Our Story

We launched the AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative [AEI] with an understanding of the close link between private sector growth and economic progress. Entrepreneurs in Iraq and its neighborhood struggle with challenges posed by limited infrastructure, mentorship, and capital. AEI aims to fill that gap by providing aspiring entrepreneurs with access to mentors, pitching events, learning resources, and seed funding.

We believe that our unique position at the nerve center of academic life grants entrepreneurs an unparalleled network of professors, researchers, and graduates with a broad range of experience in business development, information technology, and innovation. In fact, our interdisciplinary approach to entrepreneurship began with the research published through AUIS’s Institute of Regional and International Studies [IRIS].

In June 2017, IRIS convened over two dozen entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders, and government officials from across the Middle East to discuss challenges facing entrepreneurs and collaborate to build a sustainable private sector. The results of the meeting—along with months of independent research—were published in the IRIS report, “Obstacles and Opportunities for Entrepreneurship in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.”

Since then, we have continued working with private and public sector leaders to advance the political, economic, and social changes necessary to create a sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem in Iraq. As our programming matures and we work toward the launch of our public entrepreneurship lab [currently under development], we encourage aspiring business leaders, mentors, and sponsors from Iraq and beyond to join our emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem.