Seedstars World, the largest seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes, hosted its Iraq round this Friday, at The Station, where 8 selected startups were invited to present their companies in front of the local jury panel.

The local winners were chosen for their innovative sustainable solutions on their different fields. The 1st winner of the competition was IOT Kids,  an online platform teaching kids how to code using scratch and also direct courses in certain private schools. IOT Kids will go on to represent Iraq at Seedstars Regional Summit.

In second place went to Tabib Baghdad, an online booking platform that connects doctors with patients.

Third place was taken by Ur Transport, a revolutionary airboat eco friendly design which will serve as the major future infrastructure for rivers.

After a careful screening and training on Day 1, the Seedstars team shortlisted 8 of the best seed-stage startups in Iraq who pitched on August 2 for the opportunity to compete at the Seedstars Summit, that annually takes place in Switzerland. The list of the Jury members will included Ali Hili, Youth and Entrepreneurship at Zain Iraq, Bassem Abdel Hadi Hassan, Spokesperson for the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), Noor Alhandal, Chairman at Ashur International Bank, Khaled Alabadi, Project Manager at GE, Dhafer Hasan, Programme Analyst at UNDP and Anas Al-Chalabi, Business Development Manager at Social n’ Tech

A lot of partners have supported Seedstars at making this event happen. The Main Partners of the Event are Central Bank of Iraq continue to position themselves as great believers in the impact of entrepreneurship. The Local Partners of the event are The Station and Social N’ Tech . Further support is provided by Careem, one of the regions most successful startups, as Entrepreneurship Partners.

In order to provide local entrepreneurs with this opportunity and aiming to deliver the best possible event, Seedstars closely worked with Mohammad Salah, who is representing the initiative throughout the year. “As the Seedstars ambassadors in Baghdad, we’re more than proud to have hosted the competition in Iraq; This event was a massive networking and funding opportunity to the finalists. Bringing Seedstars to Iraq will open the door for other global incubators, accelerators and competitions by encouraging them to expand to Iraq. we are here to make a difference, to create opportunities and give exposure to the ecosystem” explains Mohamad Salah , Managing Director at Social N Tech.

Mira Charkawi, Community Events Manager at Seedstars also said:

“At Seedstars, we believe talent and good ideas are everywhere. We see ourselves as a platform connecting investors to the next generation of startup entrepreneurs in places where normally people wouldn’t think startup ecosystem have such traction, growth and buzz. We are very excited to have been in Baghdad, highlighting such a bustling entrepreneurship ecosystem and we are here to witness the reality”.

Continuing on its world MENA tour, Seedstars World’s next stop is in Cairo taking place at Seedstars Seedspace on the 21&22 of August. Seedstars World is looking for smart startups that solve regional issues and/or develop profitable products for the global market. Startups are invited to apply on the above mentioned websites.

(Source: Seedstars)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

Health, sport, nature: Key sites in Mosul reopen after damage by ISIL

Al Rabee Primary Healthcare Center, the Al Muthana Sport and Youth Center and the East Mosul Nursery Plantation were officially reopened today by the Government of Ninewa, following their rehabilitation by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“While a lot of work remains to be done in Mosul, the opening of these three projects shows the strength and resilience of the city – one that’s well on its way to recovery after experiencing immense hardship under ISIL’s control,” says UNDP’s Resident Representative in Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“Al Rabee is one of 24 healthcare centers and hospitals rehabilitated by UNDP in Mosul and provides critical healthcare services to communities across the city,” she says.

“The Al Muthana Sport and Youth Center is an opportunity to reengage our youth. Sport and organized youth actives go a long way in keeping young people feeling healthy, recognized and valued, so this facility is extremely important.

“And plants produced by the Nursery will not only beautify the city, but they also hold great symbolism – representing new life and restored hope for the people of Mosul.”

Rehabilitation of Al Rabee Primary Healthcare Center was funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and furniture for the Center was provided by a financial contribution from Poland. Rehabilitation of both the Sport Center and Nursery Plantation was supported by The Netherlands.

“The completion of these sites wouldn’t have been possible without the generous contribution of our donors. We’re extremely grateful to the UAE, Poland and The Netherlands for their continued support to stabilizing Iraq,” adds Ms Ali Ahmad.

Approximately 827 stabilization projects have been completed or are underway by UNDP in Mosul, including restoring water and electricity networks, rebuilding educational institutions and healthcare facilities, providing employment for locals to clear rubble from streets, and rehabilitating 15,000 houses.

About the projects

Al Muthana Sport and Youth Center is a public sporting facility and a hub for organized youth activities. At 6700m2, it includes multi-purpose courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis and handball. Under ISIL’s occupation it was used as the militant group’s primary training base.

East Mosul Nursery Plantation is the main source of plant supply to government departments. The area covers 56,000m2 and consists of greenhouses, net shades, open spaces and admin buildings. Prior to ISIL’s occupation, the nursey would produce 250,000-300,000 plants per year.

Al Rabee Primary Healthcare Center is one of the largest in West Mosul. Before ISIL’s occupation, the Center served some 500 patients per day in a catchment area of about 39,000 people. Today it receives about 100 patients per day, however this number is expected to increase as more people return home.

(Source: UNDP)

JICA (Japan) and UNDP Partnership Agreement to Accelerate the Projects for Socio-Economic Development in Iraq

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and UNDP announced a renewed agreement and commemorated the 10th anniversary for their partnership to accelerate the implementation of socio-economic infrastructure projects in Iraq to improve the economic recovery and living condition of Iraqi people in key sectors such as electricity, water and sanitation, oil, irrigation, transportation, industry, health and communication. The GoI welcomes the reinforced partnership between JICA and UNDP.

Since 2008, JICA has signed 31 loan agreements, total amount of which is JPY 830 billion (equivalent to USD 7.7 billion), with Iraqi Government for economic and social infrastructure projects and programs in Iraq to improve daily lives of Iraqi people. In order to ensure accountability, transparency and efficiency in project implementation, the Government of Iraq (GoI) and the Government of Japan/JICA jointly established a monitoring mechanism called Monitoring Committee (M/C) in 2008. UNDP has undertaken the supporting role to assist and advise the M/C based on the partnership agreement between JICA and UNDP.

Under this partnership, UNDP has been working alongside JICA and the Government of Iraq (GoI) on project monitoring and capacity development. UNDP identifies bottlenecks pertaining to project implementation, providing analyses and recommendations for action on cross-cutting issues to the M/C to accelerate project implementation.

The M/C is the longest continual committee in the GoI system as the 43rd M/C Meeting was held on 4th July 2019 in Baghdad with Iraqi ministries to update the progress and find the solutions for challenges that the projects face in order to accelerate the project implementation and deliver the public services to the Iraqi people.

The GoI, JICA and UNDP reconfirm all parties’ continual efforts to enhance this tripartite collaboration mechanism to expedite the improvement of national strategic infrastructures, which will contribute to better public services as well as to the private sector development for more and better job opportunities.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The Government of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a partnership agreement today for USD 9 million (NOK 75 million) to support stabilization and recovery efforts for Iraq post-ISIL.

Norway’s contribution will be channelled through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) which finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from ISIL.

This is Norway’s 10th contribution to FFS since 2015, bringing its total contributions to USD 45,000,000 (NOK 376,200,000). Norway is the 7th largest contributor of the 27 donors that fund the FFS.

Based on priorities identified by the Government of Iraq and local authorities, FFS helps quickly repair essential public infrastructure, boosts the capacity of local government, and provides short-term employment opportunities.

“Our biggest priority at the moment is to focus on areas that were the longest-held territories by ISIL and the last to be liberated,” says Resident Representative of UNDP, Zena Ali-Ahmad.

“These areas have experienced lower returns, and through UNDP and partners’ stabilization efforts we’re working hard to bring people back home. This generous contribution from Norway is critical in helping us achieve this important objective.”

“Our gratitude goes to the Government of Norway for all the support, and for reaffirming its commitment to not only stabilizing Iraq but securing long-term prosperity for its people,” adds Ms Ali-Ahmad.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence.

This is done through rehabilitating essential infrastructure and restoring basic services. To date, UNDP’s Funding Facility has implemented more than 2,500 projects in key critical areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa, with another 600 in the pipeline, pending additional funds.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The Government of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a partnership agreement today for USD 9 million (NOK 75 million) to support stabilization and recovery efforts for Iraq post-ISIL.

Norway’s contribution will be channelled through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) which finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from ISIL.

