More than a decade of instability has passed and yet many parts of Iraq still lie uninhabitable. ISIL, also known as ISIS, continue to occupy towns in the western region of Anbar, and have a stronghold in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. However, this has not discontinued entrepreneurship and startup growth in the country, in fact it has almost encouraged it.
Five One Labs is a startup incubator that helps refugees and conflict-affected entrepreneurs launch and develop their businesses in the Middle East. Their mission is to empower individuals to rebuild their livelihoods and help contribute to the economic growth of their communities. The startup offers training, mentorship and a shared community to enable these entrepreneurs to positively change their countries.
Co-founder Alice Bosley states, “Entrepreneurship is a critical tool that can that can help address the challenges of displacement. What entrepreneurs need more than anything is support, resources, and role models to take their ideas and help them grow into real businesses. Five One Labs is excited to help them turn these dreams into a reality.”
The refugee crisis amounting from the fighting has undoubtedly prompted the founding of Five One Labs, and the launch of their first program. Already, the startup incubator has helped some of the 250,000 Syrian refugees and over 1 million Iraqi refugees in the area.
The event in October will allow young, motivated individuals in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to help turn their idea into a reality. Over the course of the 3 months, they will be joined by like-minded entrepreneurs in training programs led by US and Middle Eastern mentors. Through legal, marketing and business support, Five One Labs, goal is for these early startups to gain their first customers or investors by the end of the incubator program. Overall, bringing some peace and establishment to this otherwise unstable region.
To learn more about the innovative refugee entrepreneurs or apply to their upcoming program visit fiveonelabs.org/apply/.