The world has evolved, and so have we.
Our story with supporting entrepreneurship in MENA goes back to 2006, with visits, research, and examinations into challenges for entrepreneurship in various countries in the region, especially Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. In 2007, David Munir Nabti started working on plans to launch a co-working space in Lebanon, along with various activities to encourage and support creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation. The doors opened in 2008, and we had a constant stream of coworkers, activities, and workshops, and saw the establishment of a youth media outlet, Hibr Lubnani. Those efforts were supported by an amazing team, including Julnar Doueik, Aly Ghamloush, Paula Korban, Rodrigue Kortmossian, Pippa Nairn, Nawar Nohra, and Maya Rahal, amongst others.
In 2010, we started working on an effort to expand to a new location, with a new approach, and a new name, AltCity, which (re-)launched with the support of the team above, and under the leadership of three core partners, David Munir Nabti, Dima Saber, and Samer Azar.
The new AltCity community space launched in Hamra in early 2011, with early support from Mercy Corps. It included a cafe, coworking + offices, workshop spaces, art spaces, and an event space. Often hosting multiple events per day, the space saw tens of thousands of visitors, and partnered with hundreds of organizations over the years.
Some of the exciting events included a game development program (with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Lebanon), a media entrepreneurship program (with CFI), regular language and media workshops for migrants and refugees, a theater production with Zeina Daccache, regular TEDxHamra Salon events, Behance and other design events, hosted Open Innovation Week (with the World Bank, Stanford University, MIT, and many other partners), and much more.
As projects evolved and shifted away from a media focus, some of that core team shifted on to other projects.
AltCity shifted to focus more intensively on tech entrepreneurship, launching an early-stage Bootcamp program in partnership with Banque du Liban and AM Bank. Our passion for social impact led to the creation of Elevate Impact Accelerator, a joint initiative with UNICEF Lebanon (the first impact accelerator launched in collaboration with UNICEF globally), and SoUK.LB (a joint project with the UK Embassy in Lebanon, Alfanar, and DAI).
With the changing times, the AltCity team decided to shift from a “space focus” to a “program focus” in 2015, first moving offices to Antwork, then to BDD. Over the years 2016 and 2017, we decided to shift from a “program focus” to a “tech focus”, and after various explorations and pilots, the idea of Pitchworthy was born.
As the programmatic focus further evolved, so has the team.
To see the current work of Samer Azar, visit Alex the CFO.
To see the current work of David Munir Nabti, and the continued evolution of these efforts, check out the rest of this site for Pitchworthy.org (the non-profit successor to AltCity Impact NGO), and the tech platform Pitchworthy.co.