The “online training for Innovation Support Organizations (ISOs)” addressed to the Lebanese stakeholders, took place from 25th january to 5th February 2021.
The training, provided by WATERMEDYIN PROJECT which is funded by the Italian Cooperation and implemented by CIHEAM Bari, was delivered not only in Lebanon, but also in Palestine and Tunisia.
19 participants from different ISOs in Lebanon participated to this training: Michel Daher Social Foundation, Foundation Diane, Department of Agriculture-Issam Fares Faculty-Balamand University, Park Innovation, Center for continuing and Professional education at Beirut Arab University, Rural entrepreneurs, Darwazah Center for Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship–American University of Beirut, Center Mine, Farah Foundation, Tatweer Baladna, Agrytech.
The main objective of the course was to make the trainees increasingly aware of their potential and provide them with theoretical and practical tools to support them in the whole process toward the development and implementation of their business project.
The programme included several sessions based on the Entrepreneurship Support Value Chain – ESVC methodology and addressed the following topics:
-building the entrepreneurship support value chain: designing entrepreneurship stimulation and outreach services
– designing services to support start-up launch and growth;
– innovation ecosystem (how to leverage national and international ecosystems for higher impact at country level),
-how to design a sustainable business model
– Building communication strategy for a successful ISO,
– water and natural resources management,
– coastal and marine resource management,sustainable fishing.
On the opening session, Mr. Biagio Di Terlizzi, CIHEAM Bari’s Deputy Director, welcomed all the participants and underlined the importance of initiatives such as WATERMEDYIN PROJECT, which integrates the successful approach already implemented in the framework of the Mediterranean Innovation Partnership for youth entrepreneurship and technology transfer in the agro-food sector (MIP) and brings together public and private ISOs.
Dr. Di Terlizzi also stressed the strategic value of this training, which is an opportunity to strengthen the institutional cooperation between Lebanon and CIHEAM Bari while promoting the development of innovative ideas.
Here are some relevant inputs that came out from the discussion:
Mr. Mouin Hamze, The Secretary General of the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS-L) in Lebanon, declared that “Innovation, Research and Development today are undergoing a fundamental transition, where quick results, open science, and wide engagement, are essential for ensuring uptake, speeding up innovation, supporting entrepreneurs, encouraging wide collaborations (with public and private organizations, industry and startups) and involving civil society; all whilst adopting measures to ensure quality, efficiency, and impact on a growing innovation ecosystem”.
Mr. Giordano Dichter, the trainer from H&D Partners, described entrepreneurship based on Professor Howard Stevenson’s definition “Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled. Entrepreneurs see an opportunity and do not feel constrained from pursuing it because they lack resources. They’re used to making do without resources”.
According to Mr. Dichter, the entrepreneurship journey includes several phases: Prestart, Launch, Growth, and Scale. The participants discussed the various activities of each phase starting from the importance of the outreach, then moving to startups selection process, proof of concept and technologies, funding opportunities, building a sustainable business model, market study & assessment, coaching, mentoring etc. Participants also identified the most common reasons why startups fail: Problem-market fit, poor communication strategy, ineffective go-to market strategy, failure to maintain product quality and others.
Mr. Giovanni Zazzerini, the Secretary General at INSME, stressed on the importance of innovation in the entrepreneurship journey, as a complex process and model. Innovation requires building a network to share Knowledge, ideas and resources. He invited the participants to be part of an innovation community – a learning network – and to be able to interact and understand the users’ needs.
Mr. Tom Strodtbeck, the Director of Venture Programmes Global Growth Hub, discussed with the participants on how to build a sustainable business model for ISOs and the success metrics. Moreover, other related topics such as youth empowerment, social and economic development, technical training have been addressed
On the other hand, Mr. Nick Di Fino, communication specialist, highlighted the importance of storytelling in communication and marketing. He mentioned that every business has a story, and explained how these stories affect the existence of these businesses, provided that the first rule in communication is to identify the audience and understand how to address them.
During the session on “water and natural resources management”, Mr. Nicola Lamaddalena, Deputy Director at CIHEAM Bari, presented the water related problems in the Mediterranean basin highlighting the imbalance between supply & demand. He stated that the situation is very complicated due to multiple factors like climate change, population increase, mismanagement of water resources. He stressed on the importance of innovation and new technologies in solving the problem.
Dr. Roberto Ugolini, Fishery expert and biologist at CIHEAM Bari, focused on the model of “Blue economy’, introduced in 2010 by the Belgian economist Gunter Pauli and the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth. This concept, as per Dr. Ugolini, could contribute to improve the health of the ocean ecosystem and livelihoods of the local communities, while creating new work opportunities. The Blue Economy model aims to improve human wellbeing, social equity, fishery production and processing techniques, and can reduce environmental and ecological risks through mimicking the biological processes.
The ISOs representatives that attended the training expressed how helpful the training was in terms of capacity building – thanks to the experts’ insights and feedback – and highlighted the importance of networking with their fellow ISOs’ managers. They stated that the training was a great opportunity to learn from each others, to rethink and reconsider their strategies and to reassess their goals, simply by brainstorming together, sharing ideas, speaking out loud, planning future collaborations, working together rather than competing against each other.
The online training for Innovation Support Organizations (ISOs) in Lebanon has ended on the 5th of February 2021.
WATERMEDYIN PROJECT that is sponsored by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation AICS, and executed by CIHEAM Bari was implemented not only in Lebanon, but also in Palestine & Tunisia.