Following Banque du Liban’s (BDL) Circular 331, which was announced just a year ago, more than $150 million is now available for investments in Lebanese startups. Half a dozen new institutions have cropped up supporting and funding entrepreneurs, including venture capital funds, seed funds, accelerators and bootcamps. Decision makers from these new institutions will join top regional investors, executives and promising startups at the 6th edition of ArabNet Beirut 2015.
The event will bring together more than 700 attendees and 80 regional and international speakers to share their perspectives and insights on digital business. Innovators, entrepreneurs and marketeers will also have the unique opportunity to get exposure through ArabNet’s annual competitions: the Ideathon, for new business concepts; the Startup Demo, for fast-growing young startups; and the Creative Combat, for promising talents in emarketing. The winners will take home $10,000 of cash prizes and a fully paid, three-month startup program in Silicon Valley. Applications for the competitions are open until February 12 on www.arabnet.me.
Based on surveys of previous competitors, 38 percent of startup demo finalists met investors; 69 percent met new clients, and 83 percent received media exposure through the event. These companies have created more than 250 jobs across the region and collectively raised more than $7 million in funding.
In addition to the competitions, ArabNet Beirut 2015 will include the Design+Code Day on March 17, a day of pre-conference workshops to help designers and developers build better web and mobile apps; in addition to the two days of the forum on March 18 and 19, which will cover the latest trends in e-business, digital media and advertising, technology and mobility, and entrepreneurship. The conference will also feature an accompanying exhibition, the Tech Fair, which will include more than 40 leading companies and startups from around the MENA region.