On Saturday November 27th 2010, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Lebanon 2010 came to a grand finale with the biggest entrepreneurship party to ever take place in Lebanon, the GEW Small Wins & Ecosystem Party, aka GEW Party, hosted by Seeqnce.
An Entrepreneurship Community is born. Roughly 200 entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders, professionals, designers, developers, hackers, and artists, men and women equally, came down on Karaj, the Arts and Technology Lab turned GEW Party arena, to mingle and chat free of any formalities: no speeches, no suits, no ties, no walls plastered with sponsors’ logos. Good food and drinks aplenty, thanks to the GEW Party’s generous sponsors Element^N / Apstrata, Dewar’s, Almaza, Kefraya, and Red Bull, ensured a chill environment devoid of obstacles to communication.
To further mix things up, instead of industry leaders & investors making oratory speeches, young entrepreneurs took to a make-shift pedestal to tell their ‘Small Wins (and Failures) Stories’:
- Mackram Raydan of Cuevox(.com), an 8 months old self-funded web startup in public beta that provides automated reminders for appointments heavy businesses, told his story of meeting obstacles at every step of setting up his payment processing service.
- Fadi Bizri of Iltaqi(.com), a 12 months old self-funded web / mobile startup in private beta that helps people organize their friends around events and activities, told his story of overcoming finding-talent challenges, and a creative dry-spell. Iltaqi will be in public beta Q1 of 2011. Iltaqi is a Seeqnce Startup.
- Christian Azar of Monaqasat(.com), an 18 months old profitable web startup nearing release 2.0 that provides an end-to-end online solution for eTendering, announced crossing the 500 million USD milestone of project tenders managed and awarded through Monaqasat. Monaqasat V.2.0 is expected in Q1 2011. Monaqasat is a Seeqnce Startup.
- Chady Kassouf of iSpicePhotos(.com), a two week old self-funded web / mobile startup in public beta that enables cool and smart ways to view, browse, and relive Facebook photo-moments, announced an iPad version of to be released in Q1 2011. iSpicePhotos co-founder Fadi Bizri is a Seeqnce Founding Member.
- Elie Nasr of Foo(-Solutions.com), a mobile startup turned dev house told the story of acquiring service clients through the exposure his startup generated. The success of this channel led to the eventual shift from startup to dev house.
- Beshr of LiveTweeting(.com), a 12 months old self-funded web startup in public beta that provides a powerful online tool for broadcasting, aggregating, and organizing twitter conversations around events, activities, and brands, announced the official release of the public beta after many months development. LiveTweeting is a Seeqnce Startup.
- Haitham Khouja, who’s been working on a stealth mode startup for a few months now, spoke of the challenges he’s faced since becoming an entrepreneur, from dwindling bank accounts to endless nights of code.
- Elie Abu Fares of Talfen(.tel), a 6 months old self-funded web / mobile startup in public release that provides an up-to-date online directory of businesses in Lebanon, explained the challenges of simultaneously creating a startup and maintaining full-time employment.
- Maroun Najm of CLASHwith(.com), a 4 months old self-funded web startup in private alpha that helps gamers organize and aggregate their social gaming activities, spoke of challenges he faced in transitioning from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. CLASHwith will be in public beta Q1 of 2011. CLASHwith is a Seeqnce Startup.
- Pierre Daher of Mimix (bug-studios.com/mimix), a two week old web startup that helps people unfamiliar with sign-language communicate with the hearing-impaired & disabled, told his story of becoming an entrepreneur at Startup Weekend Beirut. Mimix went on to win the Global Startup Battle by popular vote.
- Samer Nakfour of Nodio, a two week old self-funded web startup that matches what you type with what you hear to assist note-taking, spoke of the importance of rapid prototyping to deliver a ‘working hack’ when time and resources are tight.
