For the first time since its inception, QOOT Cluster organized on February 13th, its first general assembly, whereby the cluster’s management team rounded up a precedent year filled with accomplishments and lessons learned and introduced the 2023 work plan. QOOT Cluster also hosted Ms. Sally El Armaly Yacoub, head of Food and Beverage at FATTAL GROUP, Lebanon’s distribution behemoth. The event was concluded with a networking session, fruitful discussions, catchups, and warm smiles.
QOOT’s 2023 roadmap unveiled exciting plans and quite a busy schedule. This year’s activities, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), are not only designed to cater for Engagement and Internationalization, but also, for Competitiveness with a prime focus on Research and Development (R&D); an instrumental determinant of market competition. Side Streams Valorization, LEAN Manufacturing, and Process Automation will be among other topics that will be delved into during this year, equipping members with the latest emerging trends in processing and business development. Ms. Therese Maalouf, Senior Cluster Coordinator, anticipates having over 100 hours of capacity-building sessions organized this year; a fruitful year is awaiting QOOTERs “we cherish our members’ trust, and we ask for their commitment to optimize results and learning.” Moreover, Dr. Marc Bou Zeidan, QOOT Cluster Manager, announced during the event the three technical committees that were formed and voted upon: the Research, Development, and Innovation (R&D&I), Export and Trade Facilitation, Communication and Public Affairs committees. QOOT’s lean operational strategy responds to its members’ needs, ideas, and aspirations, and those committees were created for that purpose, optimizing by this engagement and commitment. QOOT President, Ms. Nadine El Khoury, corroborates the role of the cluster in promoting sustainable growth and leveraging members’ areas of expertise to maximize benefits, “QOOT became a community of well-established companies creating profitable synergies,” as proudly mentioned by the President.
In her turn, the keynote speaker, Ms. Yacoub, provided invaluable input on consumer trends and behavior in light of Lebanon’s pivotal socio-economic changes. The latter delineates Lebanon’s consumerism phases in the past three years: i. Denial ii. Shock iii. Frustration vi. Resilience v. Come-back and vi. New Norms. The Lebanese consumer is currently bordering the fifth and sixth phases. Ms. Yacoub ends her intervention with a call to action to duplicate, if not triplicate, efforts to undertake the not-so-obvious must-win battles:
To sum up, QOOT is stepping up the game this year by building on last year’s successes to bring additional value to members at the business development and market access levels and by playing harder in the Innovation and R&D arena. Commitment to sustainable growth and collective success remains at the heart of the cluster’s strategy and its management team working behind the scenes.