With Banque Du Liban Accelerate 2016 , it was go big or go home… The third annual Banque Du Liban Accelerate was held on November 3, 4, and 5, with over 23,000 people registered to attend conferences and workshops at the Forum De Beyrouth.
BDLA is the biggest convention of its kind held in the region, and its success speaks for itself. Hosting 100 speakers from 50 different countries, BDLA 2016’s theme was “Innovation: Intrapreneurship VS Entrepreneurship,” with 100 startups from 40 different countries exhibiting their ideas and work for all visitors to check out.
With different stands and exhibitions by various funding establishments, such as Berytech, and local Lebanese banks, such as Bank Audi, the 16,000 sqm floor was packed, wall to wall. There were various stages hosting the speakers, the Main Stage, the Executive Stage, the Innovation Stage, the Ecosystem Stage, the Design Stage, the Code Stage, the Startup Stage, and the Money Stage.
The highlight of the 3 days was co-founder of Apple, Steve “The Woz” Wozniak who gathered a seated 2,000 viewers in the audience and plenty more gathered outside the full stage area. His talk took on a casual style with moderator Monty Munford, tech writer for The Telegraph, Forbes, and The Economist, to name a few. Among other things, The Woz discussed creating things you would want to use, saying that the iPhone was created simply because that is what Steve Jobs and himself wanted to use on a daily basis.
Other speakers spanning over the 3 days included Antonio Vincenti, Chairman and CEO of Pikasso and VP of Fepe International, Ben Huh, the Father of Internet Memes, Ramzi Rizk, Co-founder and CTO of EyeEm, Andreas Ehn, former CTO of Spotify, Bernard Khoury, Visionary Architect, and Manal Khater, Regional Strategy Director at Leo Burnett MENA, and Head of Strategy at Atelier.
Panel discussions included some great topics, such as social media and the new wave of VR and AR, between Monty Munford, Loic Le Meur (host), Timoni West, Keith Teare, Brian Solis, and Paul Papadimitriou.
The Startup Competition ended with a Lebanese winner, Jaleesa, and the Healthtech Hackaton crowned Face Physio as the winner after 48 hours of hacking, among 21 participating ideas.
The 3 days were not just about listening to talks and attending workshops – The Networking Hub, located just outside the main entrance to Forum De Beyrouth, was the center of all socialization with live entertainment from the likes of Joy Fayad, and a wide variety of eats by Souk El Akel and partners.
All in all, Banque Du Liban Accelerate 2016 was a celebration of talent, innovation, success, effort, and entrepreneurship… all in our beautiful little capital city, Beirut. We will definitely be attending again next year!