highlights from the ecosystem

Perhaps the most precious, resilient fortune stemming from Lebanon is the intellectual wealth and talent of its people. While many sectors in Lebanon are struggling in the face of the ongoing socio-economic crisis, Lebanese innovators and exceptional entrepreneurs are still powering through despite the odds, and helping to revive the country. To this end, the AUB President Innovation Challenge, an initiative by The Talal and Madiha Zein AUB-Innovation Park, is on the lookout to identify and award the most promising innovative ideas in the country.

“While Lebanon strives to tie the ends of an exceptionally challenging year, AUB carries its mission forward and continues to adapt its approach to empower youth in a constantly changing world,” shares Dr. Fadlo Khuri, President of AUB. “With the fast evolution of technology and job markets, AUB places interdisciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship as a core theme in its strategy,” he adds.

Lebanese innovators participating in the challenge receive financial rewards and the strategic guidance to capture market and investment opportunities and bridge global partnerships. They also gain exposure to the Talal and Madiha Zein Innovation Park network, and are supported by the BDD ecosystem. The AUB President Innovation Challenge marks the start of the journey for the winning teams, who then enroll in an incubation program, to transform their ideas into viable and sustainable businesses.

What are the themes for this year? And who can apply?

Innovative teams who are either part of AUB’s community or have members from AUB, including undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni, staff or faculty members, are encouraged to apply. They should have viable and scalable startups, and are working to improve the well-being of people in the current context of environmental hazards and economic challenges by helping to create an inclusive and human-centered future.

Teams should be working on innovations related to the following themes:

  • The Future of Health
  • Data-driven Technology for Agriculture
  • The Environmental Conservation and Cleantech
  • The Internet of Behaviors
  • Anywhere Operations
  • Alternate and Circular Economy

This year, the AUB President Innovation Challenge themes encompass a wide range of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are based on the growing and direst needs of Lebanon.

The prizes include:

  • USD 30,000 for the first-place winner
  • USD 15,000 for the second-place winner
  • And admission into the iPark incubation program for all the winners.

Key dates to apply:

  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021 – Information, Orientation and Q&A Session
  • Sunday, July 4, 2021 – Application Deadline
  • Monday, August 23, 2021 – Semifinalists Announcement and Preparation
  • Friday, October 1, 2021 – PIC Finals and Award Ceremony

The successes of last year’s challenge:

In 2020, the AUB President Innovation Challenge recorded many successes, which included:

  • 132 applicants (two rounds of screening by leading experts)
  • 13 semi-finalists
  • 4 winners (selected by a 5 member jury)

And financial rewards:

  • USD 30,000 to Acoustosens
  • USD 15,000 to PETCRETE
  • USD 5,000 to RAM Polymers
  • USD 5,000 to Synkers

Apply before July 4, 2021, to the AUB President Innovation Challenge here 

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