2014-11-21

BDL Accelerate 2014 Day One


People standing in line outside the building
After the huge build-up until today's event, we were all psyched to see if this event will live up to our expectation and the associated hype. With a set of successful speakers in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, from Lebanon and abroad announced, there was a huge turnout, to the point where we started the day by queuing for over half an hour to make it to the registration booth.

This led many people including myself to take it to twitter to express frustration or to let others know they were in for a wait.
One tweet I found particularly amusing was by @farrahberrou


One has to mention however the excellent catering services, where people waiting in line, even outside the building, were being served beverages and snacks by very courteous dedicated staff.

Fast forward past this little hiccup, the set-up inside was what you would expect from an event of this magnitude, with the various start-ups spread across the floor showcasing their ideas and products.

In another corner the Lebanese banks that support the Banque Du Liban circular 331 had set-up shop and welcomed the public near the Workshop Area, where various sessions were taking place throughout the day, simultaneously with the big event.

A SelfiesBox picture with Friend & Fellow Blogger
Chadi AbouNohra from Tech Ticker
One has to mention the SelfiesBox stand which was undeniably the most visited for obvious reasons, up until the icecream stand started serving free treats.

The main event itself saw the opening ceremony hosting 4 key speakers including Mr Riad Salameh the Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Mr Francois Bassil the Chairman of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, Mr Mohamed Choucair the Chairman of the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Lebanon and last but not least the socially active and always flamboyant Mr Tom Fletcher, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Lebanon who delivered a very up-beat speech (when is he not so?) about his faith in Lebanon's future prospects (you're on for that 2020 bet Mr Ambassador).

The rest of the day's agenda saw various successful and upcoming entrepreneurs share their thoughts, their struggles and also their drive towards what makes an entrepreneur succeed. The panels were quite eclectic and something every wannabe entrepreneur should attend.

The first day wrapped up with a selection of 8 finalist from the original 28 startups that competed for the “Lightning Round – Startup Competition. The ones that made it through are:

Cardio Diagnostic, Saily, Yellow, Ki, Presella, GoEjaza, Feedeed, Tari2ak

Not entirely what I would have chosen but the "people" have spoken and this was their selection.

For those of you who missed this first day, you can still make up for this by hurrying up tomorrow to catch the final day of what has been so far an event that should become a recurrence in our local business scene.

PS: I hope there will be a power outlet at the press table for tomorrow and a stable accessible wifi connection