Beirut Digital District
Boost female entrepreneurship
WTSUP! -Women Tech Start Up-is a value-driven platform supporting women-lead startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Itis an initiative bridging the Northern European and MENA region’s startup ecosystems together to support local growth, to solve socio-economic challenges and to promote equality.WTSUP! was launched in 2019 with a pilot event in Beirut, Lebanon, where a group of high-skilled, pro-bono volunteers from Northern Europe joined local startup teams and experts for three days of extensive training to cover topics like business modeling, pitching and marketing. As a strong collaboration between Northern Europe and Lebanon, the pilot managed to gain a lot of traction in the MENA region at large. In 2020 and beyond, the goal is to increase the reach and grow outside of Lebanon to strengthen the impact of WTSUP! as a platform. We are currently scaling our operations – you and your organisation are welcome to join!
Why we wish to focus to MENA region?
All countries in the MENA region score very low in gender equality and especially so when talking about participation and opportunity. Luckily, there is an increasing interest in improving equality and the technological environment in the region. Within this space, women are stepping up and becoming leaders, but continue still to be underrepresented. WTSUP! Addresses this issue and works in collaboration with the local ecosystem to promote equality and equal opportunities for all. By using co-creational approach with our local partners, we also wish to learn from the region and bring those wisdows back to Nordics. Our partners for future regional scaling are Arabnet and MIT Pan Arab Enterprise Forum, both are regional heavy weight players.
In the future, we will be a vibrant community, with continuous activities that share support for entrepreneurs in both regions. We wish you to be part of that journey too!
WTSUP! 2020 will take place from March 16 till march 19, 2020. The first three days will consist of workshops and trainings for teams across three tracks: Pre-Scale-Ups(track lead: Oki Tåg), Impact Ventures(Perttu Ratilainen)and Early-Stage University Startups(Aino Piirtola).
Each individual track will comprise between six and 10 teams and will have its own distinct program. Specific general sessions will be organized for all participants.
At the end of the third day, the most promising teams will be selected to present at the public event on the 4th day. Selection of the winners will be done by a joint Northern European-Lebanese jury and they will earn the prize of experiencing the biggest startup event in Europe,Slush,in 2020.
During the public closing event on the 4th day, dignitaries and startup ecosystem stakeholders will discuss the future directions of WTSUP! and female entrepreneurship while high-profile keynotes will share their knowledge with the public.
WTSUP! Founders Dr. Jukka-Pekka Heikkiläand Fouad-Philippe Saade are now joined by co-organizers Dr. Elina Koivisto and Emma Sanström.
In total, over 20 volunteer experts from Northern Europe, mentors, academics and specialists will be contributing to WTSUP! 2020 in collaboration with an equal number of their Lebanese peers.
WTSUP! 2020 has so far secured the participation of multiple high-profile keynotes including Alf Rehn(Global Top 50 innovation and management thinker)and Maria Bondestam(CSR and SSR, Shareholder Social Responsibility expert). Please find the bios of all keynotes here.
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
Sign Up for 2020