FAFS undergraduate students participated and were among the top 10 finalists in the Agrytech Hackathon that took place between April 20 and 22 at the Berytech Mkalles campus. The team was composed of three undergraduate students, Natalia El Hariri (Agribusiness), Reem El Tayech (agribusiness) and Mohammad Hassan (computer science). Their project, entitled “AgriBridge,” is a web- and app-based business that will link agricultural producers with input suppliers as well as purchasers. Their project was selected from among 26 total projects, which were pre-screened for selection to the Hackathon. The participating agribusiness students had initially developed their business idea as part of their final year project course at FAFS, and participated in the Hackathon with the encouragement of their course instructors, Dr. Gumataw Abebe and Ms. Rachel Bahn.
During the Hackathon, participants were tasked to develop an idea that solves different environmental, economic, business, and marketing challenges in the agri-food industry. The challenges encompassed different subsectors of the agriculture and food industry including but not limited to forestry, farming, crop production, livestock, poultry, fisheries, and food production. All of the challenges presented have given a voice to the agriculture sector and highlighted the need for a skilled workforce capable of implementing the needed improvements and innovations to develop the third, yet small, most important sector in Lebanon.
The three-day Hackathon offered participants workshops and access to Berytech’s Fabrication Lab, equipped with the latest technology and machinery to create prototypes. Participants were matched with experts who provided them with needed information and data to start developing their solutions.
This year’s jury members included H.E. Mr. Jan Waltmans – Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Mr. Maroun N. Chammas – Chairman and CEO of Berytech; Dr. Hady Khalaf – Digital Transformation Director of Bel Group Middle East and Africa; Mr. Peter Hrechdakian – CEO of UNIFERT; Ms. Josien Kapma – Co-founder of FarmHackNL; Mr. Joe Baddour – Assistant General Manger – Head of Corporate Banking Group of BLC Bank; and Mr. Fady Debbane – Vice Chairman of Debbane Agri.