إستمارات التقديم مفتوحة الأن لبرنامج "أطلق العنان" في أربيل

!إستمارات التقديم مفتوحة الأن لبرنامج "أطلق العنان" في أربيل

 يسرنا أن نعلن عن بدء استقبال طلبات التقديم على برنامجنا "أطلق العنان" باللغة العربية للمرة الأولى! والذي سوف يقام في أربيل لمدة شهر كامل لرواد الأعمال الناشئين الذين لديهم فكرة مشروع ويريدون اتخاذ الخطوات الأولى نحو جعله حقيقة واقعية. سيساعدك هذا البرنامج على فهم السوق الذي تتنافس فيه بشكل أفضل وكيف يمكنك إنشاء أكبر قيمة لعملائك من خلال منتجك أو خدمتك.

 نعمل الآن على تسجيل رواد الأعمال للمشاركة في هذا البرنامج الذي يستمر لمدة شهر واحد. إذا كنت شغوفًا بفكرة مشروع ناشىء وترغب في تعلم المهارات اللازمة لتحويلها إلى مشروع، فهذا البرنامج مناسب لك!

قدم طلبك قبل 17 آب 2019  للنظر في قبولك في برنامج أطلق العنان

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ماذا ستحصل من الانضمام إلى برنامج "أطلق العنان" ؟

هدفنا هو إنشاء شبكة شاملة من المبتكرين الذين لديهم الدعم  والمهارات والعلاقات اللازمة لتغيير مجتمعاتهم ودولهم بشكل إيجابي. في برنامج "أطلق العنان" يتم تزويد رواد الأعمال بمجموعة متنوعة من أشكال الدعم ، بما في ذلك:

التدريب العملي لمساعدتك على تعلم أساسيات التفكير الابتكاري وفهم احتياجات العملاء وتطوير خطة عملك -

جلسات استشارية فردية مع خبراء أعمال مهنيين -

الوصول إلى مجتمع من رواد الأعمال الذين يشاركونك التفكير بتصميم المشاريع وحل المشاكل في مجتمعاتهم -

الوصول إلى شبكة من العلاقات ضمن مجتمع رجال الأعمال في أربيل، وخبراء تقنيين وقانونيين الذين سيقدمون لك المشورة خلال نمو مشروعك -

عند إتمام البرنامج، ستحظى بفرصة الانضمام إلى المرحلة التالية من برنامجنا وهي "حاضنة الأعمال للمشاريع الناشئة" والذي سيستمر على مدى ثلاثة شهور - (في خريف عام 2019 

ما المعايير التي يجب تَوفُرِها في المتقدمين؟

 على جميع المتقدمين أن يستوفوا المتطلبات التالية التي يتعين النظر فيها للانضمام إلى البرنامج:

القدرة على القراءة والكتابة والتحدث باللغة العربية -

الرغبة والاستعداد للمشاركة في الجلسات التدريبية والعمل على فكرة مشروعهم خلال البرنامج لمدة شهر كامل. -

التواجد في مدينة أربيل طيلة فترة البرنامج -

أن يكون لديهم فكرة جديدة لمشروع مبتكر قابل للنمو -

ماذا بعد إتمام برنامج أطلق العنان؟

يمكن لرواد الأعمال الذين أكملوا برنامج أطلق العنان التقديم للانضمام إلى حاضنة المشاريع الناشئة.

 حاضنة Five One Labs للمشاريع الناشئة عبارة عن برنامج مدته ثلاثة أشهر سيقام ضمن المختبر أربيل. سيحظى المشاركون خلال الحاضنة بتدريب مكثف بنهج عملي حول كيفية إنشاء وتطوير منتجهم وإطلاق مشاريعهم. كما سيتلقى المشاركون التدريب والتوجيه والمشورة من قبل رواد وقادة أعمال من مختلف أنحاء العالم . بالإضافة إلى التفاعل مع مجتمع من رواد الأعمال للاستفادة من تجاربهم.

بعد إتمام برنامج حاضنة المشاريع، سيحصل المشاركون على فرصة التنافس على مبلغ مالي لتمويل إطلاق مشاريعهم قد يصل إلى $15,000.

ختاماً، نحنُ نُرحب بالمرشحين من شتى مكونات المجتمع، بما في ذلك السكان المحليين واللاجئين والنازحين ضمن العراق. إذا لم تكن متأكداً من استِفائِكَ لمتطلبات القبول أو في حال رغبتك في معرفة المزيد من التفاصيل حول البرنامج، يرجى مراسلتنا على البريد الالكتروني التالي:

applications@fiveonelabs.org

أو بإمكانك مراسلتنا عبر صفحتنا الخاصة على الفيس بوك

يُسرُنا الحصول على طلب تقدمك والانضمام إلى مجتمع Five One Labs.

Meet the Founder: Znara Ahmed

The final member of our Female Founders Fellowship to be featured on our blog is Syrian artist Znara Ahmed, the founder of Sêv Gallery, an art gallery and center for art education. Learn more on Sêv Gallery’s Facebook page!

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Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?

My name is Znara Ahmed. I graduated from an art institute in Syria with a major in ceramics. I like all art, especially, of course, ceramics, but also painting, photography and art management.

In the past, I worked as part of the faculty at the Art Institute in Damascus. I have also participated in six  art shows between Erbil and Sulaimani, including one in partnership with Five One Labs. I have also worked as an executive manager at Kurdistan Little Village, a children’s learning center, where I supervised an art program.

My work in photography has included being a trainer in Terre des Hommes Italia, an NGO, and Goethe institute Germany. I have also worked with Save the Children. I also implemented a children’s TV program with ZaraTV, focused on claywork.‏ Last year I was part of the jury at the Rwanga Foundation.

‏Currently I work with freelance organizations as a ceramic and photography trainer, and I am currently working on opening my own gallery, called Sêv Gallery.

Can you tell us about your business? What inspired you to start it?

‏When I came to Erbil, I had a problem finding a place where I would enjoy my hobbies and my development. Additionally I observed the following:

  • There are very few cultural spaces in Erbil.

  • There are no galleries and only limited places for adults and children to learn creative arts, practice their hobbies, or appreciate art.

  • People seek out activities for their children, signing them up for summer school or sports activities. However, there are very few cultural activities for children.

  • Young adults do not have places to go after work to practice their hobbies and enjoy their time.

What are some of the challenges your business has faced and how have you addressed them?

My main challenges include obtaining legal support and funding. I hope that the more I work on my business, the more people I will meet who are interested in my business and in potentially funding it.

What is your proudest moment/biggest achievement when it comes to your business?

The place, the vision of people they love and come as customers, the success of work and the most important team successful, because I believe the idea of the team .

Can you tell us about your experience starting your business in Kurdistan?

It was a difficult experience because I came from Syria, so there were more challenges. I worked in teaching and administration, and then I moved to work with organizations as a trainer for ceramics and photography. I have clients and I have many paintings. I have also worked on the issue of logo and social  media for my business. I have some challenges in terms of licensing and financing. I am trying to solve them constantly. I try what benefited from the existing experiences around me.

How have you supported other women in your community?

I have trained many women in photography and ceramics to take a career in the future. Recently I have actively participated in the International Women's Day and I was invited three other women to participate. I have faith in the idea of women supporting other women.

What advice do you have for someone trying to start their own project/business?

For anyone who is planning to start their own business or project, they must first identify the following: the plan, the location, the target and beneficiaries. They must also evaluate and research similar projects and identify any weak point so they can overcome these in their own work. Do lots of research to identify the cost of starting a new project. Be sure to market and advertise your product. Finally, pay attention to the importance of leadership and be prepared to be flexible when managing staff.

Why did you join the Five One Labs Female Founders Fellowship?

I joined the program to gain experience from the trainers and the other women in the program, and to expand my network of relationships with people interested in this project. I wanted to understand how to solve the problems I face in my work and find solutions to them. Additionally, I wanted to meet with people who care about the implementation of this idea and receive their support.







إستمارات التقديم مفتوحة الأن لبرنامج أطلق العنان" في أربيل

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يسرنا أن نعلن عن بدء استقبال طلبات التقديم على برنامجنا "أطلق العنان" باللغة العربية وللمرة الأولى! والذي سوف يقام في أربيل لمدة شهر كامل و بدوام كامل لرواد الأعمال الذين لديهم فكرة مشروع ويريدون اتخاذ الخطوات الأولى نحو جعله حقيقة واقعية. سيساعدك هذا البرنامج على فهم السوق الذي تتنافس فيه بشكل أفضل وكيف يمكنك إنشاء أكبر قيمة لعملائك من خلال منتجك أو خدمتك.

نعمل الآن على تسجيل رواد الأعمال للمشاركة في هذا البرنامج الذي يستمر لمدة شهر واحد. إذا كنت شغوفًا بفكرة مشروع ناشىء وترغب في تعلم المهارات اللازمة لتحويلها إلى مشروع ، فهذا البرنامج مناسب لك!

قدم طلبك قبل 20 حزيران 2019  للنظر في قبولك في برنامج شهر تموز

ماذا تحصل من الانضمام إلى برنامج "أطلق العنان" ؟

هدفنا هو إنشاء شبكة شاملة من المبتكرين الذين لديهم الدعم  والمهارات والعلاقات اللازمة لتغيير مجتمعاتهم ودولهم بشكل إيجابي. في برنامج "أطلق العنان" يتم تزويد رواد الأعمال بمجموعة متنوعة من أشكال الدعم ، بما في ذلك:

لتدريب العملي لمساعدتك على تعلم أساسيات التفكير الابتكاري وفهم احتياجات العملاء وتطوير نموذج عملك -

جلسات استشارية فردية مع خبراء أعمال مهنيين -

مجتمع الوصول إلى مجتمع من رواد الأعمال الذين يشاركونك التفكير بتصميم المشاريع وحل المشاكل في مجتمعاتهم -

فرصة الانضمام إلى المرحلة الأهم من برنامجنا وهي "حاضنة الأعمال للمشاريع الناشئة" والذي سيستمر على مدى ثلاثة شهو -

$ انضمامك لحاضنة الأعمال يتيح لك فرصة التنافس على مبلغ مالي لتمويل إطلاق مشروعك قد يصل إلى 15,000 -

الوصول إلى شبكة من العلاقات ضمن مجتمع رجال الأعمال في أربيل، ومستثمرين محتملين، وخبراء تقنيين الذين سيقدمون لك المشورة خلال نمو مشروعك -

ما المعايير التي يجب تَوفُرِها في المتقدمين؟

على جميع المتقدمين أن يستوفوا المتطلبات التالية التي يتعين النظر فيها للانضمام إلى البرنامج:

القدرة على القراءة والكتابة والتحدث باللغة العربية -

الرغبة والاستعداد للعمل على فكرة مشروعهم بقوت كامل ( من 9 صباحاً وحتى 5 مساءً من الأحد وحتى الخميس من كل أسبوع) كما لو كان عملهم الخاص -

التواجد في مدينة أربيل طيلة فترة البرنامج -

أن يكون لديهم فكرة جديدة لمشروع مبتكر قابل للنمو -

ختاماً، نحنُ نُرحب بالمرشحين من شتى مكونات المجتمع، بما في ذلك السكان المحليين واللاجئين والنازحين ضمن العراق. إذا لم تكن متأكداً من استِفائِكَ لمتطلبات القبول، يرجى مراسلتنا على البريد الالكتروني التالي:

applications@fiveonelabs.org

أو بإمكانك مراسلتنا عبر صفحتنا الخاصة على الفيس بوك.

مواعيد البرنامج:

سيتم إجراء ثلاثة برامج منفصلة من "أطلق العنان" في صيف وخريف هذا العام:

 

البرنامج الأول: 30 حزيران - 25 تموز -

البرنامج الثاني: 18 آب - 12 أيلول -

البرنامج الثالث: 25 آب - 19 أيلول -

يرجى ملاحظة أنه وعلى الرغم من كون برنامج "أطلق العنان" برنامج قائم بحدِ ذاته، إلا أنَّ إتمامهُ بشكلٍ كامل يعتبر متطلب أساسي للتقدم بطلب انضمام إلى برنامج "حاضنة الأعمال" الذي سيجري في شهر تشرين الأول 2019، ويتيح لك أيضاً فرصة التنافس للحصول على مبلغ مالي لتمويل إطلاق مشروعك قد يصل إلى 15,000$.

