Iraq’s Biggest Entrepreneurship Competition Is Back: Ruwwad Al Iraq

Iraq’s Biggest Entrepreneurship Competition Is Back: Ruwwad Al Iraq

With every new day, we are inching towards a stronger competitive startup ecosystem in Iraq. The success of the Ruwwad ­Al Iraq 2018-2019 season demonstrated that the best is yet to come.

Over nine months, the Ruwwad Al Iraq platform attracted more than 3000 business ideas from across the country. The level of participation and engagement exceeded expectations, which has led to the 2020 season, launched on 1st December 2019.­

What is Ruwwad Al Iraq?

Ruwwad Al Iraq is a leading empowerment competition platform by INNOVEST Middle East that embraces young entrepreneurs across Iraq and helps them to start or scale up their business.

The competition invites participants to submit their innovative ideas or startup business plans in a bid for financial and capacity building prizes that will bring their dreams to life.

Highlights of last season’s competition can be found here.

Categories of Participation

Participants are welcome to apply under three categories of participation:

  1. Idea stage: Ideas that are yet to turn into a business.
  2. Scale-up stage:  Startups that have been launched and are operational (revenue has been generated).
  3. Socialpreneur stage: Ideas that generate revenue but address a social problem at the same time.

Capacity Building 

Training bootcamps and online courses are provided throughout the competition. Participants get the chance to learn new skills, which will help them organise their thoughts and progress the startup.   

The competition culminates in an awards ceremony in May 2020 at the Babylon Hotel in Baghdad in the presence of the organizers and founding partners. The three finalists in each category pitch their startups to a live judging panel and the winners are chosen. One of the winners you might remember from our previous article. Prizes include cash and in-kind support in the form of workshops, media and PR exposure, and mentorship.

2019 pRIZES

Why Should I Apply?

Opportunities that competitions like Ruwwad Al Iraq provide are not common in Iraq. Especially where different types of startups can receive such detailed support. 

Most young Iraqis have ideas but aren’t sure how to start or complain about a lack of funding. This competition is a great chance to push yourself and your idea out there. Not only would it give participants the chance to meet other like-minded people, but they will also meet investors and stakeholders who might adopt their ideas.

If you are someone who has launched a startup and need funding to scale, joining Ruwwad Al Iraq will give you nationwide exposure (which also means more customers!).  

Bottom line, you won’t lose out from joining the competition. You’ll be put in difficult situations where you have to pitch in front of judges, complete e-courses in a specific time frame, and think critically about your own business. This will only make you a better entrepreneur, whether you win or not. Do it and do it proudly. 

The deadline is the 29th of February 2020. If you’re interested in applying, click here.

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Zahra Shah

I've been working in startups and emerging markets for over 7 years, with a focus on growing tech ecosystems in conflict-affected areas. Having spent the last two years leading Re:Coded's operations in Iraq, and working with Gaza Sky Geeks before that, I want to utilise my experience to bring business and investment to the region. I truly believe that Iraq can provide valuable opportunities for businesses looking to launch or expand here, and i'm interested in supporting others who want to venture out to a country that people are traditionally skeptical to pursue. A big part of this is to change the current perceptions of Iraq through quality content by highlighting some of the everyday success stories that are overshadowed by other news.

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