Startup Weekend Erbil

    Thursday, November 20 - 22, 2014

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Erbil

Thursday, November 20 - 22, 2014

Thursday, November 20 - 22, 2014
Event starts at 5:00 pm

Faris Bawa
Aweza Club and Restaurant on the 60M road, opposite of Ministry of Trade and Abou Afeef sweets.
Arbil, Iraq

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Startup Weekend Erbil

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Thursday November 20th

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Friday November 21st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday November 22nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Rebaz Zedbagi
Chairman of Zednas Holding

He is an entrepreneurial businessman, Chairman of Zednas Holding (ZH) (an exclusive Erbil based investment firm which owns, helps and develops other businesses in diversified sectors). He started his first own business in 2000 when he was 16 years old. He is mostly active in infrastructure construction, energy, information technology and education sectors. He holds MBA from Université Picardie Jules Vernes, France.

Farhang Hamzah
Managing Director of Middle East (OM Technologies)

A software architect designer, and a solution provider for Education, Banking and Oil industries with a 14 years of working experience. Currently working as of the managing director and business developer in the Middle East for OM Technologies (a well known technology firm based in Malaysia, and India). Mr. Farhang is also a lecturer at the Salahaddin University of Hawler (Faculty of Software Engineering, Engineering Department), and marketing co-ordinator and business developer for Korek Group Holdings. He holds a Master degree of Real Time Software Engineering (Center For Advance Software Engineering (CASE) from the University of Technology in Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur).

Talan Aouny
CEO at Erbil Manpower

Talan Aouny, Founder and CEO of Erbil Manpower Company, is a passionate businesswoman, wife, and mother with a deep desire to collaborate with and support people. Her strong sense of business and leadership skills were the key factors to achieve great milestones since she established her first of its kind business in Iraq and Kurdistan Region within only few years.

Talan’s previous experience spans multiple venues including the United Nations, USAID programs, Civil Society Organizations, and the Diplomatic arena where she held different senior positions and has trained hundreds of people in Civil Society Development and helped raising awareness of many Iraqis in this regard.
Talan is an inspirational speaker who has participated in many events and encouraged people to take action and make a difference in their lives. She believes that everyone is granted different opportunities in life and it is their decision to ignore them or turn them to a life experience like she did.  
Talan is a proud member of several organizations' boards such as AKFA (America-Kurdistan Friendship Association). Furthermore, she is an Alumni of 2006 summer fellowship program at Stanford University - California. 

Talar Mumtaz
Founder and CEO of WWB

Currently, she is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of WWB Consultancy firm in the beloved city of Sulaymaniyah. She is a Kurdish Spanish executive of Iraqi descent, with a strong background in building and growing management systems from the ground up, for multi-national companies in different economic sectors in Europe & Iraq such as Multinational Fresh Dairy Industry (Danone), Multinational construction industry  (Lafarge),  Local NGO social collaboration (SOZ), Multinational fast food industry (Yum Restaurants), Decoration & furniture sector (Culture Versailles, S.L.) and Construction sector (Un limited Concept, S.L.).

Ms. Talar pursued two degrees from the Fundesem Business School in Spain; a master’s degree in Business and Human Resource Administration and a diploma in Advanced Communications abilities, strategic coaching, executive coaching, people management, and marketing. Prior to her work experience in the private sector, Ms. Talar was appointed as the Central Office Manager at an International NGO, Medico in Iraq. She is also a member of coaching club at Fundesem Business School in Spain and Soz Fund Humanitarian Organization in Kurdistan/ DL.

Coaches and Mentors

Chalak Salar
Founder of Chalak's Place

Chalak Salar is originally from Kirkuk. He spent 21 years in London before moving to Slemani to found his restaurant in 2012. He worked in restaurants before establishing his own cafe in London's Finsbury Park neighborhood. Then, in 2003, he sold the cafe to become an independent interior designer. Chalak's years as a London designer are on display at his restaurant in Slemani.

Shko Nawroly
Founder of Skyscraper

Shko has recently pursued his masters in Business and Management at the university of Kurdistan-Hawler (UKH), he is also the Assistant to the General Manager of Turkey-Kurdistan Region relations at the Department of Foreign Relations. Shko revealed his entrepreneurial skills when he decided to open his agency in Erbil for tourism and traveling called Skyscraper.