ستُعقد البرامج ضمن مكتب Five One Labs في أربيل حيثُ سيحصل المشاركين على تدريب مكثف على الخطوات الأولى اللازمة لإطلاق مشاريعهم.

يُسرُنا الحصول على طلب تقدمك!

Meet the Founder: Randi Barznji

Next up in our Meet the Founder series is Randi Barzinji, an entrepreneur who is making a big impact in the e-commerce world in the Kurdistan Region. Read about her journey and her business, shopyobrand, below!

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Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?

My name is Randi, I am an AUI-S business & MBA graduate originally from the city of Koya. Right now, I am also pursuing my Doctorate at Paris School of Business. This is my last year of research, and I can tell you it has been one eye-opening journey. I love the business world clearly, and I’d like to pass on my knowledge and experience to young people and my community in the future.

I have mostly worked in marketing and commercial with successful startups. First at X-FM radio station where they first started out, and later with Asia-Hawala, the first mobile money payment provider, for three years. Pretty soon after I wanted to pursue a DBA and do research on Kurdistan’s economy and where it can lead to, and I figured there is a lot of interest in the e-commerce world. So doing research and using so many platforms on a daily basis myself led me to this new path I am on today.

Can you tell us about your business? What inspired you to start it?

In February 2018 I started my own e-commerce website www.shopyobrand.com with little technical knowledge. But that didn’t matter as I had a precise idea in mind for a fun and easy online shopping experience for people in Kurdistan. I wanted to be professional enough to not only use social media platforms for an online business but also to have a creative platform. So since I love shopping myself, and I saw in Europe the excitement of receiving parcels and packages from these diverse online stores, I made shopyobrand.com. On my website, customers can order items and products from their favorite beauty, fashion, kids, home décor worldwide brands including Amazon! Soon local brands too. These orders can be made by just sending the link of the items from the original websites listed on shopyobrand.com already where they can click on the brand and get redirected to the brand’s original online store.

Payments are done from their home, and we have drivers in Erbil and Sulaymani to pick up their payments and hand them an invoice. Once they have signed, we make the orders and deliver it to their home in 2-3 weeks time.

What are some of the challenges your business has faced and how have you addressed them?

Now, there are many challenges with having an online shopping site. Since my target is regular people who love shopping, there is not much familiarity with how online stores are used since it is done with a credit card. Besides reaching and gaining customers as a huge part of my daily activities in the business, I had to make sure people understand how this is done, and how to use the website. Therefore, educating and guiding customers was a big challenge. I had to make sure they find it easy and understand that this is a very easy tool for them to do their shopping from home, and have access to so many items that they can not find in the market at the moment.

So therefore, to address this challenge I made educational videos, and now I do daily updates on our social media platforms to communicate with our customers on how they can order online without a credit card.

What is your proudest moment/biggest achievement when it comes to your business?

My proudest moment was when people, especially my lady customers, fell in love with it and came back over and over again for more orders. Those customers have a special place. It is amazing to see them be so excited about their next purchase, and they make me be more ambitious about shopyobrand.com. It makes me think of the next idea and how I can provide them with more services and offers to add more value and importantly more excitement. It makes me proud to know that I started with no investment, no place but a passion. The proud moment was when we celebrated our one year anniversary. I realized they are part of the shopyobrand family, and feeling their support and presence makes me work harder to make this platform bigger and reach many others to be a huge success. I know now that it doesn’t matter where you start as long as you believe in it.

Can you tell us about your experience starting your business in Kurdistan?

