The UK:MENA Hub and Re:Coded Partner on the First Entrepreneurial Bootcamp in Iraqi Kurdistan
The UK:MENA Hub and Re:Coded partnered to create the first entrepreneurial boot camp ever held in Iraqi Kurdistan. We brought 8 teams to Erbil for an intensive programme of customer and product development, with technologies ranging from delivery services, coding education, logistics, real estate and the first job platform in Kurdistan.
Emerging from nearly fifteen years of conflict, Iraq has an expanding tech community of coders and technologists ready to take on the challenges and opportunities they face every day. Our teams were all motivated to solve a problem they themselves face every day. For example, Azhar Almadi, the founder of Shiffer, a logistics company, spent five weeks and over $200 (US) just to get the two government signatures he needed to get his newborn daughter a passport.
Thinking “there must be a better way” Azhar created Shiffer, an app and online community that connects Syrians and the Syrian diaspora with shipping needs to travellers who can provide the logistics. Tracked by a smartphone app, Shiffer has a 100% successful delivery rate during its beta run.
The cohort also included:
Supernova, a Bagdhad based Code School, creating Arabic-language content to prepare the next generation of Iraqi coders for success.
Ekaratay, an online real estate platform connecting home sellers with buyers, a first of its kind in the Levant.
Luminous Spring, company that makes custom orthopaedic shoes In Iraq.
Dekakena, a shopping delivery service in Mosul. Dekakena will deliver to anyone, anywhere in the city that is still emerging from conflict.
Girfen Bazaar, a unique app helping shoppers find items in Souks and Bazaars around the Arab world.
Erbil Delivery, a grocery delivery service serving Erbil with their own warehouses.
Opportunity, Iraq’s first job board, connecting university graduates to jobs and volunteer opportunities, and providing a platform for skills development.
The cohort was excellent, thanks to Re:Coded’s selection process and reputation as a tech hub for Iraqi Kurdistan. Two things particularly stood about them:
First, they were market focused. Each team was working on a problem that they had themselves and had at least some data to suggest that enough other people shared the problem so as to make their business viable.
Second, they all knew what they didn’t know, and were willing to execute the kinds of market tests a startup needs to validate a market.
Our month with the Irbil cohort was outstanding, and as we approach demo day, we feel incredibly positive about their futures. The group just doesn’t want to code; they want to solve problems with code and that’s always a great place to start.
UK:MENA Hub, a London-based entrepreneurship incubator helping MENA-based technology companies grow and scale through bespoke programmes, mentoring, and connections.