Miran Awat
CEO at Rasan Company

Miran is a young entrepreneur and CEO of Rasan Company for providing medical devices and specializing in food industry and trading in Kurdistan. He's participated in international leadership programs to enhance youths' ability in leadership skills. Recently, he brought a Lebanese fast-food franchise to Kurdistan and he's opened two branches in Sulaimani and Erbil.

Halo Azad
Co-founder of Indigo

Hallo Azad is the co-founder of Indigo; an advertising and marketing company based in Slemani. Established in 2012, the co-founders of Indigo were able to initiate their company's mark on Kurdish markets representing renowned international and local companies. Hallo Azad has big aspirations for the company, and at the moment Indigo is the largest outdoor agency in Slemani.

Mohammed Al-Samarrai
Co-Founder & COO of Easy Bites

Originally from Baghdad - based in Erbil, Mohammed have finished his Ph.D in the UK in Computer Science in 2011, ever since, he have worked as a lecturer in Cihan University - Erbil, worked as a consultant for GIZ (German Development Cooperation) and initiated an internet startup “EasyBites”. Currently part of a big expanding startup in Iraq "Yalla!”, he work in the social media department. However, his main  focus is on his own venture “Moenovo” through which he provides consultancies for some local NGOs and Iraqi startups.

Dawan Sulaimani
Computer Science Instructor at UKH - Founder & iOS Developer of Kurdcode

An enthusiastic University lecturer and application developer who has always had a keen interest in new technologies and computing world.

Rejna Alaaldin
Advocate at Kurdistan Legal Services

Rejna founded Kurdistan Legal Services, a law firm based in Erbil. She advises the oil and gas sector and multinational companies looking to establish themselves in the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq. She has big hopes for the future of Kurdistan and is keen on promoting investment in the region. Rejna also started an initiative called “Women in Power”, which supports and encourages women into employment, business and leadership. Rejna holds a Masters from University College London (UCL) in International Commercial/Business Law.

Zhala Sabir
Director of Marketing - Foras-USAID

Zhala Sabir is one of the leading experts on workforce development in the Kurdistan Region.  She is currently the Director of Marketing for the Foras-USAID program, which has the largest jobs portal in Iraq with over 1,500 employers and 60,000 job seekers.  Prior to moving to Erbil, Zhala briefly set up her own consultancy company in London providing ad-hoc project management and consultancy to international companies looking to enter or expand into emerging markets.  Zhala has over 7 years' experience working as a diplomat for both the Federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government.  Zhala is dedicated to promoting local private businesses and helping the region’s burgeoning workforce to become strong.

Miran Dizayee
Consultant to the Ministry of Natural Resources - Kurdistan Region

Miran Dizayee is a consultant to the Ministry of Natural Resources, KRG.  His journey started back when he was 17 where he was the first Kurdish Iraqi student to win a scholarship to study in the Czech Republic after the collapse of Czechoslovakia.  Miran completed both his Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Systems Engineering and Informatics, specialising in Information Management.  His friends and colleagues nicknamed him “Sales guru”.  He acquired his name from his experience as a sales coach where he provided sales training and motivational speeches around Europe for over 5 years.  Miran then started consulting for some of the World’s Fortune 500 companies.  Since moving back to the Kurdistan Region, he joined one of the fastest developing industries, primarily as a managing director for an oil service company followed by his recent role in the Ministry.  Miran is currently in charge of building the Oil and Gas National Data Center as well as implementing the Ministry’s localization plan.  Some of the companies that Miran has worked for include Samsung, Marcus Evans, DHL, Gesco and the Ministry of Natural Resources, KRG.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Erbil team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.



Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Erbil is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Gulan
  • Tebeen
  • Sana


Ali Hilli
Lead Organizer @ SWAmman

Is the a serial entrepreneur, from a member in TAG EPDForum, to founding Hilark for Tech Solutions, , to leading the german government vocational/business development project in Jordan, to becoming the entrepreneurship consultant for Zain Iraq. his wide range of expertise expands from the IT realm to the Business Realm. In addition to that he’s leading the StartupWeekend Chapter in Amman - Jordan. He holds university degrees in both Software Engineering and Business Administration as well as being a certified designer from Adobe.

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