The UK:MENA Hub and Re:Coded partnered to create Iraq’s first entrepreneurial bootcamp to help young entrepreneurs build successful tech businesses. After an intensive four weeks focused on customer, product and market development, seven young businesses are ready to enter the digital economy.
The first cohort consisted of teams with technologies ranging from delivery services, coding education, logistics, real estate, and the first job platform in Kurdistan. A description of each business is included below.
The entrepreneurs came from Erbil, Baghdad, Mosul and Syria and had the opportunity to pitch their startups to an audience consisting of politicians, business leaders, and future investors across the country. The day concluded with the announcement of winners and runners-up from the program, with the winning business receiving $1000USD.
Also on the day, the audience got to hear from an expert panel discussing “Can Entrepreneurship be the re-birth of Iraq?” The project and celebration day was funded by the German Government (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ through its partner Re:Coded and sponsored by Zain Telecoms.
“It’s important to remember how far the region has come in supporting entrepreneurs”, Omar Hassan, UK:MENA Hub co-founder and one of the panelists said. “People recognise the potential that entrepreneurship has to drive positive change in every country in the region.”
“The demo day was a reminder to youth and the local community that there is huge potential for tech businesses to lead the future of Iraq and the Kurdish region” said Zahra Shah, Program Manager of Re:Coded. “To be a driver of that change is key to growing a tech movement, which is why we’re so grateful for having BMZ, GIZ and Zain onboard to support us in innovating Iraq”.
The next Tech Entrepreneurship Academy will take place in Baghdad and target already established startups, providing acceleration training on how to grow their businesses and scale.
Tech-Entrepreneurship Academy Cohorts
Shiffer, an app and online community that connects Syrians and the Syrian diaspora with shipping needs to travellers who can provide the logistics. Tracked by a smartphone app, Shiffer has a 100% successful delivery rate during its beta run.
Supernova, a Baghdad based Code School, creating Arabic-language content to prepare the next generation of Iraqi coders for success.
Ekaratay, an online real estate platform connecting home sellers with buyers, a first of its kind in the Levant.
Dakakenna, a shopping delivery service in Mosul. Dekakena will deliver to anyone, anywhere in the city that is still emerging from conflict.
Girfan Bazaar, a unique app helping shoppers find items in Souks and Bazaars in Erbil.
Erbil Delivery, a grocery delivery service serving Erbil with their own warehouses.
Opportunity, A job board connecting university graduates to jobs and volunteer opportunities, and providing a platform for skills development.