- Abdallah Absi of Rifflex(.com), an 8 months old self-funded web startup in public beta that enables context-aware augmented web browsing experiences, announced his upcoming public beta, a drastic turnaround from his initial alpha offering. Rifflex was released as a public beta on December 1 2010. Rifflex is a Seeqnce Startup.
Global Entrepreneurship Week Lebanon 2010 was a massive success, so much so that the week turned into a month, with world-class workshops, conferences, seminars, and weekends packing the days like tuna at Tsukiji. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so a Party, The GEW Party, was necessary and much anticipated. In the words of GEW Partygoers:
- Beshr Kayali of LiveTweeting: “ROCKIN' AWESOME, got to meet a lot of interesting people. What I loved mostly is that it was a party organized by the people for the people, or as Samer Karam would put it: "by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs". All I can say is: When is the next party?”
- Marcel Hage of Four Quadrants: “Tons of positive energy, only good can come of that!”
- Daniele Diab of MySchoolPulse: "Great party! Amazing crowd!" "Looking forward to the next one!"
- Chady Kassouf of iSpicePhotos: “I met 20 new people today. I forgot the names of 25 of them.”
- William Choukeir [entrepreneur]: “Me, who sleeps at 9 couldn't get myself to leave. Finally the valet guys came looking for us at 4am to give us our car keys… I was worried that all the people that matter are going to leave early, but to my surprise, it just blew my mind. I had crazy conversations & connections with really sharp people in the entrepreneurship scene, and I couldn't believe how fun these people were in an informal setting. I just wish it had been a 2 day party.”
- Naji Chakhtoura of NavLink: “GEW Party was a great event, it was a routine break from the regular events related to technology and entrepreneurship in Lebanon, an informal get together and a great opportunity for old timers in the industry to meet the real juice, the young minds of Lebanon. From the few stories that were shared, it only confirmed Lebanon remains a source for talent, creative minds and great entrepreneurs. I believe, with the right ecosystem, more of these initiatives can go places. A great job for Seeqnce, in kick starting the first building block for such a community, an essential part of the ecosystem.”
- Sarah Karam of GoNabit: “The GEW Small Wins & Ecosystem Party, hosted by Seeqnce's Samer Karam, entrepreneur and seasoned rug-cutter, raised the bar for innovative thinking. Hosted in Ayah Bdeir's beautiful creative space, Karaj, the party united creative minds and problem-solvers in the common pursuit of debate and debauchery. The evening began with entrepreneurs sharing their experiences / ideas and ended with dancing. Crowdsourced food and free-flowing booze kept partygoers going strong and breaking it down till the wee hours. Stimulating minds, bodies and souls at one event is no easy feat so hats off to Samer and the Seeqnce Team. Beirut could use a lot more parties like this.”
- Fadi Bizri of Iltaqi: “Great party. Glad to see the ecosystem coming together in an informal setting where emphasis was given to young entrepreneurs.”
- Mackram Raydan of Cuevox: “GEW Party was what a party should be, great people, superb place and tons of fun.... Just the right way to end such an awesome month.”
- Tania Mazraani of Berytech: "It's great to see the shakers and movers of the ecosystem rubbing shoulders and mixing it up over drinks with entrepreneurs. This party is a great way to conclude GEW Lebanon: the spirits are high and people have lots of things to talk about, lots of projects to look forward to."
- Haitham Khouja [entrepreneur]: “So GEW Party? and who knows how better to throw a party than Seeqnce's very own Mr Samer Karam... Not only I had the pleasure to meet some young, inspiring entrepreneurs, but I had a chance to catch up on what the 'veteran doers' have been accomplishing in their garages. I wish for more of these events and gatherings. Cheers.”
- Christiane Dimas of Cisco: “GEW Party was great! Good to see such an atmosphere and vibe. Need to have more of these organized in Beirut and all over Lebanon as there is a strong need to get the whole ecosystem together in the aim of nurturing entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. Let us capitalize on all the efforts and work collaboratively towards empowering these different sectors. Good job Seeqnce.”
