The HITEX tech event was held from 27th to 30th June 2022 at Erbil’s international Fairground. The event is a meeting point between tech companies, non-profit organisations and the general public. Here’s our experience of the event!
The organisers of HITEX have expressed that their goal was to make Erbil the centre for technology in the region. Although an ambitious goal, it isn’t impossible and requires herculean efforts to bring this vision to reality. Let’s examine the progress HITEX 2022 brought in this regard.
The most notable thing that we observed during the event is the heavy support that the Kurdistan Regional Government offered. From the presence of different governmental bodies to the participation of the Prime Minister and several cabinet members stating their support for such an event.
Another thing to mention is the participation of companies from more than 30 countries that gave the event the international exposure it needed. Having both local and international support in this manner brings the event closer to its goals.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)
The KRG has stated its intention to support the tech sector and digitise its governmental processes. This is mainly done through the Department of Information Technology (DIT) which is taking the lead in creating systems and digital solutions. In light of this move, the DIT is in close cooperation with HITEX to connect with local and international tech companies and add cutting-edge technologies to its portfolio.
In a press release, the KRG stated that the DIT is exhibiting multiple systems that serve the public sector at HITEX 2022. This openness to technology and tech companies is a positive trend toward the digitalisation of the Kurdish Region of Iraq and can lead to further advancement in the tech sector in the country.
There were over 175 exhibitors under the following key categories:
Product/Service Launches: Tens of thousands of tech enthusiasts visit HITEX every year. The event has become the best place to launch new products and introduce them to the tech community in Iraq. This year, according to the data provided by the organisers, there were 35 companies launching new products (15 companies on stage and 20 companies launching their products in their respective booths).
Branding: this category includes companies that participated in HITEX in order to achieve brand recognition and connect their brand and its associated services to the tech community. Some of the big sponsors can fall in this category as their participation was mainly promoting their existing and wide known services.
Business development and Partnerships: this category is what companies traditionally expect by participating in such events – closing deals and partnerships that gives them a better footing in their industry and increase their profitability. HITEX is a good opportunity for growing your business as the exhibitors are open to partnerships and establishing links with other companies.
Startups seeking investment: over 50 startups participated with the aim of acquiring funding and expanding their operations. HITEX Future Stars and the Invest My Idea Platform from Rwanga provided financial support to three startups that were voted for by a committee of entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Universities: universities displayed their technological prowess and accepted applications to study at their institutions. This year, nine public and private universities participated in the exhibition.
This year more than 53,000 individuals participated in HITEX 2022, making the event a centre for tech enthusiasts and experts and ensuring that the exhibition lives up to its reputation as one of the biggest tech events in the country. The exhibitors and organisers made sure that there was no shortage of activities and that participants enjoyed themselves, from a gaming zone and competitions to draws and prizes.
Despite all the positive points mentioned above, we can’t expect everything to go as planned. Here are some areas we think can be improved:
- The timing of the event coincided with the national examinations. This resulted in internet outages for short periods of time every morning and more importantly, prevented a large number of young tech enthusiasts from attending the event. This eliminated an important segment of the population that tech companies target.
- The presence of many non-tech-related companies distorted the image of the event as a purely tech-related exhibition.
- A visible lack of startup investors at the exhibition was a huge negative. Although Iraq is not on the hotlist for investors, a delegation should have been organised to at least provide them with insight and exposure to the developing tech sector in Iraq.
Nonetheless, HITEX 2022 remains an event that we recommend you to visit and experience, especially if you are involved in the tech and startup sector in Iraq and want to meet other like-minded people.