Starting a business in Kurdistan is not easy. It usually need a lot of money, investment and risk. Especially for a woman, since we are usually on our own and it needs time for others to believe our idea in a male-dominated community. However, my experience of starting shopyobrand.com in Kurdistan was not very difficult as I had and still have a vision for it, and I’m confident to where this can lead. It is a matter of knowing what your good at, to be willing to face the challenges with it. The difficult part for me is the regulations to having your own business here especially an online one. Since registering your company is a long process plus very costly. There is not a specific law for online businesses.

How have you supported other women in your community?

After I established this platform, I felt like many others felt like it is okay even if you have the highest degree to do something simple as long as you have the passion and love for it. It is great to do work and be an employee or do something because it pays a lot or it has a high value in the community. But on the other side, if you are not happy or satisfied, you can go for your business; this is what I like to encourage my women community for.

What advice do you have for someone trying to start their own project/business?

My advice will be to sit down for it. If you have a passion or a great idea that you have been having in mind for years. You can still be an employee but fulfill that dream or plan too. It is possible to start with less than 1000$. It is possible to start from scratch, and once you take these steps, there will be many other ways to add on to it slowly but progressively.

Why did you join the Five One Labs Female Founders Fellowship?

Last but not least, I joined the Female Founders Fellowship at Five One Labs because I wanted to meet people who could give me feedback, provide me tools of expanding my business and pass me knowledge to grow my business. I knew I needed help in terms of mentoring, a second and third eye to lay out my business strategies, challenges, activities and so many other things that I needed to keep this platform. I am still at an early stage of my business, but since I have joined Five one labs, I have my own co-working space, a mentor that I can communicate with and a lot of new visions that has added on to my idea. This is only the start, but my direction is heading towards a very fulfilling journey that I can later advice, lecture on to other woman starting their businesses.

Meet the Founder: Shadia Babakr Rasul

Now that Ramadan has started, Shadia Rasul, the next entrepreneur featured in our Meet the Founder series, is hard at work preparing sweets from her shop in Ranya. Shadia is a member of our first cohort of women in our Female Founders Fellowship, where she is working to grow her business so that she can support more women in her home city by providing jobs in her shop.

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Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?

My name is Shadia Babakr Rasul, and I am 31 years old. I graduated in 2012 as a mechanical engineer, and I am married and have one girl. I like teaching and have always wanted to  be a business trainer for girls and women, especially in my city, Ranya. I want be a businesswoman and have a big training center.

Can you tell us about your business? What inspired you to start it?

My business is producing sweets in a good and healthy way, namely making all types of cakes, including cake art, birthday cakes, party cakes and specialty cake. These cakes are unique and different than those in other bakeries. I now run a sweets factory in Ranya which sells and distributes sweets.

What are some of the challenges your business has faced and how have you addressed them?

At first, my challenges were that I didn’t have a place to work and didn’t have enough money to start. I always wanted to have a special place where women could make sweets and have a job because in Ranya, there weren’t many places to work. I started to think about how I could make a sweet factory. And while I liked my job, I didn’t have enough money to start, so I began my business at home. But now I have a shop that makes and sells sweets and thanks for God, I would now like to grow my business.

Why did you join the Five One Labs Female Founders Fellowship program?

Work and family and children are not barriers for learning. I have always loved both learning and teaching, and I participated in many courses about business and marketing. When I saw the Five One Labs Female Founders Fellowship, I applied, and when they called me I was happy and very interested in participating.

I thought that this would be the right place for me to grow my business, and in fact now I am growing with Five One Labs. They are helping, teaching, and supporting all the women and found us great mentorship.

What advice do you have for someone trying to start their own project/business?

When you have any idea you should have a plan in order to reach your objectives. The most important things are to believe in your idea and yourself and to do research before starting.

Images courtesy of Yalla Iraq.

Meet the Founder: Sawsan Malla

In this week’s Meet the Founder post, we are introducing you to Syrian artist Sawsan Malla, the first featured entrepreneur from our Female Founders Fellowship, a program geared towards growth-stage women entrepreneurs.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks to meet other member’s from Sawsan’s cohort!

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Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?

I'm Sawsan Malla. I’m 26 years old and from Syria and currently live in Erbil. I studied at Al-Furat University in the College of Education, and I am an artist and founder of Ora Studio.