- Ayman Itani of Telephone.com: “@SamerKaram the folks at @Seeqnce know how to brew juicy entrepreneurship ingredients in a fun cooking pot...”
- Ghassan Chahine of Microsoft: “Samer, I really like the initiative you took by throwing this party, you allowed us to meet / mingle with all members from different parts of the community. Events such as the GEW Party should be repeated every quarter and should include members not only from Lebanon but also from the entire MENA or MEA region. Thank you Samer and all the Seeqnce Team for all the initiatives and efforts you are doing for the community.”
- Sami Tueni of Naharnet: "Long awaited community party! Nothing beats good music, drinks and a great crowd to get the community together and mingle! This surely beats any conference and definitely serves the same purpose."
- David Nabti of RootSpace: “The GEW Party was a great event that brought together many members of the Lebanese entrepreneurial ecosystem to get to know each other, enjoy progress made in further developing the ecosystem, and to celebrate what can happen when so many people and groups join together without hierarchy, and without protecting domains. If we work together, support each other, and celebrate each other's successes, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”
- Allyson Jerab of AMIDEAST: “Thanks Samer & the Seeqnce Team for organizing this party! Great to see the community coming together like this and love the crowd sourcing aspect. Let's keep the momentum going through regular social and joint networking events!”
- Omar Christidis of ArabNet: "It was great to see everyone gathered together in a fun and informal setting, and coming together to support young entrepreneurs."
Keeping the Party a party required generous but supportive sponsors. A big THANK YOU goes out to all GEW Party sponsors: Almaza, Dewar’s, Element^N / Apstrata, Kefraya, and Red Bull. Your contributions made the GEW Party possible.
Markedly, community-sourcing was the primary driver of the GEW Party, as Seeqnce insisted on keeping the event “by Entrepreneurs, for Entrepreneurs” [the Seeqnce motto]. The delicious food, for example, was prepared by entrepreneurial young chefs, and many expenses were covered by micro-sponsors [also known as individuals investing in the community]. Even the crowdsourced bar failed to run dry. A Thank You goes out to all who contributed, most notably the fantastic chefs Cynthia Bou Jawdeh, Joanna Fayad, Sarah Karam, and Zalfa Naufal.
And to the people who make the community, for what is a community without its people, thank you! A big thank you to all who attended, to the 50 cars that clogged Rue Armenia in Mar Mikhael, and surely the GEW Partners without whom GEW 2010 would not have been possible – the informal partnership made each individual event exponentially more successful; Seeqnce looks forward to a continued collective effort with all GEW Partners throughout the year – for the entrepreneurs.
In light of the massive success of the GEW Party, and to nurture the newly born Entrepreneurship Community, Seeqnce officially announces its commitment to throwing an entrepreneurship ecosystem party quarterly, hereon referred to as the SEEQ Party! The next SEEQ Party will take place in February 2011.
Seeqnce Organized and Hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Week Lebanon 2010 Small Wins & Ecosystem Party [GEW Party].
Seeqnce is a Startup Catalyst for the Arab World, with Headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.
As a Startup Catalyst, Seeqnce manages an enhanced ecosystem of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, advisors, consultants, and partners, through which it applies culturally-adapted best practices of seed-stage enablers like Y Combinator, Founder Institute, and Plug & Play, to kickstart and accelerate Arab World web & mobile startups from inception through execution to deployment, launch, funding, & growth.
The Seeqnce Team
- Samer N Karam, Founder
- Fadi Bizri, Founding Member
- Hassan Baydoun, Founding Member
- Maroun Najm, Founding Member
- Lucy Abillama, Seeqnceer
- Chehadeh Abu Hala, Seeqnceer
Seeqnce Facebook Page
Seeqnce Twitter Page
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Global Entrepreneurship Week Lebanon Website
Karaj, Arts & Technology Lab Website