Five One Labs is pleased to announce IGNITE, our very first entrepreneurship program focusing on achieving product market fit.

This program will help you better understand the market you are competing in and how you can create the most value for your customers.

We are now recruiting tech-entrepreneurs from communities all around Iraq to participate in this month long program.

If you are passionate about a tech-focused startup idea and want to learn the skills to turn it into a business, this program is right for you!

Apply by May 21 at 11:59pm to be considered.

More details here.

(Source: 51 Labs)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held Iraq’s first International Tech Conference in Baghdad at the Babylon Rotana Baghdad Hotel on 30 April, hosting government ministers, private industry, entrepreneurs, investors, and representatives from the leading UK and Iraq Tech companies.

The purpose of the Conference was to drive confidence, investment and awareness of the power of the new tech economy and how it can benefit Iraq.

The event – Iraq Tech Conference – was led by Ashley Goodall, IBBC’s Marketing Adviser. Keynote addresses were given by H.E. Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission and Mr Ashraf Al Dahan, Chairman of the CMC Board of Commissioners.

The agenda for the day comprised four panels: Consumer Tech panel, E-Government Panel, Business Fintech and a Consumer Fintech Panel.

Fintech in particular is making strides forward with the blessing of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), as Mr Waleed Eidi, Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank, explained and encouraged the adoption of steps to include Women, those excluded from banking and the digital economy and young people.

The CBI is being ambitious in encouraging banks and financial institutions to modernise and offer new ways to distribute the flow of funds for investment and those who need it. This will also have a big impact on the overall economy and growth.

Ahmed Elkady of EY echoed the importance of Fintech as he led the Consumer FinTech Panel discussion onto technical infrastructure and what needs to happen to grow the opportunity for financial transactions. He was ably supported by National Bank of Iraq’s Eyad Mahmoud and Roger Abboud of Arab Payment Systems – who are modernising banking transactions – and Douglas Way of Almaseer Insurance – who are enabling business to reduce risks and transact insurance products rapidly and scalably.

The conference also embodied eight presentations:

  • “How technology is driving the business and consumer world in Iraq and Internationally” by Zain Iraq;
  • Online Literacy” by Dr Victoria Lindsay, Country Director – Iraq for the British Council;
  • Automating & digitising BP and Iraq” by Zaid Elyaseri, Country Manager-Iraq for BP;
  • Restrata Product Announcement” by Botan Osman, CEO for Restrata;
  • “Five One Labs” by Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs;
  • Blockchain and AI – The Future Talk” by Muhana Almrahleh, Director – Head of Information Technology Advisory for KPMG (Jordan); and,
  • How Re:Coded are Training the Next Generation of Technology Leaders in Iraq” by Zahra Shah, Country Manager-Iraq for Re:Coded.

Attendees were able to enjoy one-to-one meetings and conversations.

As part of the Tech Conference on April 30, IBBC hosted an Evening Reception for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups at The Station, Baghdad, the evening prior on 29 April. The evening, planned in partnership with Iraq Tech Ventures and Arabnet, showcased the growing tech community in the country and gave an outstanding platform for some of the leading start-ups and entrepreneurs in a more informal setting.

The participating start-ups pitched their business in 5 minutes to a panel of seven judges composed by: Mohammed Khudairi, Managing Partner of Khudairi Group and Founder of Iraq Tech Ventures; Hal Miran, CEO of MSelect and Founder of Bite.Tech and TechHub; Richard Greer, Venture Capital Investor in Asia, Middle East, & UK and Philanthropist in Northern Iraq; Zahra Shah, Iraq Country Manager for Re:Coded; Ali Ismail, Co-Founder of Fikraspace and Co-Founder & Partner of Solo Creative Studio; Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs and Maryam Allami, Advisor for Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Through this first international Tech Conference in Iraq, IBBC aims to provide a foundation, a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit our website at https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

To contact IBBC for Interviews, registration and sponsorship please contact london@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

More than 100 guests gathered at the Babylon Hotel in Baghdad on Tuesday to attend Iraq’s first Tech Conference.

Hosted by the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) and chaired by Ashley Goodall, the event brought together the leading companies involved in the technology sector in Iraq to discuss how the power of the tech economy can benefit the country.

