Tag Archive | "Mredy"

Iraqi Entrepreneurs & Novelty: Coming of Age


By T. Keyzom Ngodup, co-founder at Ideas sYnergy.  Ideas sYnergy is Iraq’s first multiple bottom line advisory company committed to inclusive economic and social development through market-based solutions that help build and scale youth-driven innovative ideas for social change.

The youth (ages 18 – 34) constitute over 50% of Iraq’s 32 million population, with over 35% unemployed and underemployed.  Through our experiences and network across Iraq, we have come across excellent youth entrepreneurs who have brilliant ideas but lack seed capital and other operational support critical to their success. Unless people and organizations come together to build supportive ecosystems and mitigate challenges to entrepreneurship in Iraq, the envisaged role of locally driven private sector’s contribution to economic diversification and employment generation will remain underrealized.

A quick round-up of the thus-far successful and daring ideas we have seen led by Iraqis, mostly young entreprenuers.

1. Qi Card, is an Iraqi national credit card developed by International Smart Card, with equity contribution by Rafidain Bank and Rasheed Bank, currently distributing pensions and some government salaries directly into bank accounts. State of the art technology of biometric verification and de-duplication engine used with the Qi card solution is saving the government millions of dollars by identifying potential fraud in government pension and grant distribution. Recently, Qi card initiated a pilot with the General Directorate of Traffic and Rasheed Bank to charge traffic violators directly through withdrawal of fines from their bank accounts, although unless other banks sign-up for such a service and large proportion of Iraqis open bank accounts, the service will be short of success. Qi card has approximately two million users with parallel aim to expand into retail stores through a network of points of sales of about 30,000 units by 2015. www.qicard.com

2. Mredy is one of the most popular commercial websites in Iraq, with 5,503 unique visitors per day. The website founder, a young man, who has no relation to the real/physical Mredy Market (the original Mredy Market is located in the heart of Al Sadr City in Baghdad and is historically known to excel in forging all types of official and unofficial documents) except for the name of his website, says that “thousands of Iraqis, inside and outside Iraq, use the website on a daily basis to buy and sell products or just visit the website”. Buyers can post their advertisement for free. It is example of an evolving internet based transactions in Iraq, although its revenue potential is limited due to lack of online payment platform (An Iraqi man recently told us that although millions of Iraqis want to donate USD 2 or 10 or more to worthwhile causes such as for Palestinian refugees, or for Iraqi widows in Anbar for example, but lack of credit cards and access to online payment systems inhibit their duty to support the less fortunate). www.mredy.com

3. Iraqi Touch, a traditional Iraqi restaurant whose management team promises an extraordinary and unique casual food experience, and is expanding to multiple governorates in the country and other Middle Eastern cities. Their vision is to introduce and market homemade Iraqi food to the world. This is indeed the start of a new revolution in outward franchising for Iraq. www.iraqtouch.com

4. Edicoo recently became a member of Icom, a worldwide network of independent advertising agencies, operating out of Kurdistan Region, is founded by a 34 year old Iraqi man from Mosul. According to him, Iraq is growing in importance because they are a country that is beginning to spend money for goods and services. According to Gary Burandt, executive director of Icom, the business climate in Erbil reminded him of Moscow in the late ’80s when he was opening the first advertising agency for Young & Rubicam in Moscow. Today’s technology means that development of a free consumer marketplace will go much faster now, and that is precisely why Edicoo has been so successful since inception in 2007. www.edicoo.com

 

By T. Keyzom Ngodup, co-founder at Ideas sYnergy.  Ideas sYnergy is Iraq’s first multiple bottom line advisory company committed to inclusive economic and social development through market-based solutions that help build and scale youth-driven innovative ideas for social change.

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