This is Norway’s 10th contribution to FFS since 2015, bringing its total contributions to USD 45,000,000 (NOK 376,200,000). Norway is the 7th largest contributor of the 27 donors that fund the FFS.

Based on priorities identified by the Government of Iraq and local authorities, FFS helps quickly repair essential public infrastructure, boosts the capacity of local government, and provides short-term employment opportunities.

“Our biggest priority at the moment is to focus on areas that were the longest-held territories by ISIL and the last to be liberated,” says Resident Representative of UNDP, Zena Ali-Ahmad.

“These areas have experienced lower returns, and through UNDP and partners’ stabilization efforts we’re working hard to bring people back home. This generous contribution from Norway is critical in helping us achieve this important objective.”

“Our gratitude goes to the Government of Norway for all the support, and for reaffirming its commitment to not only stabilizing Iraq but securing long-term prosperity for its people,” adds Ms Ali-Ahmad.

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence.

This is done through rehabilitating essential infrastructure and restoring basic services. To date, UNDP’s Funding Facility has implemented more than 2,500 projects in key critical areas of Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa, with another 600 in the pipeline, pending additional funds.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Success, growth, career, development signpost from 3D_Creation/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Success, growth, career, development signpost from 3D_Creation/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

Toyota Iraq, UNDP and Oxfam support technical training for sustainable livelihoods Celebrating the graduation of 16 IDP’s in automotive mastery

Toyota Iraq, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Oxfam celebrated the graduation of 16 young trainees from the Toyota Technical Development Program Training. This group is the 5th batch of internal displaced people (IDPs) who have successfully completed Toyota certified training.

Through an on-going partnership, Toyota Iraq has contributed to the people and society of Iraq by successfully training 53 young men and women in automotive mastery, customer service and skills and spare parts. This training batch was the biggest in size, as well as in duration – with training commencing on 17th of February and concluding on 30th of May.

The extensive 3 months of continuous training delivered not only technical knowledge but also introduced the ‘Toyota Way’ and our corporate shared values, followed by inclusive technical training and an on-the-job experience for one month at Toyota Authorized Dealers in Erbil, Cihan Motors and SAS Automotive.

The successful collaboration of program partners – UNDP, OXFAM, the Government of Japan and Toyota Iraq, ensured that the latest training cohort were all able to complete training and receive recognition at Tuesday’s graduation ceremony.

Mr. Sardar Al.Bebany, president, Toyota Iraq, said:

“This program is one of the ways we provide support to local society. Through this program I have witnessed that when IDP’s are given equal opportunity for employment, they are empowered to change and improve their lives. We had total of 10 individual IDP’s now working with Toyota Iraq, as well as many others now working with other automobile companies”.

 Vakhtang Svanidze, Deputy Country Director, UNDP Iraq, also commented on the power of livelihood recovery for building resilient communities:

“Enhancing livelihoods and employment opportunities is one of the key elements for self-reliance and early recovery of conflict effected communities. UNDP is grateful for the support of Toyota and Oxfam to provide technical training for young men and women IDPs originating from areas across Iraq – including Mosul, Anbar and Salah al-Din, improving their employability and enabling them to access the job market with invaluable experience.   This project would not be possible to implement without generous financial support by government of Japan “

Reinforcing a commitment to provide on-going support for to the young men and women of Iraq, and to invest in the leaders of tomorrow, Toyota and UNDP renewed their partnership in early 2019, marking three years of collaboration in training and committing to a further two.

Toyota’s commitment is reflective of their core principles and dedication to support the local communities in which they work, “By respecting the culture and practices of each country and region and engaging in business activities with close community ties, we are working to create an enriching society while promoting measures that support labor and education”.

Likewise, the Government of Japan shares this interest to develop and build resilience in nations around the world, “We consider the Human Resource Development utmost priority allocating more than $ 350,000,000 to support in a variety of development programs around the world,” commented Japan Consul in Erbil, Mr. Moriyasu.

The conclusion of the graduation ceremony, was marked by Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Shinsuke Fujimoto, who expressed on behalf of all Toyota Iraq, a proudness for the great achievement of each graduate and and well wishes for their success in the next step of their career.

This programme was launched on the 25th of October 2016 as a flagship joint project between UNDP and Toyota Iraq to give internally displaced young people opportunities to enter the automotive industry, with the partnership renewal as of 28th of January,2019.

(Source: UNDP)