Among the many speakers and contributors during the day, Mohammed Khudairi of Iraq Tech Ventures emphasised the need to create the right environment for innovative companies, adding:

“We want to create a cluster of inovation as they’ve done in San Francisco, as they’ve done in London, and in many other places around the world; Iraq has the skillset, the talent and the motivation to make this happen, and has a great path ahead of it over the coming years.”

Patricia Letayf of Five One Labs discussed the changes they’re working to bring about in Iraq:

“When you hear the word “Iraq” we want you to think of start-ups and innovation … we want Iraq to be a focal point and a competitive business environment.”

According to Mohammed al Hakim, of Careem Iraq:

“There is no lack of human capital in Iraq — there is a lack of investment in human capital in Iraq.”

The event, along with the Start-Up Championship the previous evening, forged connections between people from various disciplines and locations, and will doubtless be a starting point for many of tomorrow’s success stories.

 

Applications are now open for the Five One Labs Incubator in Sulaimani.

The Startup Incubator is a three-month, full-time program for entrepreneurs looking to work intensively to launch their businesses.

The program will run from mid-September through mid-December and will end with a Demo Day in December.

More information here.

(Source: Five One Labs)

Startup Bootcamp, an entrepreneurship training to promote development of innovative business ideas among young innovators, entrepreneurs and software developers from displaced, refugee and host communities, took place on 4-5 May in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The event was supported by IOM Iraq, and organized by Five One Labs, a start-up incubator based in Iraq that assists displaced and conflict affected entrepreneurs develop their businesses.

More than 30 entrepreneurs from across Iraq and Syria received training in business plan development and coaching from mentors; they also had the opportunity to pitch ideas to panels of judges.

The training included: entrepreneurial mindset development, customer interview techniques, ideation, business model canvassing, prototyping and pitch development. Mentors and judges included local business leaders, innovation experts, development agency staff, academics, staff from the United States Consulate in Erbil and IOM staff.

In the weeks leading up to the training, participants were chosen through a rigorous selection process based on a proposed business idea, understanding of entrepreneurship and English proficiency.

Ideas included: e-commerce platforms for groceries, books, and other products; virtual reality rehabilitation games for people with disabilities; an education platform to teach soft skills and another to teach the Kurdish language; a dental marketplace; HR management systems; and a Syrian shipping business using an Uber-like business model to send documents with travellers.

The winner was determined in a lightning round face-off between the first-place winner from the individual competition – the creator of a weight loss game – against the first-place winners from the team competition. The winning team, Darwan Soap production, is developing and marketing a soap made of natural ingredients using traditional soap-making techniques. Team members include two junior physicians, a medical student and a business manager.

“During the Startup Bootcamp we studied our customer segment and built our business model. We are excited to develop this natural soap made from the seeds of a tree that grows in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” said Shehin Jihad, who initiated the idea. “We are using our medical knowledge to analyse potential ingredients that are helpful for people with sensitive skin and skin conditions,” she added.

First-place winners receive: membership in the TechHub co-working space in Erbil for one month, continued business mentoring from international business experts and entrepreneurs, modest funding to cover business expenses (USD 150), and an opportunity to apply for a USD 1,000 business grant to launch their ventures.

This Startup Bootcamp is part of the ‘Entrepreneurship for All’ project, which is managed by Five One Labs in cooperation with various community partners and sponsored by IOM, with funding from the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

Entrepreneurship for All is a two-month long series of on-line and in-person business and leadership trainings across northern Iraq. Training sessions include: identifying market gaps and customer needs; creative business idea development; market and customer research; and marketing. Participants include Syrian refugees, displaced Iraqis and host community members; more than 200 people will participate. Training is provided in Arabic, Kurdish and English.

The project aims to build cohesion between entrepreneurs who have been internally displaced and the local community through entrepreneurial ventures that contribute to the local economy. In addition to the series of trainings for aspiring entrepreneurs, ten existing start-up companies launched by displaced and conflict-affected entrepreneurs will be offered advisory, legal and financial support to scale-up.

Entrepreneurship for All is implemented in the framework of the IOM 3RP programme supported by PRM. The overall aim of this programme is to provide Syrian refugees, IDPs and vulnerable host communities with access to education and employment opportunities.

For more information please contact: Sandra Black in IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int Alice Bosley at Five One Labs: Email: alice@fiveonelabs.org

(Source: IOM)