The Iraq Hackathon brought together tech entrepreneurs across Iraq in an online event that took place from the 6th to the 8th of November. After 450 applications, 65 business ideas were chosen and evaluated for their validity in the Iraqi market.
After a weekend of mentorship and building a prototype and pitch deck, 10 teams were chosen to pitch their ideas to three judges. Each team consisted of three team members and were given seven minutes to pitch their business.
“Hackathons are a new concept in Iraq, so explaining the hackathon was a challenge. Having the hackathon online made this even harder and confusing for the public to understand. However, we persevered and were able to attract over 450 applications”.Dawar Fuad, Co-Founder and CTO at Plus The Edge
41% of participants were female and two of the winning teams were led by women. The participants joined from across the country, including Sulaimaniyah, Baghdad, Halabja and Mosul.
The three winning teams were as follows:
Basra-based team Weana won first place for their solution to local transportation issues. Team leader Wiam wanted to build an app that allows people nearby to meet and carpool when going to the same or a nearby destination.
Not only will this save the environment by reducing the number of taxis, it would help riders save money and drivers get more regular customers.
The estimated Budget of Weana is $33,500 and this fund will be provided by IOM with a monitoring plan.
2. Track Students
Team leader Zena is building a school software so that students can access their grades and download their lessons and labs. The software also gives access to parents to keep track of their children’s grades. The Mosul-based team has an estimated Budget of $24,000, and the fund will be provided by IOM with a monitoring plan.
The VLAB team is based in Baghdad and wanted to use virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to deliver better learning experiences. Due to the pandemic, students have struggled with not being able to attend their practical classes. Team leader Ahmed wanted to solve this problem by offering practical training with VR and AR technology so that students don’t miss out.
The estimated Budget of VLAB is $8,500, and the fund will be provided by IOM with a monitoring plan.
Hackathons provide participants with an opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills and network with like-minded people. The Iraq Hackathon has given birth to three new businesses with full financial support. The goal is that they will go to market and provide job opportunities for youth in Iraq. It will be interesting to see how these ideas will develop further in the future.