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Competition

Launching of the first HEC Entrepreneur Prize, open to startups

ESA and HEC Paris also announced the launching of a double diploma, starting 2020.

The first edition of the HEC Entrepreneur Prize launched on June 13 at ESA. Photo Michel Sayegh

The first edition of the HEC Entrepreneur Prize launched on June 13, during a conference hosted by the ESA Business School in Beirut. Born from an association between L’Orient-Le Jour, the Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (CCIAB), as well as ESA, in partnership with the Smart ESA incubator and the HEC alumni group of Lebanon, the competition is open to all startups created by Lebanese in Lebanon and abroad.

The event was attended by Lebanese Telecom Minister and CCIAB president Mohammad Choucair, the academic director of ESA Maxence Duault – representing director Stephane Attali –, the executive director of L’Orient-Le Jour Michel Helou, and the president of HEC Paris and vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce of Île-de-France, Jean-Paul Vermes among others. In his speech, Choucair said that the initiative is based on the “demanding” partnership that exists between ESA and HEC Paris. “In spite of all the hurdles faced by entrepreneurs in this country and elsewhere, the entrepreneurial spirit apparently remains stronger here”, he said, before praising Prime Minister Saad Hariri for his support. As per Mr. Choucair, he reasserted the necessity to promote education and entrepreneurship “to help Lebanon out from tragic and never ending crises by strengthening the competiveness of companies, fight poverty and extremism, and help old industries modernize”.


Station F

In his speech, Michel Helou identified the modalities of the competition, which targets companies still being formed or that were created less than 24 months ago, which have a product under development and a sales revenue of less than 500,000 dollars. The prize will be given to the most promising project in terms of creativity and growth potential in the international arena. The winning project should be viable and profitable in the long run. The participants’ selection will be made based on their application, to be presented either in French or in English. A second selection will take place following interviews, to be followed by a training performed by Smart ESA prior to the selection of the finalists.

In addition to coverage provided by L’Orient-Le Jour and Le Commerce du Levant, the winner will receive a check for USD10 000 and be eligible for a three month incubation period at Station F Paris, the biggest campus for startups on earth. As for the finalists, they will benefit from a support program by provided by Smart ESA.

Interested candidates can register until July 15, on the competition webpage (www.lorientlejour.com/prix-hec). The winner will be named at a closing event in November 2019, during which finalists will present their project before a jury of experts. Finally, an honorary prize will be granted as a result of a public online vote organized in October.

In addition to the competition, ESA and HEC Paris announced that they will “reaffirm” their mutual engagement with a new Master’s degree – Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship – that will be certified by a double diploma granted by both institutions at the end of more than 18 months, the new course will start in 2020.






The first edition of the HEC Entrepreneur Prize launched on June 13, during a conference hosted by the ESA Business School in Beirut. Born from an association between L’Orient-Le Jour, the Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (CCIAB), as well as ESA, in partnership with the Smart ESA incubator and the HEC alumni group of Lebanon, the competition is open to...