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Iraqi startup incubator launches free ‘Entrepreneurship for All’ training and bootcamp

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Today Iraqi startup incubator for refugees and conflict-affected entrepreneurs, Five One Labs, launches its free “Entrepreneurship For All” training program and startup bootcamp.

“Entrepreneurship for All” is a series of trainings and events in Kurdish, Arabic and English for anyone who is interested in innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and making an impact in their community.

The Iraqi startup incubator training program will consist of three modules: in-person workshops, online training, and a startup bootcamp.

“We invite everyone to attend our in-person and online trainings and all events are free! No past experience with entrepreneurship is necessary,” the Five One Labs website reads.

Five One Labs entrepreneurs are provided with training and mentorship by world class entrepreneurs from the USA and the Middle East; and a community of creative changemakers to share their experiences with.

The in-person workshops will take place in the cities of Erbil and Sulaimani to make high-quality entrepreneurship training more accessible to diverse communities across the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and it will support newly-launched startups in reaching their full potential.

The workshops will cover:

  • Thinking of creative business ideas
  • Improving practical business skills
  • Customer research
  • Improving leadership skills

The same topics will also be covered in online classes for those who cannot attend the workshops in person.

The Startup Bootcamp portion of “Entrepreneurship For All” is aimed at young innovators and takes place over the weekend of May 4-5 in Erbil.

The Startup Bootcamp will be in English and will take participants through a shortened version of the steps they need to learn to start their businesses, including building prototypes and presenting and pitching business ideas.

Applications for the Startup Bootcamp may be filled out here and the deadline to apply is April 24.

Another initiative sponsored in part by the Iraqi startup incubator is taking place this weekend.

On April 7, the Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship Summit in Sulaimani will bring together inspiring female leaders and innovators to explore opportunities for women in technology and entrepreneurship in Iraq.

This event, which is free to attend, is sponsored by by the American University of Iraq – Sulaimani, Google Developer Group and Zain Iraq, and is organised by Five One Labs and Re:Coded.

Key topics the panel will discuss include the digital gender gap, opportunities and challenges in the tech and startup sectors in Iraq and the importance of role models to inspire more women to enter the world of technology and entrepreneurship.

Registration is mandatory, and the free tickets are available here.

According to the World Bank, more than two billion people live in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict, and violence.

Many of these countries are considered “untapped” when it comes to investments, business developments, and market opportunities.

Iraqi startup incubator
Marwan Jabbar

According to Entrepreneur contributor Marwan Jabbar, who is the Director of Baghdad’s only grocery delivery startup, Mishwar, “Iraq is today considered a frontier market – and even an untapped market – when it comes to investing in tech startups. Iraq has one of the most youthful populations in the world, with the UN noting that about 60% of its 2015 estimate of 37 million people are under the age of 25.”

Additionally, “Internet penetration in Baghdad is at a record level, with data plans being more and more affordable, and smartphone penetration at almost 90% within the 17-40 age group,” according to Jabbar.

With 37 million Iraqis under the age of 25, programs like “Entrepreneurship For All” are especially aimed at empowering young innovators.

Startups that have participated in Five One Labs incubator programs include:

TechTeens: which is a coding school that provides teenagers with a safe place to learn new creative coding skills while under the supervision of specialized trainers.

Software You Need: which creates and designs software solutions to improve business efficiency in Iraq.

The Development and Peace Analysis Center: which seeks to understand the nature of conflict and peace and the underlying factors that contribute to the emergence of violence among the various ethnic, religious and cultural groups and identify mechanisms that ameliorate such conflict.

Almadrasa: which is an educational technology company that enables students to access education remotely through an online platform. This platform provides high quality and affordable educational courses based on the Iraqi curriculum from the Iraqi Ministry of Education.

Five One Labs’ mission is to develop an inclusive network of innovators and entrepreneurs that have the support, skills, and connections to positively change their communities and countries.

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is a veteran journalist whose passions include writing about how technology impacts society and Artificial Intelligence. He prefers writing in-depth, interesting features that people actually want to read. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa, and Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co