Seedstars World, arguably the largest startup competition in the world, came to Iraq for the first-ever time earlier this week. The local chapter of the global mega-event was held in Baghdad on Aug 1 and 2 and it saw some of the country’s most promising seed-stage startups competing against one other to make it to the Seedstars Summit, the global version of the competition.
The startups to have qualified for the Seedstars Summit will be representing Iraq in the future rounds of the competition. They stand a chance to win rewards of up to $500,000 in equity investments and other amazing perks.
A dynamic training program for entrepreneurs was held on the first day of Seedstars World Baghdad. The program covered an array of topics including the key aspects that determine investment readiness, the art of pitching, as well as tailored mentorship sessions by eminent experts such as Ali Ismail, Co-founder & Curator at Fikraspace Solo Creative Studio, Montather Rassoul, Consultant, Council of the European Union and Ammar Rafid, Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility Senior Officer at Zain Iraq.
Based on their performance on the training on Day-1, a panel of judged shortlisted 10 of the best participating startups who then made their pitches on Aug 2 in a bid to win the top prize.
The Jury consisted of Ali Hili, Youth and Entrepreneurship at Zain Iraq, Bassem Abdel Hadi Hassan, Spokesperson for the Central Bank, Noor Alhandal, Chairman at Ashur International Bank, Khaled Alabadi, Project Manager at GE, Dhafer Hasan, Programme Analyst at UNDP and Anas Al-Chalabi, Business Development Manager at Social n’ Tech.
Commenting on the positive vibe the Seedstars team received during their stint in Iraq, Mira Charkawi, Community Events Manager at Seedstars, stated: “At Seedstars, we believe talent and good ideas are everywhere. We see ourselves as a platform connecting investors to the next generation of startup entrepreneurs in places where normally people wouldn’t think startup ecosystem have such traction, growth and buzz. We are very excited to be in Baghdad, highlighting such a bustling entrepreneurship ecosystem and we are here to witness the reality.”