Meet The Syrian Entrepreneurs Whose Concepts Won At Jusoor's Fourth Entrepreneurship Challenge

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Jusoor, an NGO helping Syrian youth realize their potential in the fields of education, entrepreneurship, and community engagement, concluded its fourth annual entrepreneurship challenge and bootcamp for Syrian startups in Beirut. Four startups spearheaded by Syrian entrepreneurs were awarded with financial support for their inspiring ideas focusing on social and economic development besides having a sound business potential. Jusoor’s program caters to Syrian entrepreneurs, wherever they may be based, with teams required to have least one member who is a Syrian national or Palestinian-Syrian. According to a statement, the participating teams ranged from areas of technology, water sanitation, creative education, real estate etc., and had teams participating from as far as Hong Kong and Berlin.


The winning teams were picked by way of a 10-day bootcamp that ran at Beirut Digital District, and saw over 20 mentors and trainers help the 15 participating teams refine and pitch their solutions on a final Demo Day. From these 15 teams, Bote, a hardware device enabling parents to track their children through their shoe insoles, won the first prize of US$10,000. The second prize of $7,000 was awarded to Fodo, a web and mobile-based platform providing supermarket services in Syria. Syract, a crisis reporting platform using crowdsourcing to support post conflict recovery and reconstruction, bagged the third place, winning $5,000. Further, a people’s choice award (in the form of online voting), saw the team Shiffer -a peer-to-peer shipping app which had over 1,000 votes in it- receive a $1,000 prize.

Jusoor's fourth Demo Day. Image credit: Jusoor.
According to a statement, Raafat Hantoush, the co-founder of winning team Bote, describes his impressions of the program as: “My experience at the Jusoor bootcamp was one of the best experiences I have been through, it gave me hope that young Syrians are ambitious and will make a big difference in the revival of Syrian society”. Karim Samakie, Jusoor’s lead trainer, said, “I look forward to my time at the Jusoor bootcamp every year to learn about how these young Syrians are coming up with new ideas and fighting against all odds to see them through”.

The Demo Day this year saw more than 150 attendees from the Lebanese, Syrian and international business communities. The jury panel included Omar Christidis, founder and CEO, ArabNet, Abdulsalam Haykal, CEO, Haykal Group, Zaid Midani, Vice President, Capital Guidance, and Dania Ismail, Director of Jusoor’s Entrepreneurship Program, among others. The bootcamp also involved a two-day visit to ArabNet Beirut 2018- an opportunity for the teams to meet and interact with the Lebanese tech ecosystem. 

Related: Syrian Entrepreneurs, Jusoor Entrepreneurship Program Is Looking For You