Behind the scenes: meet our Lebanese partner in NEX-LABS to learn about the link between food, energy and water sectors

Photo by Michal Czyz on Unsplash

In this issue you will meet Ms Krystel Khalil, Programs Director at Berytech in Lebanon.

Krystel, tell us more about your organization

Berytech is an ecosystem for entrepreneurs, providing a dynamic environment for the creation and development of startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), fostering innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Lebanon. Berytech has been established in 2002 by Saint Joseph University (USJ) and supports innovative companies to scale up and shape the tech and innovation scene in Lebanon and the region with the ultimate goal to create jobs.

Berytech’s role is multifold in building an all-inclusive ecosystem for its own entrepreneurs while contributing to the growth of the Lebanese entrepreneurial ecosystem in general. It has helped shape the cultural norms of the society in accepting and supporting the concept of entrepreneurship, while its different activities continue to push new avant-garde concepts. 

Berytech provides business support and mentoring services, conducts workshops, events and competitions to increase know-how and capacity building, provides tools and networking opportunities to access international markets, aims to create job opportunities, provides funding advice and counseling, offers office spaces and facilities and supports the community through networking.

Berytech is the only organization in Lebanon to provide an across-the-board ecosystem for innovative entrepreneurs to create and develop their own startups and SMEs.

What is your role at Berytech?

I am currently  the Programs Director at Berytech, managing the projects lab unit, responsible for the design, development, and management of innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development programs, on the local and international scale and focusing on 3 pillars: social entrepreneurship, green and circular economy and Intellectual Properties (IP) based innovations.

What is your background and how does that background contribute to NEX-LABS?

With more than 13 years’ experience in the field of communication, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and innovation, I have developed an extensive experience in communication and outreach, business development, program development and implementation, from which EU-funded regional projects, tackling various innovation areas including technology, social entrepreneurship, technology transfer, clean tech, green and sustainable energy and more. I leverage on my background in innovation and entrepreneurship to support the integration of innovation in Nexus related sectors through entrepreneurship.

What is your role in the NEX-LABS project, what are you currently working on?

Currently  and with the support of my team, we are designing support activities and capacity building to source innovators and entrepreneurs who are working on solutions that address the NEXUS challenges in our region, to support them in growing successful ventures in this sector and contribute to the economic development and innovation growth in the Mediterranean.

What are your expectations in the NEX-LABS project? What do you think will have major impact for the Mediterranean community?

The NEX-LABS project will bridge the gap that exists in the food, energy and water sector in the Mediterranean community. There are several policies, initiatives and projects that only focus on one sector and don’t take into account the interlinkages and impacts on other sectors. In addition, the region is facing resource scarcity and is prone to climate-change risks. If those risks are not mitigated, all sectors, including the food, energy and water will be severely impacted and the damage will be irreversible.

However, the region has abundance of natural resources such as sunlight and wind, that could be harnessed through renewable energy technologies.

The NEX-LABS project will have a direct impact on the creation of the Water Energy Food (WEF)-NEXUS in the Mediterranean region. It will bring together key stakeholders from the public and private sector and foster their collaboration and partnership to efficiently use natural resources and adopt innovative technologies that optimize resource use and maximize environmental, social and economic impact.

Throughout the project, several activities will be held, ranging from training on technology and innovation to business model development and regulatory framework. The project will address the needs of all stakeholders such as public authorities, SMEs, and technology transfer officers. It will also bring enable the capitalization on research projects and create partnerships.

NEX-LABS will enable the Mediterranean region to have a solid WEF-NEXUS foundation and ecosystem.

What are your interests outside the project and your work? 

I am a constant traveller, I love meeting and interacting with different cultures and constant exposure to new trends.