‘La Yomal’ and ‘Abou Riad’, to mobile phone users in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Through the subscription-based service, which will be launched today, users will receive the content three times per week. Each video clip – video IVR, WAP portal, video push and video streaming – will be up to two minutes long, while the MMS content will be 30 seconds in duration.

Bashar Dahabra, Founder and CEO of Info2cell.com, said,: ‘ We are pleased to sign this important agreement with Future TV which will enable us to provide select clippings from three highly popular TV programmes on the mobile phones of subscribers. Info2cell.com is committed to offering the most innovative and exciting content to its subscribers, in line with current market trends and consumer interests, and this partnership with Future TV perfectly complements our strategy.’

Samir S. Hammoud, Chairman and General Manager of Future TV, said, ‘The viewership for our programmes has been growing steadily in recent years and we are glad that this alliance with Info2cell.com has created another vital channel for subscribers in KSA to view clippings of some of our most watched programmes.’

Last year, Info2cell.com teamed up with MBC channel in Saudi Arabia to offer subscribers, video clips, ring tones, wallpapers and Java games of hugely popular television programmes including ‘Tash Ma Tash’, ‘Beiny o Bainak’, ‘Meznah’ and ‘Stories of the Prophet’.

Ayna Launches Beta Of Online Map Service for the Middle East & North Africa

| July 29, 2008 – 12:27 pm | comment 11 Comments

AynaA few days ago, Arab search engine Ayna launched a beta version of Ayna Maps, a service that provides interactive maps of places and businesses for all major Arab capitals in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Ayna is one of the first Arabic search engines in the region, and now aims to grow its search services by providing more types of information like its new street level map service covering 26 cities in 17 countries and presented in Arabic and English.

Ayna maps aims to provide detailed street level mapping that is not available through any other online service, including Google, Yahoo, and MapQuest; in order to give businesses and individuals alike the possibility to easily locate and add points of interest. As of the launch, Ayna Maps are preloaded with over fifty thousand searchable points of interest available in Arabic, English and French to meet the needs of local audiences.

Businesses will be able to mark their physical location on a map to guide their customers, and easily embed the marked map in any web site along with their contact details, such as name, address, phone, email, and a descriptive summary.

Doha Ayna Map

Cities covered by Ayna maps include: Beirut (Lebanon); Damascus (Syria); Baghdad (Iraq); Amman, Aqaba (Jordan); Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Madina (Saudi Arabia); Kuwait City (Kuwait); Doha (Qatar); Manama (Bahrain); Dubai, Abu Dhabi (UAE); Muscat (Oman); Sanaa (Yemen); Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurguda (Egypt); Khartoum (Sudan); Tripoli (Libya); Tunis (Tunisia); Algiers (Algeria); Rabat, Marrakech (Morocco).

Ayna Maps future releases include providing routing and directions, updating map data, and publishing submitted points of interest for businesses in the region. A mobile version of the map service will also be launched soon.

The idea is a very useful one and really needed in the region, and for an initial beta release it is pretty good; Hopefully future versions will have more detailed and revised maps, with more integrated points of interest.

# Ayna Maps

Synergos Middle East & North Africa Social Innovators Program

| July 16, 2008 – 11:28 am | comment 2 Comments

SynergosIn October 2007 Synergos launched the Middle East and North Africa Social Innovators Program, with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donors. The three-year initiative seeks to identify and support twenty individuals from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine who are implementing successful social projects.

In order to be considered for selection, a candidate must be implementing an idea that has demonstrated positive social change and impact at a local level with the potential for replication in other communities and expansion to a national level. Social innovations will be considered which have as a focus one or more of the following fields; economic, social, or sustainable development; health; education; and culture.

The Program will invest in these Social Innovators through professional development and financial support to better enable participants to transform their small-scale projects into sustainable programs and organizations.

The selected Social Innovators will have access to training, mentoring and peer learning through a network of professionals and social entrepreneurs to help build financial and organizational sustainability for your innovation; as well as facilitation of connections to business, government, philanthropic and other civil society leaders in the area and across the world to leverage their innovation and make a greater impact. Financial awards of up to $17,000 per year, for two years, are also offered to help develop the winner’s social ventures.

The application period for the Social Innovators program began in early May 2008 and goes on until mid-September.

For more details about the program and project submission, check out the official program website: Synergos Social Innovators Program.

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