entrepreneurship | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative and Yanhad Project Launch Iraq’s First Business Accelerator

  The AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative (AEI) at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) announced today the launch of the Takween Accelerator, Iraq’s first business accelerator program. Takween is a project of Yanhad, an initiative to promote civic engagement and entrepreneurship for youth in Iraq, financed by the European Union and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (CDCS), and implemented by Expertise France.   The Takween Accelerator will help develop at least 45 entrepreneurial ventures across Iraq over the next 18 months, with the aim of supporting founders to rapidly and effectively grow their businesses and spur job creation and economic development.   Takween will offer participants a complete suite of support for entrepreneurial development, including intensive training centered on product and market development; a strong international mentorship program; an opportunity for seed funding; and integration into an investor network.    “The AEI accelerator presents an opportunity to alter the landscape of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iraq,” said AEI Director Pat Cline. “It will have knock-on effects that will ripple throughout the private sector and will immediately become a central pillar of the burgeoning ecosystem, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, academia, and other partners to rapidly promote private sector growth in Iraq.”   Yanhad Project Manager Alexis Goshen stated, "Expertise France, in close cooperation with its Iraqi partners, is very proud to start implementing the Yanhad project, funded by the European Union and the CDCS. The actions will promote and support civic engagement, employment and entrepreneurship in Iraq. In particular, we are going to work with the AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative and support the Iraqi youth to develop their skills and establish the first accelerator in the country. For that purpose, the team will be assisting around 45 start-ups to scale up their businesses."   About the AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative The AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative (AEI) was launched to build on the close link between early-stage private sector growth and national economic progress. Entrepreneurs in Iraq struggle with challenges posed by limited infrastructure, mentorship, and capital. AEI aims to fill that gap by providing aspiring entrepreneurs with practical educational resources, access to mentors and professional advisers, pitch events, and seed funding.   About Expertise France Expertise France is the French public agency for international technical assistance. It aims at contributing to sustainable development based on solidarity and inclusiveness, mainly through enhancing the quality of public policies within the partner countries. Expertise France designs and implements cooperation projects addressing skills transfers between professionals. The agency also develops integrated offers, assembling public and private expertise in order to respond to the partner countries' needs.   AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative Contact: Pat Cline AEI Director [email protected] Tel: +964 0770 555 5555 www.auis.edu.krd/AEI/    Yanhad Media Contact:  Helen Baker Communication Advisor [email protected]  Tel: +964 750 732 2214 www.expertisefrance.fr     

Iraq Innovation Hackathon

    Iraq Innovation Hackathon | Basra, Mosul, Erbil, Sulaimaniya and Baghdad The Iraq Innovation Hackathon challenges developers, designers, entrepreneurs, humanitarians and innovators to develop tech-based solutions addressing environmental issues and city specific challenges. It is your turn to hack the glass ceiling and stand together with youth across the country to find solutions! From April 26th and 27th, participants will work in teams to tackle a challenge that contributes to improving the country. During the hackathon, subject-matter experts will share knowledge, give feedback and help teams to overcome obstacles. At the end of the hackathon, teams will have an opportunity to present their ideas and prototypes to a panel of judges. Prizes will help support the most viable projects to move forward and launch into real projects. The Iraq Innovation Hackathon is sponsored by GIZ and Zain Telecoms, and organized by the Iraqi Technology and Entrepreneurship Alliance consisting of Re:Coded, Mosul Space, Science Camp, Five One Labs and The Station. AUIS's Entrepreneurship Initiative has also joined this exciting event as a partner.  The event is free of charge and meals will be provided! Challenges Challenge 1: Nationwide challenge for all cities: Reduce and reuse single-use plastic products and packaging. Challenge 2 (based on the city you are participating in): Basra: Help job seekers in Basra find local jobs in the oil and gas sector Baghdad: Improve traffic jams and congestion in Baghdad Erbil: Change the perception of Erbil internationally and encourage tourism to the city. Mosul: Raise awareness to improve the selection of university subjects among Middle School students. Sulaimaniya: Improve traffic in Sulaimaniya You can pick one challenge to work on. Schedule Hackathon Kick-Off & Workshops! Friday, April 26th, 8.15am - 11.30pm - Welcome breakfast & registration - Presentation of the challenges - Design Thinking workshop - Teams get together + ideas are formed - Teamwork workshop - Project development begins - Coaching sessions (with experts and mentors from different fields) Hacking & Final Day! Saturday, April 27th, 8am - 7pm - Project development continues - Presentations and team pitching - Coaching sessions (with experts and mentors from different fields) - Feedback from judges - Winners announced PRIZES! We hope the Iraq Innovation Hackathon will build collective goodwill, relationships and ideas that will carry on long after the hackathon ends. A judging panel of leading figures in the technology and business communities will decide on the winners. Prizes at the end of the hackathon will help support the most viable projects to move forward, including cash and $3000 worth of technology vouchers, access to co-working spaces and mentorship. One winner will be picked from each city and will be supported to turn their idea into an actual solution. REGISTRATION SIGN UP HERE: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfzeom_wFSpJMIu-ll9A2kIWOV-ousd1c3lLKu70z-f05ExtA/viewform Places are limited! Five One Labs will send out detailed instructions and an agenda to those that are chosen to participate. LOCATION: Baghdad: The Station, Villa 7, St. 38, Dist. 903 Al Karadah, Baghdad Erbil: Re:Coded House, 3rd floor, Nergiz Plaza, Gulan street (next to Saj Al Reef), Erbil Sulaimaniya: The Lab: Suli, Salim Street, Across the street from Faruq Group Holdings and above Roshen candy shop Basra: Al-Asmak Hall - Level 5, Basra International Hotel, Corniche St. Mosul: Almohandesen hall, Al-Faisalia district WHEN: 26th and 27th April 2019 ORGANIZER Iraq Technology and Entrepreneurship Alliance (Re:Coded, Mosul Space, Science Camp, Five One Labs, and The Station). SPONSORS GIZ Zain Telecoms Zain Iraq PARTNER Shabab Media

