Over three days, and starting April 20, 2018, Startup Weekend Homs team held a Techstars Startup Weekend event at Jouri Hall in Al-Malaab Street, in Homs city.
On the first day, 77 participants, including 26 females and 51 males, gathered to share their business ideas, and formed 14 teams. Most participants were between 20 and 25 years old, and came from different Syrian governorates (four from Lattakia, two from Tartous, three from Aleppo, three from Hama, one from Damascus, and one from Deir Al-Zor).
On the second day, the teams started working on their projects, including the design, the business strategy, in addition to other feasibility and technical related matters. They also picked their mentors who shared their expertise and knowledge.
On the final day, the governor of Homs city, Talal Al-Barazi, who was the guest of the event, gave a testimony about his experience to guide the participants to the right path towards forming their startups. Later on, the teams pitched their final projects in front of a judging committee. The teams were: Smart Menu,Tamra, CommUni-T, ABOok, FitKit, ByBicycle, Bahbasha, ShareZ, Al-Daleel Al-Akari, Vicanvy, KMI, Manga Window, Wijha, and MedBrace.
MedBrace, a medical bracelet used to measure the bio indicators of the patient then sending the data to an Android device, a cloud storage, and caregivers' devices respectively, won the first place.
Tamra, a product for a healthy coffee, caffeine-free and no chemical additions, won the second place, whereas in the third place came ShareZ, a platform that enables customers to rent and lease the possessions they no longer need.
The participants underwent a bootcamp a week before the event over the days. They received educational lectures about business administration, marketing, successful components of the company and the essential economic theories of establishing a startup, in addition to trainings in the fields of design, and web developing among others.
“There has been a study declaring that only five percent of the startups in Syria are from Homs city. That is why we aimed to bring up the entrepreneurship culture to an environment that lacks knowledge about it, in order to make the entrepreneurship a familiar word among the youth instead of being a complicated word that needs deep thinking to understand. That was our goal more than launching massive projects. This made me more optimistic about their capabilities that will enable them to continue their work after the event. This way, we set the fundamental stone to build a successful big entrepreneurship environment that will result in multiple business projects in the future,” said Alaa Alsweid, lead organizer of the event. She added: “It was never easy to turn the lives of 80 people from ordinary to entrepreneur in just three days! However, they came
up with astonishing projects which made us very optimistic for the future of Homs. I was also amazed by the great feedback, their increased activity for reading business articles and their joining to entrepreneurship cohorts. That was the main goal of our event and we are very delightful that it was perfectly accomplished.”
The event, organized by 41 youths, mainly aimed at highlighting innovative entrepreneurial ideas which would bring a solution to the tough economic conditions in Homs.