My take on BDL Accelerate 2014

Whenever I get approached for projects I always try to make sure they are projects I would enjoy, so when Eastline Marketing approached me for BDL Accelerate it really was a no brainer for me… and I’m so glad I said yes!

For those of you who aren’t aware BDL Accelerate is Lebanon’s First International Startup Conference.  I’ve always been passionate about startups, constantly following international startups and their success stories and dedicated to working with regional startups.

BDL Accelerate 2014 took place Thursday and Friday and it was remarkable being there.  I spent the whole of two days in the main hall that witnessed 9 panels, 7 keynotes, 2 firesides, 5 interventions and of course, Seedstars World Startup Competition. 

Almost 2000 people attended the conference where 50 stellar speakers who had flown in from around the world shared their success stories and insights.  There were quite a few successful speakers of Lebanese origins who were truly inspirational such as Alexander Asseily, Co-Founder of Jawbone and State, Jean Nehme, Co-Founder of Touch Surgery, and Mark Haidar, founder of Vinli.

You can find summaries of the 2 days on BDL Accelerate’s blog.

Being at the conference, looking around, talking to attendees and speakers was truly inspirational and got me all pumped up.  We constantly read about the negative in Lebanon but there I was,  in a hall full of the country’s most creative and intelligent people. People who wanted to make a difference. Being there, gave me so much hope to the future of this country.  Listening to BDL’s commitment to this sector, to investor’s solutions, to the startup ideas – all that gave me hope and got me fueled up.

Following the discussions I’ve had and reading the feedback on twitter, it is pretty obvious that most attendees feel the same way I do.  My only concern is that the enthusiasm would die out if no one builds on BDL Accelerate.  If action is not met by what was spoken, the local entrepreneurs will lose their trust and faith.  I really hope that doesn’t happen and that we will witness the Lebanese ecosystem thrive.



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