AUIS Students Participate in Startup Boot Camp

  Have you ever imagined running your own restaurant in the future? Have you ever thought about competing with different people from different regions? Well, I have and I used my imagination in a training with two AUIS friends recently. On July 28-29, we attended the Five One Labs Startup Bootcamp, a two-day, intensive training on the skills and mindsets of entrepreneurship in Erbil. During the training, participants worked on a business idea to take it from concept to pitch. We defined the challenge, interviewed ‘customers’ to learn more about their needs, identified our value proposition, and developed our business model. We built prototypes and pitched them in front of a panel of impressive judges. It was hard work but extremely rewarding, and fun. Alice Bosley, executive director of Five One Labs, says, “I was so impressed with the ideas and the talent of the participants at startup bootcamp. It was such a pleasure working with and learning alongside everyone, and we look forward to hosting more bootcamps in the future!" A startup bootcamp is basically about sharing and expanding business ideas. Our group of AUIS students was excited to participate and present our idea, which is to link customers, pharmaceuticals, and medicine stores together for an efficient online delivery system. We want to develop and apply this idea because we want to make things easier for people when they need particular medication quickly and efficiently. "Being an entrepreneur does not only mean to think differently; but, to build your dream from nothing into concrete plans, finding solutions to problems, creating business models, prototypes, pitch, and then learning ways to turn it to real business. Above all, we have learned that these cannot be done individually. Thus, we introduced the idea to different people there including, mentors, judges, volunteers, and the participants, and we have the opportunity to keep in touch with them to support each other and share new projects between us,” said Peru Hussein, an AUIS student and a member of our team. The challenging part of starting up our business idea was to find out what our customers really need. In the beginning, knowing customers and understanding them seemed easy until we participated in this training program. One of the mentors, for instance, helped us define the challenges we might face like setting out a plan for our revenue and marketing research if we ever failed in spreading out the business in the region. "Med4all.com is a great idea and can be useful for everyone in this field such as pharmacists, wholesellers and individuals, especially since people here are face problems with pharmacies and they need this kind of service in critical situations. I saw the interface which is clear, user friendly, and safe because no one can ask for critical medicatiom without a prescription to avoid illegal requests. My advice is to add more features such as maps, customer support live chat, and delivery time,” said Mr. David, a mentor from Bite Tech Company. “I always thought our idea was perfect and ready to start, yet I never thought sbout important small details we were introduced to during the Bootcamp. Within the very intensive two days, I was taught how to pitch in only three minutes in front of four judges and an audience of 50. I learned that it is not how profitable your business idea is, it is, instead, about how effective and challenging it is to bring a new system to the whole region of Kurdistan,” said Ali Kawa, an AUIS student and a member of our team. Our challenges were simple, yet they were too difficult to recognize without the help of our mentors. “I actually really liked it. I had yours in my “top 3” when we started debating projects. You three had great enthusiasm and seem to have a really good idea,” said Noah Woodiwiss, one of the judges. It was such a great and useful experience for us. We want to encourage AUIS students to be part of such events to share ideas and gain skills as future leaders and entrepreneurs to expand their business ideas. Written by Halbast Abdullah, AUIS student and communications volunteer Photos: Five One Labs
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