Bootcamp boosts Syrian startups

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The Jusoor Bootcamp (Images via Jusoor)

After three weeks of intensive training with Syrian startups, Jusoor celebrates the completion of its first entrepreneurship bootcamp in Beirut, Lebanon. The Jusoor Entrepreneurship Bootcamp began the second week of May, and builds on the Jusoor Entrepreneurship Competition from earlier this year where 10 teams of aspiring Syrian entrepreneurs were selected to further develop their ideas and startup experiences.

Jusoor is an NGO founded in 2011 by expatriate Syrians that organizes programs to help the Syrian community. Programs have focused on education and career mentorship.

Sponsored by Asfari Foundation, the three week bootcamp was hosted by Oasis500 trainers that covered a wide range of topics centered around establishing and improving one’s own business. Among other things, the participants were made familiar with business models, financial studies, business valuations and proper pitching.

Who participated?

Participating startups work in areas of education, transportation solutions, recycling building material and more. The sessions took place in the Beirut Digital District, which offered the Jusoor Entrepreneurship Bootcamp a venue with an ideal environment to help fuel the growth of the startups.

Bitcode is an arabic website that aspires to teach people how to code. Tarek Sheikh AlShabab, cofounder of BitCode feels he received tremendous help from the experience. “The bootcamp changed our ideology entirely," he said. "Our vision was very limited and our target market was small. Jusoor showed us that we should think big. I felt as a completely different person walking out after the third week."

Daraty, on the other hand, is a learning program meant to teach children basic electronics in a simple and fun way. “We now look at our startup in a whole new perspective," said  Sana Hawasly, cofounder. "We’ve gained knowledge and expanded our connections...[we learned to] develop the financials, prepare for crowdfunding and investing, grow our critical thinking and know more about branding."

Startups listening to a presentation (via Jusoor)

“We’re very happy to see the massive improvements in the teams presentations and pitches, the Jusoor bootcamp truly helped these startups learn and gain exposure,” said Dania Ismail, Jusoor board member and entrepreneurship program director.

During the bootcamp, the participants had the chance of meeting other successful startups to learn from their experiences. They visited the offices of Zoomaal, a crowdfunding platform, Swell Marketing Solutions, a Syrian startup on marketing solutions, and AltCity, an accelerator based in Beirut.

“On the first week, we learned the lifecycle of a startup, from the minute you get an idea to your exit. The second week we learned how to have a clear financial vision for our startup. The third and final week we learned how to do a proper pitch,” AlShabab said.

The bootcamp culminated when two guest speakers, Majed Lababidi, cofounder and managing director at Fi Technologies, and Lojain Jibawi, founder of Votek Arabic speech recognition, shared their insights and experiences with the participating teams.

“We will use all this knowledge to set a detailed plan that includes working on our market research, developing the content and prototyping,” Hawasly said. “We’re now working on perfecting the technical development and designs and we’ll be testing our prototype in schools and organizations soon to be ready for the next big step in our startup.”

The 10 participating startups at the Jusoor Entrepreneurship bootcamp and their founders were:

-AdZone founded by Ammar Darwish
-Aprecademy founded by Mohammad Hussein Murtada
-ArtAfif founded by Wessam Muases and Ramia Suleiman
-Bitcode founded by Tarek Sheikh Al Shabab
-Daraty founded by Sana Hawasly, May Massijeh and AlHasan Muhammad Ali
-Khedny M3ak founded by Samer Al Shatta and Mohlam Mahmoud
-Phoenix Logistics founded by Hakim Al Sharif
-Resource Investment Operation founded by Tarek Sakkal and Khaled Akkad
-Sahtak founded by Khaldoun Al Hindi and Ahmad Al Hindi
-Sfkat founded by Yaman Al Tareh and Mohammed Al Juboori

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