Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon


Why the SDGs need entrepreneurs

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A better world depends upon our ability to generate new ideas and build new systems that can better channel human, social and financial efforts towards the SDGs. Entrepreneurs are essential to this. They are key to creating the innovations and partnerships that will enable us to go beyond and reach the SDGs with the resources we have. In order to do this, entrepreneurs need ecosystems that allow knowledge, resources and information to be shared among the different groups that are addressing the goals. Fast Forward 2030, one of the Institute for Global Prosperity’s Knowledge Networks, builds the structure we need to progress.

Fast Forward - a global network

Fast Forward 2030 is a global network delivered by the Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) that helps facilitate conversation between the small businesses, and especially millennial start-ups, working towards the SDGs across the world. It was launched in 2016 as a bi-monthly event series hosted by guest speakers working towards the SDGs. It quickly secured regular audiences of around 100 people, stimulating conversations on particular aspects of the SDGs, and offering invaluable insight into first-hand entrepreneurial practice. Soon after its launch, the IGP established a network for entrepreneurs working in this area.

Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon

Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon is a network and collaborative platform for businesses in Lebanon that incorporate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their business models. It seeks to bring businesses working in this area together to support them in developing common approaches to global challenges. Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon was set up in 2018 following a series of scoping conversations with entrepreneurs working with the SDGs to uncover the innovations happening in Lebanon that address challenges in sustainable development.  

Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon is a sister of Fast Forward 2030 London and is run by the RELIEF Centre. The creation of Fast Forward 2030 London and Lebanon provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs working in both countries to speak with, and learn from each other.


Sustainable Food Production and Waste Management

Our first Fast Forward 2030 evening event on food sustainability and waste management took place on 26 September 2018 at Antwork in Beirut, Lebanon. It asked: how can we grow sustainable food everywhere? How can we turn waste into a resource? We were joined by entrepreneurs from the UK and Lebanon who are tackling these issues, who presented their businesses and took part in a conversation with the audience around entrepreneurship and sustainable business in Lebanon.

Speakers for this event included:

  • Marc Aoun - Compost Baladi: a social enterprise specialised in providing waste management, and developers of CubeX, an off-grid waste solution that provides energy and fertiliser, and processes water from household waste.

  • Maya Terro - FoodBlessed: a social enterprise that collects surplus food that would be wasted and gives it to those in need.

  • Richard Ballard - Growing Underground, a Zero Carbon Food business that produces food in disused underground space.

Innovation on the Move: Entrepreneurship & mass displacement

Roundtable Beirut Digital District

Some of the challenges we face are around creating teams and gaining access to IT
— UK Lebanon Tech Hub

Innovation on the Move was a collaborative event that took place at Wayra in London on 26 April 2018, co-organised by the RELIEF Centre and Fast Forward 2030. Speakers included:

  • Tamara Giltsoff - Head of Innovation at DFID

  • Jad Abi Esber - Strategy and Operations at Google, previously Partnerships at YouTube

  • Lama Zaher - COO at UK Lebanon Tech Hub

  • Ali Makhzoum - Founder and CEO of LifeLab BioDesign, a Lebanon-based Agritech company that designs and builds automated vertical hydroponic farms

With the audience, our speakers explored the role that entrepreneurship can play in building prosperous societies within the context of mass displacement.

كيف نخلق الفرص للاجئين والسكان المهمشين في لبنان للوصول إلى أشكال متنوعة من التعليم؟
— Professor Diana Laurillard, Co-Investigator, Future Education, RELIEF Centre
60٪ من الأطفال السوريين اللاجئين غير ملتحقين بالمدرسة @KamKalima #ReliefUKLaunch
— كم كلمة

On 16 March 2018 we organised a roundtable networking event at Beirut Digital District.

This inaugural Fast Forward 2030 Lebanon event saw networks, accelerators, and start-ups including UK Lebanon Tech Hub, Rural Entrepreneurs Lebanon, CEWAS Middle East, INJAZ Lebanon, Berytech Lebanon, SwitchMed, Eduware Qitabi, Kamkalima, Little Engineer, YallaBus, Chair Effect, Lifelab, and representatives from the American University of Beirut come together and discuss the landscape of social entrepreneurship in Lebanon.

We discussed: the role of entrepreneurship and business in achieving the SDGs and the particular challenges Lebanon faces with respect to this; the main obstacles to building a business with high environmental and social impact in Lebanon; and experiences of creating value in Lebanon.

#data can help you measure whether your intervention will be a success or not. If governments, social entrepreneurs and research communities work together they will be able to use #data to #innovate with #impact
— Richard Rose, Private Sector Development Adviser - Lebanon, DFID