April 10, 2019 – The Sustainability Task Force at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) held the first Sustainability Buzz event, innovative mix of panel debate, case study, and game show. A highly interactive event, the format brings together the various elements in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. A round table discussion along with various student case studies was held during the two-hour event.
Many prominent figures were present: the moderator, Dr. Hassan (Strategic Adviser, Global Compact Network Lebanon – UNGC Lebanon Chapter); the academic pillars Dr. Mira Thoumy (Assistant Professor, Department of Management & Marketing, NDU); the incubator/accelerator pillar, Ramy M. Boujawdeh (Deputy General Manager, Berytech); Yasmina El Khoury Raphael (Head of Business Environment and innovation, Office of the President of the Council Ministers) addressed funding; Maurice Matta (Economic Media Expert – Business News Producer – Financial Analyst, MTV Lebanon/Head of Economy Department, Annahar) covered media; Associations & NGOs with May Makhzoumi (Chair of the Makhzoumi foundation, and wife of founder Lebanese MP Dr. Fouad Makhzoumi); ICT pillar, MP Nadim Gemayel (Chairman of the parliament IT Committee/ Deputy of Beirut, Lebanese Parliament); legislation was covered by Dr. Cedar Mansour (Dean, Faculty of Law and Political Science, NDU); Economics were handled by His Excellency Minister Raed Khoury (Founder of Cedrus Invest Bank and Cedrus Bank/ Former Minister of Economy and Trade); the societal aspect was addressed by H.E. Minster Pierre BooAssi (Former Minster of Social Affairs) and MP Prof. Dima Jamali (President of Global Compact Network Lebanon – UNGC Lebanon Chapter/Full time professor, AUB); Lea Kai Abou Jaoude (Project Manager, UNDP Climate Change Projects) handled discussion on environmental impacts.
NDU President Fr. Pierre Najem, reaffirmed one of the University’s main goals: to become a sustainable, zero waste, green university. Fr. Najem reflected on the collective responsibility to preserve the “goodness” of God’s creations. A round table discussion between the moderator and speakers on Entrepreneurship Ecosystem and Sustainability Pillars took place before three different Student case studies: REK – Retired Extremely Knowledgeable, with Yara Mrad and Walid Faddoul, RAML, with Lorenzo Azar and Mariam Nsaif, and “Kill my routine,” with Fady Bou Debs and Elio Bou Debs.
This event put into the spotlight on many issues, most importantly on how the NDU is spreading the spirit of sustainability amongst its students and faculty, how profit should complement sustainability, which helps achieve ultimate prosperity.
Academia was presented as the brain of entrepreneurship, with students placing a great deal of emphasis on leaving a positive impact on the world. In class incubations and accelerations help the NDU students take their ideas and start working on their execution plan as fast as possible. “Sustainability is not an option anymore, it’s a necessity.” An entrepreneur should make money, but should also take into consideration sustainability and the environment around them. The need for consideration of future generations and the ability to work accordingly were heavily emphasized.
Most entrepreneurs who tackle sustainability come from a technical background, i.e.: science and engineering. As such, incubators and accelerators are important to help startups grow. Within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, NDU seeks to establish itself as a fully sustainable incubator: focusing not just on entrepreneurs, but on their connection with nature, the environment, and sustainability, looking towards a brighter future. “This business mode is a win-win for our planet and for business.”