Can you tell us about your business? What inspired you to start it?

My business is about designing characters and creating illustrations, for example bookmarks, stickers and portraits. I also can create specific art based on people’s needs.

I was inspired to start this business because I am passionate about art, and my goal is to spread my artwork as much as possible so I can share it with others.

What are some of the challenges your business has faced and how have you addressed them?

My biggest challenge as a new person in this business is to prove myself because I don't have a strong network that could help me to become better known and have the opportunity to know more about art-related events. Funding for my business is also a challenge as I currently don't have enough financial support .

Can you tell us about your experience starting your business in Kurdistan?

It's something really great that I'm getting a new experience  with Five One Labs. I'm learning new things that could help me in my path way, and I'm finding it very exciting as I'm working on things that I'm really interested in. In addition, all the materials that I need for my art are available at Kurdistan.

How have you supported other women in your community ?

I do believe that women have their own existence in each community, and they can make a difference with their unlimited power. So, I would like to support all women to be independent, to follow their own dreams and to achieve their goals.

For me, I've helped my younger sister to improve herself in art and create her own crafts to start her own business when she get older.

What advice do you have for someone trying to start their own project or business?

My advice is :

  • you have to believe in yourself and your abilities.

  • read more about your business idea.

  • work on your weaknesses to improve it.

  • be positive.

  • get the inspiration from people who already have experience .

Why did you join the Female Founders Fellowship?

During my research on internet, I found Five One Labs and went through their website to find out more. My friends have given me great recommends about them, so I felt that it would be a great chance to join them and to be a part of their team. I'm thankful for this experience and all the knowledge that Five One Labs is giving me.

A selection of Sawsan’s most recent work.


Meet the Founder: Rawa Rauf

For those who have been wanting to learn more about Japanese culture, read our feature of this week’s entrepreneur, Rawa Rauf, the founder of Raftel Manga Store in Sulaimani!

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Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?

My name is Rawa, and I grew up in Sulaimani. I attended Salahaddin Ayyubi High School College and then entered Architectural Engineering college which I recently graduated from. Since I was younger, I have had a strong love for tech, games and books. While I was still in high school, I came across a DVD set of a popular anime show (Japanese animations) called "Dragon Ball Z," and since then I became a big fan of the medium and got myself deep into the culture of Japan, especially the pop culture and anime.

What is your business idea?

My idea was to bring the most out of Japan's pop culture into Sulaimani, and eventually all the country. I started out with the anime series, and later, manga books (Japanese comic books). I realized the demand was high and increasing at an exponential rate, so I began to think how to fill that demand. That is where I came to know Five One Labs, who kindly supported me with a business-friendly ecosystem and wide network, including introducing me to my mentor, Chris, who has given me the largest push ever since!

What challenges is your business addressing?

There are a few different challenges which I would love to mention. The first is that manga books were not available locally. One had to use online services to order them, which would take a lot of time and effort. Additionally, there are a lot of trust issues, especially with websites like Ebay, which people are afraid to buy stuff from.

Secondly, there was a lack of a community, which made it almost hard for people to get together and discuss their favorite titles! Now people come in groups and start giving recommendations and engaging in the interesting conversations in the store.

Can you tell us about your experience starting your business?

I started small, and slowly began building my capital. I have had countless problems regarding getting the goods I offer, and various delivery problems with different local and international delivery companies, but I have always been able to find a way out and continued to grow! I have met with manga store owners in Baghdad to build relations. And I have been working on holding comikets (comic markets) in Sulaimani and Erbil to boost awareness of Japanese culture.

Why did you join the Five One Labs startup incubator?

I have always worked hard by myself, without getting myself or my business exposed to the business world. I was wondering if ever others are interested in this niche business of mine because after all, it has a very specific audience. Neither our country nor the culture supports it in a big way.

I filled out the Five One Labs application without expecting to get accepted, but I got the call all too suddenly from Miss Alice and was so thrilled. At last I could meet with other people with entrepreneurial minds, and they might understand my business! I got from it more than I ever imagined. To say it changed my life whole would not be a lie. I joined to find the right people to guide me along the right path! And I'm so glad I joined.

