Startup Weekend Slemani

    Thursday, August 14 - 16, 2014

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

Thursday, August 14 - 16, 2014

Thursday, August 14 - 16, 2014
Event starts at 5:00 pm

The American University of Iraq-Sulaimani,
Slemani-Kirkuk Road, Raparin
As Sulaymaniyah, Iraq 46001

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Startup Weekend Slemani #3

Startup Weekend Slemani is a 3 day event where the idea is to promote entrepreneurship and motivate the youth to create new startups and companies. We have coaches who guide the teams, speakers who encourage them, and judges who will select the top three to be rewarded. It has been very successful for the last 2 years as we have had a high number of participants and companies sponsoring it. 

Join us as we help change the mindset of our participants from "Get a Job, to Create a Job!"

See what it's all about

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Thursday August 14th

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

6:00 pm
Welcome Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:00 pm
Dinner and Networking

8:00 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 August 15th

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 August 16th

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

Omar Tareq
Public affairs & Communication Manager in Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Iraq

Mr. Mashhadani earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Univ. of Technology in Baghdand 2003, and got drawn into the Iraqi Media sector shortly thereafter; he had a considerable experience in media, and He holds the position of the Media Department Manager at the Iraqi Speaker's office. His involvement in media includes being the spokesperson of the Iraqi parliament speaker, newsroom manager and as a Media advisor, also being hosted in several satellite channels as a political analyst, and civil society activist. He have been chosen for the Leaders for Democracy fellowship in Syracuse University, and he did his affiliation as a public Policy scholar in the Woodrow Wilson center - Washington DC. For the last two years, He's holding the position of Public affairs & communication Manager in Coca-Cola Bottling company in Iraq. He Based now in Baghdad with his wife & three kids (Two boys & a girl)

Dr. Hemin Shekh Omer Latif
Vice President for University Advancement, The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS)

Dr. Latif holds a BSc. in Civil Engineering, a BSc. in Computing and Statistics, a Graduate Diploma in Computing and Informatics, and a PhD in Robotics and Interactive Systems from the Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in the United Kingdom (UK). He has worked as an IT specialist in the United Nations World Health Organization (UN WHO), mobile product engineer in Huawei Technologies Ltd., and a research assistant at the Center for Innovation and Technology Exploitation (CITE) in the UK. He has submitted and presented a number of scientific articles in journals and conferences around the world. He has mentored and led a number of student teams to participate in different competitions including the winning team in the local competition of the Microsoft ImagineCup 2012. He has served on the judging panel of he first Startup Weekend Sulaimani. He is currently the Vice President for University Advancement and an Assistant Professor of Information Technology (IT) at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS).

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. 

Bassem Atef A.Saleh
Head of Marketing at Zain - Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Accomplished senior manager; proven success leading, designing and delivering cross-country initiatives to increase customer value while translating strategic market and own customer base opportunities into tangible plans. Recognized for a unique mix of commercial and strategic marketing experience, coupled with the ability to analyze and delineate customer perspectives to facilitate decision-making during 14 years’ progression within some of the world’s largest telecommunications companies.

Coaches and Mentors

Naz Sida
Co-Founder and Artistic Director/ Vinci

Naz studied Interior Architecture in London at London College of Communication (LCC) - University of the Arts London which is considered Europe's largest university for art, design, fashion, communication and the performing arts and one of the top in the world. Upon returning to Kurdistan-Iraq. She founded Green Valley Design, a company aimed to create and implement unique and fresh designs and introduce new concepts to the local market in Kurdistan. She's always on a lookout for innovative business opportunities in an exciting rich region of Sulaymaniyah-Iraq and she's very enthusiastic to have the opportunities to be one of the pioneers in establishing successful companies within Iraq and the Middle East" In 2013 she co-founded Vinci, a new and innovative interior architectural design company that brings new and exciting concepts and materials to the design scene in Kurdistan and Iraq. She endeavors not only to create new design concepts but to challenge existing design norms locally and recently developed a joint venture with GMS studio, one of the top Italian Architectural companies in Milan - Italy which won the project of the year in Erbil - Iraq to design Ministry of education's building.

Ali Sofi
Co-Founder and Project Manager/ Vinci

Ali moved to live and study in Parma - Italy where he attended the Scrollavezza & Zanre College of Art in Parma and specialised in handicraft art and instrument materials. In 2003, he formed a local co-op in Parma that specialised in the distribution of organic food; working with local farmers to increase the awareness of the environmental effect of food production and help the local businesses and small markets to establish themselves against the big food chains and supermarkets. Upon his return to Kurdistan he worked as an organic food trader in the local market and also exported high quality Italian food to Kurdistan. Ali's first business opportunity came as a founder and director of LP Gas company which is the first company that started implementing residential and commercial heating and cooling systems in Kurdistan. Ali's passion was always art and design and focusing on bringing high quality building and interior design materials to Kurdistan-Iraq so In 2013 he decided to join forces with Naz Sida to form Vinci, an interior architecture and design company that creates and implements unique and fresh designs in Kurdistan and Iraq.

Matt Willingham
Communication Director/ PLC

Matt Willingham is the communication director for Preemptive Love Coalition, an international development organization working across Iraq to eradicate the backlog of children waiting in line for lifesaving heart surgeries. With a degree in communication and nearly a decade spent living cross-culturally, Matt uses visual storytelling and the written word to connect hearts and minds to children in need. Outside a normal workday, Matt is likely working on photography and film projects, on the hunt for spicy food, or spending time with his wife of five years and their rowdy one year-old.

Dilshad Abubakir
Regional Development Assistant Specialist at USAID/Iraq

Upon receiving a prestigious Fulbright grant in 2007, Dilshad successfully completed a Master’s in public communication from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York in May 2009. From September 2009 through April 2012, Dilshad served as public relations officer with the KRG Department of IT. As of May 2012, Dilshad has been working with the USAID/Iraq in Erbil as a Regional Development Assistance Specialist.

Yadgar Q. Ahmed
Supply Chain and Marketing Manager at Bahar Group

Mr. Yadgar has 8 years of experience in market analysis in marketing, supply chain, sales and business development. Having real ground experience of Iraqi market needs and coming opportunities to the marketplace. He has done establishment of Business prototypes in the fields of Education, FMCG, Industries. He is one of the Key Members of Bahar Group establishment in terms of Profile, Org Chart, brining in expats. He has been working as a key Business development manager for international brands like Ahmad Tea, MacCoffee, Ahmad Rice, Ontex products in Iraqi market. he has also participated in Business forums, congresses, fairs, meetings and negotiations overseas (China, UAE, India, Germany, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, UK, Singapore). He has got BA in English Language and Literature at Selmani University and High Diploma in Human Rights and Conflict Management at Buskurd University in Norway. He also has got MBA, International Management and Leadership (American - Furtwangen University, Iraq - Germany ) 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Slemani 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.

Lead Sponsor


Organizing Team

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

  • Amed
  • Banu
    Ibrahim Ali
  • Mahmood
  • Agri
  • Bawar
    A. Muhamad


Amed Omar
Lead Organizer & Facilitator

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