On August 1 & 2, Seedstars World, the largest startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes will land for the first time in Baghdad. Around 20 of Iraq’s best seed-stage startups will compete to represent the country at the Seedstars Summit for a chance to win up to USD 500,000 in equity investments and other prizes.
Seedstars will be holding a dynamic training for entrepreneurs on the first day of the event which will indulge in the topics around Investment Readiness, the Art of Pitch, in addition to tailored mentorship sessions with experts from the market. The list of experts will include Ali Ismail, Co-founder & Curator at Fikraspace Solo Creative Studio, Montather Rassoul, Consultant, Council of the European Union and Ammar Rafid, Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility Senior Officer at Zain Iraq.
As for the participation criteria, the companies invited to the training session and to privately pitch at the Seedstars Baghdad event need to be less than two years old, have raised less than USD 500k in funding and built a minimum viable product, ideally with existing traction. Nonetheless, the Seedstars team is searching for a one additional criterion which is the startup’s regional and global scalability.
After a careful screening and the training on Day 1, the Seedstars team will shortlist around ten of the best seed-stage startups in Iraq to pitch on August 2 for the opportunity to compete at the Seedstars Summit, that annually takes place in Switzerland. The list of the Jury members will include Ali Hili, Youth and Entrepreneurship at Zain Iraq, Bassem Abdel Hadi Hassan, Spokesperson for the Central Bank, Noor Alhandal, Chairman at Ashur International Bank, Khaled Alabadi, Project Manager at GE, Dhafer Hasan, Programme Analyst at UNDP and Anas Al-Chalabi, Business Development Manager at Social n' Tech
A lot of partners have supported Seedstars at making this event happen. The Main Partners of the Event are Central Bank of Iraq and Zain who both continue to position themselves as great believers in the impact of entrepreneurship. The Local Partners of the event are The Station and Social N’ Tech. Further support is provided by Careem, one of the regions most successful startups, as Entrepreneurship Partners.
“At Seedstars, we believe talent and good ideas are everywhere. We see ourselves as a platform connecting investors to the next generation of startup entrepreneurs in places where normally people wouldn’t think startup ecosystem have such traction, growth and buzz. We are very excited to be in Baghdad, highlighting such a bustling entrepreneurship ecosystem and we are here to witness the reality”, explains Mira Charkawi, Community Events Manager at Seedstars, “We are also experts in identifying which are the ones to pull through and how. We’re impressed by what we have seen in the region so far and cannot wait to add startups from Iraq on our map.”
In order to provide local entrepreneurs with this opportunity and aiming to deliver the best possible event, Seedstars is closely working with Mohammad Salah, who is representing the initiative throughout the year. “As the Seedstars ambassadors in Baghdad, we’re more than proud to host the competition in Iraq; This event will be a massive networking and funding opportunity to the finalists. Bringing Seedstars to Iraq will open the door for other global incubators, accelerators and competitions by encouraging them to expand to Iraq. we are here to make a difference, to create opportunities and give exposure to the ecosystem” explains Mohamad Salah , Managing Director at Social N Tech.
"They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds." - Mexican proverb
Seedstars is a Swiss-based private group of companies with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. The groups’ activities cover over 80 emerging ecosystems through a variety of events such as the Seedstars World Competition, acceleration programs, physical hubs called Seedspace, venture capital investments and company building activities.
ABOUT SEEDSTARS WORLD COMPETITION
Seedstars World is the world's largest startup competition in emerging markets. For the past six years, Seedstars Teams travel around for a 9-month world tour and scout for the best early-stage startups in 65+ countries, organizing 100+ events. One winner is selected to represent each country visited, and is invited to attend one of the 5 Regional Summits, reuniting all local winners of each region to network with regional investors, mentors and corporates. Local winners are also awarded the chance to represent their countries at the Seedstars Summit, the competition’s final happening in Switzerland, where startups compete for up to $500,000 in investment. The Seedstars Summit is the flagship event of Seedstars, filled with breakout sessions, panel discussions, specialized workshops and the best minds from emerging markets.