Research and Blogs

Community Spotlight: Shapol Majid, Founder of Khanem Fashion

Shapol Majid is the Founder of Khanem Fashion in Sulaimani. We talked to Shapol about her efforts to support female entrepreneurship and empowerment, the challenges of franchising a business in Iraq, and how her experience abroad influenced her goals and work ethic when she decided to start her business in her hometown of Sulaimani.

AEI : Could you briefly describe your business and what inspired you to start it here in Sulaimani?

SM : I have long committed myself to the empowerment of women. I have chosen to do this in a rather...

Community Spotlight: Faten Alweli, Founder of Escape the Room Baghdad

Faten Alweli is the co-founder of Baghdad’s first “Escape the Room,” an interactive puzzle game in which participants follow clues to complete an adventure. We talked to Faten about her inspiration to build an escape room in Baghdad, concerns about starting her own business, and ways her various professional endeavors complement her life as an entrepreneur.

AEI : What gave you the idea to start the first Escape the Room in Baghdad?


A Parallel Iraq – A thriving entrepreneurial culture has taken root

Originally published in by Ahmed Tabaqchali and Emily Burlinghaus in October 2018.

Most of the coverage and analysis of Iraq post-2003—by international, regional, and local journalists and analysts—has focused on the dysfunctional state and warring political elites whose failures to provide basic services to an already alienated population has come in sharp focus during the recent Basra demonstrations. However, despite the vital nature of this coverage, it has missed a new entrepreneurial Iraq—represented by its youth—that has emerged and flourished in the...

Alumni Spotlight: Shkar Qaradaghi, Founder of Monster Muscle Protein Shop

Shkar Qaradaghi, an alum of the AUIS Mechanical Engineering Department, is the founder of Monster Muscle Protein Shop in Sulaimani. We interviewed Shkar about the passion that helped him start his business, the challenges of health inspections and registration for businesses dealing with imported products, and successful marketing strategies.

AEI : Can you briefly describe the passion that led you to start a business specifically related to health and nutrition?

SQ : I started going to the gym the year I started my studies at AUIS back in 2012. At that time, fitness wasn't...

Community Spotlight: Hal Miran, Founder and CEO of MSELECT; Editor-in-Chief of Bite.Tech

Hal Miran is the founder and CEO of MSELECT and editor-in-chief of Bite.Tech, a news source that covers the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iraq. We talked to Hal about the HR challenges of starting and running a business, the importance of tech journalism, and the key players promoting entrepreneurship in Iraq. AEI : Could you please briefly describe your background and path toward your current career? HM : At university, I studied computer science, which I really enjoyed, but back then, computing and information technology (IT) was not as cool as it is now, so I finished computer science and I...

Alumni Spotlight: Rawaz Barznji, Managing Director of Satchel & Pouch Business Consulting Firm and Founder of Suli Capital

Rawaz Barznji, a 2015 alum of the MBA program at AUIS, is the founder of Satchel & Pouch Business Consulting Firm, whose headquarters is based in Sulaimani but operates internationally. We interviewed Rawaz about developing a client base, working “smart,” and competing in the market of Iraq-based business consulting.

AEI : What gave you the idea for starting Satchel & Pouch? And how did you decide on the name Satchel & Pouch?...