Five One Labs, a start-up incubator for entrepreneurs based in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), has announced the grant recipients of its Growth Funding Project (GFP).
The program aims to support early- and later-stage startups that were impacted by COVID-19 with seed funding grants to grow their businesses, as well as business advisory from Five One Labs' Startup Support team through the fall.
FIve One Labs received over 1,300 applications for the inaugural round of the Growth Funding Project. From this competitive set, 11 startups were selected to receive a total of $150,000 in grant funding provided by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). Of the 11 companies, five are led by women entrepreneurs.
"The startup landscape in Iraq is ripe with opportunity, as evident through the over one thousand applicants for the Growth Fund," said Shwan Qaradaghi, Head of Expansion at Five One Labs. "We are excited to support these 11 startups who have remained resilient in the face of the challenges presented by COVID-19, and through their success we hope to continue to grow the evolving ecosystem of startups across the region."
Winners were selected by a panel of Five One Labs entrepreneurship experts based on the following criteria: value proposition, traction, growth plans, financial management, team.
"Narrowing down this incredibly strong group of applications to the 11 winners was an incredibly challenging process," explained Qaradaghi, who was on the judging panel. "We were impressed not only by the range of startups from new ideas to quickly growing, established businesses, but also by the variety of sectors and businesses included in the applications - from technology startups to furniture companies."
Startups like Erbil-based green building consulting company KESK will leverage this capital to propel their growth and overcome barriers imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Basima Abdulrahman, KESK's founder said: "COVID-19 was a mass extinction event for startups that are already facing fundamental challenges in Iraq...The unexpected arrival of the pandemic has resulted in a major slump in consumer demand. Lack of funding is one of the key reasons why startups fail. Five One Labs' GFP funding will help us achieve key milestones to acquire customers and drive sales and revenues."
A full list of the grant recipients includes:
- KESK (Erbil)
- IoT KIDS (Baghdad)
- Lala Candles (Erbil)
- 3D PRINT IRAQ (Basra)
- Techgigz (Baghdad)
- ShopAsar (Sulaimani)
- Bareo Adventure (Sulaimani)
- Bedayat Platform (Erbil)
- Ihgiz Tabbebak (Mosul)
- Seven Professions (Baghdad)
- Nakhsh (Sulaimani)
(Source: Five One Labs)
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