High-Level Lebanon-UK Tech Forum

19th September, Central London

EVENT SYNOPSIS

With a new government now in place, Lebanon will be rolling out an ambitious reform and public investment programme that builds on an international support package of USD 11.6 Billion. The funds will be used to enhance public investment projects, maintain financial and economic stability, and diversify Lebanon’s economy.

Against this backdrop, the event will convene leading universities, disrupter tech companies, venture capital, entrepreneurs and policymakers to:

1. Highlight the vast opportunities in the tech sector that Lebanon has to offer; 
2. Match Lebanese university-led tech clusters, disrupter start-ups, venture capital funds and angel networks alongside accelerators and incubators;
3. Facilitate strategic and commercial partnerships between British and Lebanese peers.

The country’s nascent knowledge ecosystem is growing rapidly but cost-efficient. Financial, academic and seed-funding support for tech enterprise is plentiful through multiple business districts such as the Beirut Digital District, Antwork and Tripoli’s Special Economic Zone and the UK-Lebanon Tech Hub which is part of the UK’s Department of Culture, Media & Sports (DCMS) network of Tech Hubs.

The UK Lebanon Tech Hub is the main conduit for Lebanese startups to benefit from the experience, exposure and expertise of the UK’s leading technology and financial centres. The Hub is also well-positioned to help UK-based businesses set up a MENA beachhead through Lebanon.

A thriving VC market backed by Lebanon’s Central Bank to focus on innovation. The latest government formation included a position for an ICT State Minister - the first of its kind in Lebanon and a testament to the importance that the ICT sector will play in the future.

We hope you will be able to join us for this leading, practical and results-oriented event and look forward to welcoming you in September in London.

 

 

 

 

DRAFT PROGRAMME

8:00-9:00: Registration and Refreshments

 

9:00-10:00: Opening Session

Welcome Note: HE Rami Mortada, Ambassador of Lebanon to the UK

Keynote Address: HE Adel Afiouni, Minister of State for Information Technology, Government of Lebanon

Keynote Address: Lord Risby, Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Lebanon

Keynote Address: HE Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Government of Lebanon

 

10:00-10:45: Panel 1: Capital from International Financial Institutions for Lebanon’s Tech Industry

  • Saad Azhari, Chairman, BLOM Bank
  • Saad Sabrah, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa, IFC
  • Dick Werner, Director and Head of Information and Communication Technologies, EBRD

Moderator: Dr. Nazia Habib, Programme Director and Senior Research Associate, University of Cambridge

Abstract: Against the background of the country’s Capital Investment Plan and alongside a series of firm commitments from the IFIs to invest in Lebanon’s private sector, there has never been a better time to commit to working with some of the world’s most exciting tech clusters, disrupter companies, and university hubs.

 

10:45-11:15: Coffee/Tea Break

 

11:15-11:30: Signing Ceremony: UK-Lebanon Association Agreement

Address by Conor Burns MP, Minister of State, DIT

 

11:30-13:00: Panel 3: Local Kitchen, Global Market

Introduction by Prof. Ali Abdallah, Professor of Information Security, Birmingham City University
 

UK-BASED COMPANIES

  • Omar Chebli, Co-Founder, Kirontech
  • Bassel El Koussa, Co-Founder and CEO, Quiqup
  • Dr. Nadine Hachach Haram, Co-Founder, Proximie

LEBANON-BASED COMPANIES

  • Sami Abou Saab, CEO, Speed
  • Fadi Daou, CEO, multiLane
  • Rabih Khoury, Partner and Chief Exit Officer, MEVP
  • Priscilla Elora Sharuk, Co-Founder and COO, Myki
  • Wissam Yousef, CEO, CME

Moderator: Alpesh Patel, Dealmaker, Department for International Trade

Abstract: Lebanon is increasingly becoming an attractive hub for technology companies and scale-ups to set up their offshore software development teams and R&D functions. With a world class education system and a population that is predominantly fluent in English, French, and Arabic, as well as an exposure to global markets through its 14 million strong diaspora., its tech developers are worldly and business savvy, making them the ideal profile to work with. The session will explore how different companies have engaged with the Lebanese tech ecosystem, the benefits and challenges they found, and suggestions for the future.

 

13:00-14:00: Networking Lunch

 

14:00-14:45: Murex: A proven success story - Conversation with Maroun Edde, CEO of Murex
Moderator: Nina Dos Santos (TBC)

 

14:45-15:45: Panel 2: Tech Ecosystem Community Partners
Introduction: H.E Nicolas Sehnaoui, Lebanese Member of Parliament

  • Maroun N. Chammas, CEO, Berytech
  • Inès Cheaib, Founder, Lebanese in Tech (LIT)
  • Tarek Sadi, Founder and Board Member, IDEAS
  • Dr Louise Sheridan, Head of International Digital and International Tech Hub Network, DCMS
  • Nadim Zaazaa, CEO, UK Lebanon Tech Hub

Moderator: Alexander de Carvalho, Co-Founder and CIO, PUBLIC

Abstract: The effectiveness and expectations from various accelerators and growth partners supporting start-ups across Lebanon and the UK, their contribution to the local digital ecosystem, and the critical role they play in co-creating truly scalable businesses. The session will also discuss how to best leverage the connection to the global diaspora clusters, set a clear engagement strategy with international commercial and investment partners, and position Lebanon as a favourable destination for technology companies and foreign investors.

 

15:45-16:15: Coffee/Tea Break

 

16:15-16:35: First Fintech initiative in Lebanon: StarTecheus (Startups Technology for EU & US), Alexandre Harkous, Chairman & Founder
Introduction: Jean-Marc Jabre, Board Member, LIFE

 

16:35-17:15: Competition: Start-up Pitches and Awards

 

17:15-17:30: Closing Address
HMA Chris Rampling, British Ambassador to Lebanon,