What progress have you made on your business since joining the incubator?

I did market research all over and found out about my customers up close. I started tracking my sales and expenses, and the increased sales weeks after week made me all the more eager to do my best. Five One Labs has kindly provided me with comfortable shared office spaces, which is a big improvement over my previous place. I tried increasing the variety of products and brought Korean song albums (known as K-Pop), and I partnered with Zanyar Bookshop to sell my manga. The demand is surprisingly high there as well. Last but not least, I have opened up membership plans for those who wants to read but aren't interested in collecting, so they can read several titles for the price of one each month.

What advice do you have for someone trying to start their own project/business?

Stick to your values and whatever you're set to accomplish. Family and friends may become great supporters, but they can never make up for the happiness in living your life the way you truly want!  

Believe in yourself and your projects!

Be Willing to Act! Start Now!

You can. You will!




Meet the Founder: Zhinya Hadi

This week’s entrepreneur, Zhinya Hadi, founder of Medchar, tells us about how her startup is solving challenges related to medical data. Have a read to learn more!

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Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?

I'm Zhinya Hadi, a 24-year-old graduate from Sulamaniya University - College of Medicine. I'm currently working as a resident doctor. I have always been passionate about business and entrepreneurship. I have previously worked with several medical companies, and finding out about the overlap between technology and medicine has always been my pursuit.

What is your business idea?

I'm working on building an online platform that connects doctors, patients and their medical needs in a patient-centered environment, aiming to return the ownership of medical data back to patients, and building connections and trust between them.

What challenges does your business address?

The challenge of electronic medical data is one of the hot topics worldwide, and the solutions are wide and variable. With Medchar, we are aiming to build a community on a safe and secure platform that can lead patients through their medical journey -- from finding their doctor and saving their medical data, to taking their medications and their follow up. This can be safely practiced as it would not in any way be an online clinic but rather a platform for saving medical data and guidance of patients by the doctors whom they visit in person.

Medchar can be a great solution as it can be used in developing as well as developed countries. It would give patients ownership of their medical data, and doctors will be the supervisor of their patients with one click. This can be a potentially life-saving program as you can always travel with your documents in hand or easily give your doctors all they need to know about your health.

Why have all your social information on Facebook but live with missing pieces of the most important information -- your health data!

In every novelty lies regeneration, and for every need a number of potential solutions lie ahead. The idea of Medchar came to me during my last year of medical school, as I met one of our patients, Ahmed, who was in a very bad state of health, simply because of the lack of knowledge and guidance. He had a brain tumor, and because it took so much time, transferring him between doctors and investigations, by the time we met him, sadly he was comatose. This definitely could have been prevented if his doctors had a tool to communicate with each other and also to keep contact with Ahmed and supervise him to not go to the wrong places and lose time.

Bringing this solution into life has not been without challenges, and so far for Medchar most of the challenges have been in the form of finding a good group of coders and financial support for that, but whenever a need exists, a solution must be the answer as well. If you can simplify and make this solution sustainable and developing, you have the recipe for building a business. This would be challenging of course, but persistence and having the right kind of support is all you need to make it happen.

Why did you join the Five One Labs incubator?

After finishing my medical degree, I was fortunate enough to have some time at hand. Being curious about business and entrepreneurship, this was the best opportunity to explore this field. When I heard about this program, which was a full-time, three-month intensive business and leadership skills training, this was just the right point to start working on an idea that had been whirling in my mind for a long time.

What progress have you made on your business since joining the incubator?

The Five One Labs incubator program is providing the support and community, and Medchar's improvement has been a journey of formulating a business buildup. Our prototype is taking its feedback from users to build the Medchar community.

What advice do you have for someone trying to start their own project/business?

To be passionate about an idea is not enough, but this definitely at times is the only reason to not give up, so choose to work on what you believe is meant to be done. Build your knowledge and research around the potential solutions, and invest in building your network of support and mentorship. You will never know when you could have missed an opportunity.

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