We recently had the pleasure to interview The Station, a Co-working space based in Baghdad.
Please give us an introduction to The Station
Station Foundation for Entrepreneurship (SFFE) has been founded to offer a physical area where tech entrepreneurs and artists can come together in the first shared space for creative development in Baghdad.
The Station Foundation for Entrepreneurship’s goal encompasses two factors. The first is its assistance of young people with critical thinking and challenging existing paradigms. For example, in Iraq hundreds of thousands of students graduate with a bachelor’s all over Iraq, and albeit, the sectors from which they graduate are varied, they all, for the most part, share a very similar goal of seeking employment within the public sector upon graduation. The public sector is over-inflated in regard to human capital, and 94% of all employed women work for the public sector, in comparison to 2% of all female private sector Employees. There is a pressing need for a source of stability for Iraqis that arguably comes with working for the public sector.
Second, it is to assist aspiring entrepreneurs in Iraq with the planning and launching of their personal businesses/projects by providing them with the resources, the physical space, as well as the vital support necessary to enable entrepreneurial ventures to take hold and succeed without impediment. Although Station is a tool that exists within a physical space, it is also a symbolic gesture that represents the most vital stage of any project – the initial Stage. Therefore, The Station believes entrepreneurship is an initiative that has the potential to not only help the Iraqi youth play an inclusive role in Iraq’s socio-cultural growth within the private sector, but also with sustaining an inclusive economic environment by the very promotion of Entrepreneurship.
What are the typical events you hold at The Station? How can we be informed of upcoming events?
Throw our page on Facebook you can know all our news and all the events, and we are now we are working to develop our website that will help the entrepreneurship.
What further plans do you have at The Station?
The station foundation for entrepreneurship is currently in the process to expand in Iraq also the development phase of incubation programs.
Do you believe Baghdad needs more spaces like The Station?
Not only Baghdad need more spaces like the station, but we also need in cities of Iraq or divided into a geographical area, so yes we need because that will make us develop the entrepreneurship idea.
What type of obstacles did you face when first launching?
There are many obstacles but one of these obstacles faced by the station is the culture of transforming the young Iraqi's thinking from working in the public I mean the Gov. Sector to the private sector and how to build a culture that helps the young Iraqi to develop his abilities and ideas and turn them into work in the private sector, especially entrepreneurship, because the Iraqi market really needs like these projects.
In fact that these projects are the right way to build the future of Iraqi youth and these projects are to serve the rest of the youth and will provide those jobs.
The idea of entrepreneurship is also an idea that has been difficult to accept by Iraqi youth, but over time it has become a popular idea and everyone aspires to set up the project or its start-up company, and the station it’s the first incubator and the first place to provide a co-workspace in Iraq
What else do we need in Iraq to boost the startup ecosystem?
Flourishing startup ecosystems necessitate invaluable entrepreneurs, innovative co-founders, encouraging coaches and investors prepared to take chances. Iraq is no different. Members of this community should expect to be an asset to the ecosystem; to support and provide a blueprint for the next generation. Universities and governmental institutions must also be prepared to welcome and contribute to this culture and function as a partner and a bridge to foster development. With each generation, this pattern would repeat itself, thus beginning the development of a sustainable startup ecosystem. Without all of these actors combined, working together simultaneously, there would exist a lack of inclusiveness that would prove counterproductive for entrepreneurs, startups and hence, the ecosystem.