Hosting Iraq in the month of April, the first hackathon at the level of the country, and the goal is to combine entrepreneurs and aspiring, and solve some of the pressing issues faced by the country through innovation, after years of civil war and armed conflict for long.
The event was organized by the Iraqi Alliance for technology and entrepreneurship (ITEA), a collaborative effort among the 700 activists from the cities of Erbil; to Baghdad; and Basra, and Sulaymaniyah; and the.
And diversified projects between development solutions for plastic recycling, the creation of assistant for bicycles to university students to combat congestion, the development of space plans, three-dimensional Castle of Erbil.
These projects are part of the ecosystem booming technology that aims to bring about meaningful change and lasting peace in the region.
The scene changing technology
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Waiting for co-working spaces, such as (TechHub); and (The Station) in all parts of Iraq, as established (Re:Coded), a non-profit organization aimed at training young people affected by conflict to enter the digital economy as a developer of software and a technical centre in Arbil.
Later, Mohammed here, one of the founders (TechHub), in the last year of the company (ITV) to facilitate the establishment of a mechanism for international investors to invest in startups Iraq.
And Hal Mirren, who co-founded the first area of joint work in Erbil: we are building an ecosystem of technology in Iraq, we have established (TechHub) for entrepreneurs Iraqis budding momentum they need to build, launch and grow their startups by providing workspace, energetic and cooperative.
Aim (TechHub) to be the only center for all the needs of emerging companies by providing office facilities, mentoring, access to business contact, companies.
In addition to being a center for emerging companies, he has said Mirren: if (TechHub) is used to conduct training programs designed to teach displaced persons the skills they may need to communicate their ideas, but Mirren admits that (TechHub) is not the best possible environment for startups.
And the station (The Station) as the first shared workspace in Baghdad for innovation, which was founded in early 2018 by the field and engineers upholstered and is home to approximately 15 startup companies.
The revolution of mobile
Spread the technology rapidly in Iraq after 2003, and you can nearly half the country’s population access to the internet, in almost 87 out of every 100 people a subscription to mobile cellular.
Formed to increase the spread of the internet and mobile phones a lifeline for many startups that began operations over the past two years.
In case you want to order things via the internet, the first website for e-mail in Iraq to (Miswag) allows you to do, if you want dinner in the restaurants near there (Brsima) and (Talabatey).
As there are service shipping groceries to your home in Erbil (Erbil Delivery), and service (Shiffer) for the shipment of goods out of the country, and tux by request (Obr).
In case you are looking for jobs after graduation, there’s a chance (Opportunity), and if you need books and tools within 24 hours of the final and largest site for e-learning in the shops (theDakakenna) is the appropriate place.
Youssef al-Naimi, who launched the shops in August 2018: I always wanted to build something successful in Iraq, and the service is currently out of the connector.
Used shops the current situation of the city of Mosul in order to create a model of e-commerce successful to some extent, it offers all the suppliers currently in Mosul, allowing the company to handle the operations of same-day delivery.
He explained Al-Naimi that safety is still a concern in some areas, making people more accepting of these services, it is easier to purchase via the internet, but Al-Naimi believes that logistics is still a big problem.
But that’s not all, there are other challenges such as persuading the customer support via the internet, where you think most of the services today almost entirely on the cash in daily transactions, the reason for this lack of public confidence in the banking system.
According to a report in 2017 on the Central Bank of Iraq, 93 percent of adult Iraqis have a bank account.
And Dan morning, the founder of grocery delivery service in Erbil (Erbil Delivery) in the month of July: Iraq community cash to a large extent, and there is no trust for the bank, so the concept of software as a service (SaaS) does not exist, and there are subscription models.
He added that the experience is great, but there are difficulties, as we can’t go to certain areas, and allowed studies of their delivery to some places, which drives us to serve customers through car, there is the problem of payments portable.
But morning overcame the problem of payments by card (Balancy), which works like a voucher to recharge your mobile phone that adds to the balance of the customer, allowing them to pay for items using the card instead of cash.
In stuck player just mobile, like Zen; Asia the torrent, the problem separately through (Zain Cash) and (Asia Hawala) as an alternative to traditional banking.
Quagmire of bureaucracy
The central bank announced in 2015 initiative led by the trillion dinars ($840 million) to finance small and medium enterprises at subsidized interest rates as a means for unemployed youth and create jobs in the private sector, but restrictions on the repayment of loans made it difficult for emerging companies.
And morning: there are no real places to seek investment, and there is enough of a metronome, we need more organizations like (Re:Coded), we need more mentors who can guide us in the right way.
The organization (Re:Coded) key role in the hosting date innovation in Iraq, which is the first event at the national level in Iraq for programming.
Organized this event in collaboration with the spaces of collective action in the region, however (Five One Labs) – incubator of startups that help refugees and entrepreneurs affected by conflict to launch and grow their business in the Middle East.
The winners received amounts of money up to $ 3 thousand, in addition to access for further guidance in order to develop their idea into a real solution.
And started (Re:Coded) to work in Iraq as a means to improve the ecosystem technology in the country and build talents among the youth so that they can solve local problems using technology, and prepare for jobs of the future, but the corporate environment emerging in Iraq may be difficult.
The entrepreneurs of the difficulty of the process of registration of companies emerging in the country, forcing some of them to establish their company in Dubai instead of Iraq.
Technology as an enabler transformational
Need Iraq to shift the culture to encourage the spirit of initiative, they are providing capital in the countries with a culture of burgeoning startups through the ecosystem-investors, venture capital companies, private equity funds, but such mechanisms require the application of laws and regulations and new policies.
In case there was a political motive enough, and the overhaul of existing laws, will constitute a big factor in encouraging people to entrepreneurship.
Includes (R3) one of the integrated solutions that have appeared in the action of Iraq, which is an integrated solution for plastic recycling connects citizens with recycling through independent drivers, as the system encourages members to recycle through rewards such as balance Zen cash or cream.
While the service platform ride cream (Careem), which was acquired by Uber (Uber) earlier this year, international investment only.
Launched the company, which is Dubai-based and its services in Iraq in early 2018, and is now working in Baghdad; Najaf; and Erbil.
And morning: make Cream great service, so much so that they drove out the local players, and if we are to compete, we need to be local players are strong, and
Require a better understanding of the market and demographics.
And Iraq to improve the infrastructure, as is the interruption of electricity is a major problem, such as internet outages, threatening the economic development and social stability are fragile in the war-torn country.
Says Al-Naimi: we haven’t had any sales for a whole week because of the lack of fixed connection to the internet, we want to provide a reliable service, and we believe many customers rely on, but when these interruptions, they make us wonder whether we should close the store and try something else.
Continued gracious service interruptions across the internet by allowing people to call a phone number and make reservations via WhatsApp.
In spite of all what happened in Iraq, but it seems that the country is finally ready for the shock of conflict, and towards the revival of entrepreneurship which provided a chance for young people to create new works and exciting.
These experiences get just the beginning of a promising in Iraq, although the road is still long, but in the case of providing the momentum, can these dream experiences to be transformational impact on people’s lives.