Become a game changer

Women Tech Startup Beirut (WTSUP!) was a 3 – day event designed to deliver state-of-the-art startup education in Lebanon to early-stage female entrepreneurial teams carefully vetted by trusted local partner organisations. This was a pilot event for 40 talented participants that aims to encourage gender equality in the Lebanese entrepreneurial community by deploying the best practices in entrepreneurship education currently available in Finland and customizing it to suit the local needs. This event was also intended to set the stage for a longer-term collaboration and community building between the Finnish / Nordic area startup-ecosystems and Lebanon’s´s startup ecosystems. We are currently building up the 2020 event, if you are interested on it, sign-up for future updates!


WTSUP! Beirut is a completely new form of collaboration; it is partnered with the leading Lebanese entrepreneurship educator partners of Beirut Digital District, LNE: Mind the GapNawaya NetworkInjaz Lebanon and from Finland, the initiative is associated with Aalto University School of Business, Hanken School of EconomicsThe Shortcut and the Embassy of Finland in Lebanon. WTSUP! Beirut 2019 is sponsored by Société Générale de Banque au Liban, Cedar Mundi, Phoenician Funds, and Mr. Zafer Chaoui – Consul General of Finland and supported by the LLBW – Lebanese League for Women in Business.


WTSUP! Beirut is unique, first because its entire expert and organizing team will be working on a pro bono basis. The team members share common values and are guided by both their willingness and ability to share their significant experience and knowledge in their respective fields.



Second, this event is multi-dimensional and combines cutting edge educational, technological, mentoring, and research components. It aims to build collaboration and encourage knowledge transfer between the Nordic and Lebanese entrepreuneurial ecosystems.



Third, the winning team will be propelled to attend and pitch at SLUSH, one of the world’s top entrepreneurship mega-events held annually in Helsinki, Finland.



Fourth, the event is carefully crafted to expand the funding, growth, and networking potentials of the participating teams and open new collaboration venues for the partners.

WTSUP 2020

We are currently building and scaling up for the 2020 event. We are looking for volunteers, co-creators and all kinds of supporters for our initiative. If you wish to contribute to fostering equality and equal opportunities to all, sign up via the questionnaire behind the tab. Thank you

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WTSUP! Beirut is proudly sponsored by

Phoenician Funds

Phoenician Fund I is a Lebanese Venture Capital Fund backed by the BDL’s circular 331. The Fund invests in seed and early stage Lebanese technology startups supporting entrepreneurship and the knowledge economy.


The SGBL group is a major player on the international banking scene, operating in Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates and Europe. It provides a complete and personalized range of universal type banking services to individuals and corporate clients: Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, Investment Banking, Private Banking as well as specialized financial services through its affiliated companies: Fidus (wealth management and financial brokerage), Sogelease Liban (financial leasing), SGBL Insurance (Life Insurance) and CTM (Credit Card Processing).

Ø Firm Believers in Lebanon’s innovation capability;

Ø Strong Advocates of Lebanon’s intellectual wealth in the homeland and the Diaspora;

Ø Committed Supporters of Banque du Liban’s initiatives towards promoting Lebanon’s Knowledge Economy;

Ø SGBL’s Investment Finance offers specialized services spanning across Corporate & Venture Finance, Strategic Advisory, Structured Finance and Asset Management.

Ø The Investment Finance Team gathers a specialized management and technicians, with deep knowledge of financial markets and experience in offering tailored solutions to institutions, corporations, startups and key clients.

Ø Sponsors & Agents of the Cedar Mundi Fund and Phoenician Fund I, having helped raise a combined $71M to date, with a view to raise up to an additional $50M by the end of 2020;

Ø Investors in select VC funds (Berytech I, Berytech II, Leap Investments I, Cedar Mundi, Phoenician Fund I) and startup opportunities, having committed to-date circa $35M;

Ø Activists on the Boards of several VC funds and the Investment Committee of Cedar Mundi, with a view to ensure good governance and a harmonization of stakeholders’ interests.

Cedar Mundi

Cedar Mundi Ventures (“CMV”) is a Lebanese venture capital firm investing in international technology startups, having substantial economic presence in Lebanon and growth opportunities in the Middle East. CMV reaches out to its European tech networks, and to the Lebanese Diaspora in particular, to bring to the region best-in-class technology startups founded or led by Lebanese entrepreneurs or friends abroad, seeking expansion capital and support from CMV group’s resources to access the Middle East markets. CMV’s network also comprises Lebanese in Technology (“LiT”), an organized community club fostering links among tech-savvy Lebanese diaspora members and Lebanese companies. CMV is a founding member of LiT, which is active in prime European tech hubs (London, Paris, Dublin, etc.). CMV is part of Kuwait Holding group. For more information, please visit
About Kuwait Holding group
The Kuwait Holding group of companies is a leading principal investor, asset manager and tech-driven conglomerate based in Kuwait, with listings on the Kuwait and Dubai stock exchanges. Kuwait Holding group comprises, among others, Aqarat (, Arzan Financial Group (, First Takaful Insurance (, ticker : FTI KK), Ghaliah (, Gulfmart (, International Financial Advisors (, ticker : IFA KK), IFA Food (,, IFA Hotels & Resorts (, ticker : IFAHR KK), MIAX (, Yotel ( In addition to principal investments in digital technology, Kuwait Holding manages to date venture capital and private equity funds in excess of $250 million, through its affiliates Arzan Venture Capital (UAE,, Cedar Mundi Ventures (Lebanon,, Chart Venture Partners (USA, and Nox Management (Kuwait,

