Iraq's first 'Tech-Entrepreneurship Academy' to launch in Erbil
By A.C Robinson / Rudwa
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – For the first program of its type in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, Re:Coded teamed up with the UK:MENA HUB to create a workshop in Erbil which will provide aspiring tech entrepreneurs with an opportunity to turn their ideas into viable technology-based startups and a chance to work with mentors from the United Kingdom.
"This is a program that specifically focuses on technology-based businesses," Zahra Shah, Re:Coded Iraq's Program Manager told Rudaw English on Thursday.
"We are focusing on these youth who have all of these ideas but just don't know where to start, how to turn the idea into a prototype, into a fully functioning business generating revenue," Shah said.
She added that the program will teach students how to use the Business Model Canvas, identify market gaps, and identify customers.
The Tech-Entrepreneurship Academy, a four-week training program beginning in early September, will be taught by experienced instructors who will travel to Erbil from the United Kingdom.
The program will be offered free to eligible candidates, those who have a strong command of the English language. Teams of 2-5 people are encouraged to apply with their tech-business ideas, although solo entrepreneurs will also be considered.
"We're encouraging applications from teams because we want to highlight the power of collaboration and foster teamwork," Shah said. "We also know that in the startup world, strong teams are often more successful."
She said the goal was to bring in 25 students but more may be accepted if there are strong candidates.
Shah also explained that participants who are accepted into the intensive program must believe in their idea and understand that they will be learning a lot of new information, and their ideas could change upon further research and training.
"They'll figure out that actually what they thought was going to be a best seller isn't really wanted by consumers or the local community," she said. "And that's fine, it's all about learning and adjusting and this is a core part of our training because if you're a technology-based startup, you have to be agile, you have to always change dependent on the needs of your customer."
While Re:Coded usually targets potential students between the ages of 17 and 30 years old in all of their programs, Shah said they "always make exceptions for anyone who shows remarkable ambition."