AltCity, in partnership with Techstars, organized LAUNCH Summit 2016, the first conference for startups in the early stage, which aims to raise awareness for participants on the principles of technological entrepreneurship, at the École Supérieure des Affaires (ESA) Clemenceau.

The summit included talks by the former Minister of Telecommunications H.E. Nicolas Sehnaoui, the former Minister of State and Chairman of Al-Mawarid Bank H.E. Marwan Kheireddine, the former MP and Deputy Chairman of Torch Academy Dr. Ghinwa Jalloul, Director General of the École Supérieure des Affaires (ESA) Stephane Attali, the founding Partner of AltCity David Munir Nabti, the Co-founder of Startup Weekend & Startup Week and Techstars Andrew Hyde. The summit included also the participation of May El-Khalil, Michel Elefteriades, in addition to more than 60 speakers from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, and speakers from Y-Combinator, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and VA Angels. The event was attended by more than 750 persons.

The summit counts prominent partners such as Berytech, Torch Academy, UNICEF, SMART ESA, Ecole Supérieure des Affaires (ESA), and Al Mawarid Bank, in addition to more than 40 regional tech influencers. The summit was designed to be of utmost value to mid-career professionals and senior specialists looking to transform their ideas and prototypes into startups.
The aim of LAUNCH Summit was to connect participants from all majors with like-minded entrepreneurs who have harnessed the power of tech to create startups disrupting their own industry; and took networking to a whole new level by creating a simple yet strategically holistic roadmap that guided discussions between the speakers and the attendees.

The conference included discussion panels about the latest investment trends in the regional and international ecosystem, as well as educational workshops on various startup aspects such as scaling, mentoring, branding and customer acquisitions.
Corporate innovation and social impact were also trending discussions in the conference, along with innovations in long-standing traditional industries such as banking, corporate innovation, governance and the sharing economy.

In his opening speech, David Munir Nabti said: "We at Altcity wanted to organize this event to encourage people who dream to establish their own companies and push them to do it in Lebanon. Techstars also aspires to bring together entrepreneurs in the Middle East. This is a journey to build a strong country in the region and the world, by achieving the best we have and not hesitating to support each other. There lies our strength through the exchange of experiences and learn from others who can be different from us, and build relationships that will make our companies rise to the world.” He concluded: "Always think about helping others before helping yourselves. You’ll see the dazzling things that will happen and the dreams that will be realized."

Marwan Kheireddine said: “It takes typically 10 years to create a healthy ecosystem for startups, but in Lebanon we are already seeing a lot of results within 3 years due to our in depth study of the ecosystem. Lebanon is already on the world map and has become a good example to foreign countries, especially the United States of America and its Silicon Valley, where they are trying to follow our example. We have also today a startup hub like Altcity introducing students and people who have ideas to accelerators who will provide the latter with the appropriate services, and also providing them with access to investors and financial backers, helping them to turn their ideas into reality.”

In his turn, Nicolas Sehnaoui said that "The educational system should introduce special educational programs on technology and programming at the school level. It should contribute to fostering the innovation and the development of creative sense to have started that some of the curriculum seeks to destroy it," adding that "the adoption of the principles of R&D (Research & Development) is essential for the healthy growth of startups.”

As for Ghinwa Jalloul: “LAUNCH Summit and the emerging IT ecosystem in Lebanon are an opportunity for convergence among young people to participate in the emerging knowledge economy.”

Andrew Hyde pointed out that Lebanon is growing tremendously. He said: “Since a couple of years until today we are witnessing a remarkable development in the consolidation of efforts between students and investors and pioneers, and that's great thing."

Stéphane Attali stressed on the importance of the LAUNCH Summit event that was organized at the Ecole Supérieure des Affaires (ESA), because together with SMART ESA accelerator and incubator it aims to create bridges to accompany the ecosystem for startups and entrepreneurs with Europe and specifically France, hence was the decision to host five experts to stay updated with the latest ideas and exchange experiences.

The summit included a contest under the title “LAUNCH your Ideas Startup” in collaboration with UNICEF.