And with the support of Mr. Zafer Chaoui, Honorary Consul General of Finland

Hands-on academic experts

The project co-founders of WTSUP! Beirut are two hands-on academic entrepreneurship experts: Dr. Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä ( Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Fellow, Aalto University) and Fouad-Philippe Saade (Doctoral Researcher, Hanken School of Economics). Jukka-Pekka has significant expertise in designing and deploying entrepreneurship workshops and events in both extreme (e.g. North Korea) and advanced (Finland, USA) settings. Fouad-Philippe is a Lebanese expatriate, expert on migrant entrepreneurship, family business entrepreneur, and a corporate finance specialist.
WTSUP! Beirut workshops, panels, and mentoring will be conducted by an elite team of 15 expert digital entrepreneurship educators, entrepreneurs, and researchers. Their expertise lies, among others, in web development, experience design, venture capital, analytics, mobile platforms, impact design, mobility, start-up team formation, product development, brand strategy, social innovation, ecosystem building, food technologies, social impact, and leadership. Experienced Lebanese mentors are also joining the mentoring and panel discussion sessions.

Speakers and panelists of the 2019 WTSUP! Beirut

Tarja Fernández, Ambassador of Finland

Adel Abdelatif Afiouni, Minister of State for Information Technology

Priscilla Elora Sharuk, Co-Founder of Myki

Anne Badan, CEO of The Shortcut

Mouhamad Rabah, CEO of Beirut Digital District

Zafer Chaoui, Honorary Consul General of Finland with 40 years of business experience between Finland and Lebanon

Dr. Lina Daouk-Öyry, Assistant Professor, AUB

Rania Abou Nader, General Manager of Business Motion

Aino Piirtola, Head of Slush Global Impact Accelerator 

Reine Abbas, CEO of Spica Tech Academy and Co-Founder of Wixel Studios.

Zakie Karam, CEO of DON Telecom on behalf of the LLWB

Michelle Mouracade, Country Director of Alfanar

Dr. Elina Koivisto, Aalto University

Professor Simon Down, Anglia Ruskin University

and other speakers


The jury of WTSUP! Beirut pitching competition


Hasmig Dantziguian-Khoury, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Bank Audi

Stephanie Abdallah,Business Development Manager, Beirut Digital District

Aino Piirtola, Head of Slush Global Impact Accelerator

Anne Badan, CEO of The Shortcut

Sami abou Saab, CEO, Speed Lebanon

Abdallah Jabbour, Managing Director, Lebanon for Entrepreneurs

Saeb Nahas, Portfolio Manager, Phoenician Funds

Hassan Chamseddine, Investment Manager, Cedar Mundi

Aino Piirtola

Head of Global Impact Accelerator: Slush

Startup ecosystems and Sustainable Entrepreneurship Specialist

Anne Badan

CEO: The Shortcut, Founder: A2B Philanthropy, Lecturer: Aalto University

Entrepreneur, Ecosystem Community Builder, Impact Designer, Award Winner

Daniil Pokidko

Doctoral researcher: Hanken School of Economics

Entrepreneurship and Startup Education Expert, Entrepreneur, Lecturer

Dr. Elina Koivisto

Offering Lead, Brand strategy: Marketing Clinic; Research fellow, Aalto University

Branding, Customer Experience, Marketing in creative industries, Entrepreneurship, Human-driven business development

Fouad-Philippe Saade

Doctoral Researcher: Hanken School of Economics, CEO: AME Consult Oy

Migrant Entrepreneurship Expert, Entrepreneur, Startup Consultant, Lecturer

Mikko Ikola

CEO and Co-founder: Ambronite

Entrepreneur, Startup Fundraising, Crowdfunding, Team Leadership, Scaling Up methodology, Biohacking, PR, Nutrition

Oki Tåg

General Partner: #digirockstars

Acceleration and Globalization of Early-Stage Startups, Startup Coaching

Perttu Ratilainen

Co-founder Radbahn Berlin, Co-founder paper planes e.V

Public Relations, Urban Development, Mobility, Financing

Hugi Ásgeirsson

Director, Nordics: Edgeryders 

Web Development and Analytics, Participatory Culture, Social Innovation

Community Builder: The Borderland, Syntheist Node

Dr. Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä

Founder: Pyongyang Startup Week, Burning Stories Co-founder: Startup Circus, Board Member: The Shortcut

Startup Ecosystem Expert, Entrepreneurship in Extreme Environments, Entrepreneur, Academic

Meri Dow

Marketing Manager: Vindirekt Finland

Brand building, shopper marketing and retail, communications

Peter Blom

Co-Founder: Relatable, Rebel & Bird. Former Growth Lead: Spotify
Entrepreneur, Product development, Growth

Peter Tapio

Project Coordinator: IdeaSquare at CERN

Experimental Innovation, User Experience, Project Management, Prototyping, Coaching

Prof. Simon Down

Deputy Dean, Research and Enterprise: Anglia Ruskin University (UK)

Entrepreneurship and Small Business Expert, Academic

Sofia Grebius

Co-founder and Partner: Expology AB

Experience Design, Entrepreneurship, Exhibition Organization Expert

Joppe Quaedvlieg

Communication & Network expert at

Coaching, events, entrepreneur.

Sign up

We are currently building and scaling up for the 2020 event. We are looking for volunteers, co-creators and all kinds of supporters for our initiative. If you wish to contribute to our initiative, sign up via the questionnaire behind the tab. Thank you
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