This is the first post in our "Meet the Team" series where we will introduce you to our Five One Labs team members. First up is our intern, Iva!
Q: How did you become involved with Five One Labs? What interested you in its programs?
Iva: I had just graduated from Columbia College and while I was studying there, I took part in this amazing program at the Entrepreneurship Studio, called the Design Leaders program. Alice Bosley was one of the directors of the program! She led us through a design thinking process so as to help us think about our entrepreneurship ideas. This way of thinking is very similar to what participants in our program in Iraq are going to do!
Last month she reached out to me asking to circulate the notice about an internship position at Five One among my friends who might be interested, and I said "Sure, by the way: here is my resume too!" Since I was going to spend the entire summer working on my startup idea in Bulgaria, I thought it would be super useful to join them and help them out. I loved the program because it really fits with my interests and it's going to teach me a lot of things that I will use in the future.
Q: What is your role as a summer intern? How do you add to the team?
Iva: I mostly work on curriculum development and landscape analysis. That is, I am responsible for outlining all of the topics that we are going to cover during the program and gathering interesting activities, readings and resources that we can use, as well as researching the organizations, businesses and other actors who are working in Kurdistan so as to know what partnerships we can establish. I also love doing graphic design so I readily help with that, as well as thoughts on the development of the program in general!
Q: What have you enjoyed most about working on your projects? Has it been difficult as well or easy for you?
Iva: It's been super fun! Alice, Patricia Letayf; and Sophia Burton are a great team and they've been very welcoming. They've also trusted me a lot since the very beginning and have delegated a lot of tasks for me to work on, which has made me feel like I am really a part of the team! The work has been very intense, but I wouldn't say difficult, it's just that with such an initiative you have to manage a million things that are going on at once. But I'm working remotely and I am free to manage my own time, which is great.
The thing that I have enjoyed the most is that the work that I am doing for Five One is actually incredibly helpful for me as an aspiring entrepreneur. For example, working on the curriculum has involved me going through loads of materials, online resources and courses in order to select what we can use. And I think the team also appreciates my insights on what feels valuable and important to me for the development of my enterprise.
Q: And what do you most hope to get out of your role in the program? What are you most looking forward to as part of the team?
Iva: I really hope to learn more about effective team and project management because it seems that the way Five One is doing it is very natural but also very efficient. I am also really excited about learning more about the context in Iraqi Kurdistan and about entrepreneurship in general. It's just great for me to see how such a promising and big project is organized, what components you need and what it takes to get it off the ground.
Q: What would you most like to tell people reading this blog, and people interested in joining or supporting our team?
Iva: I think that it's really important to realize the transformative effect that entrepreneurship can have in communities: by creating value, jobs, innovation, self-sufficiency, empowerment, and more.
What Five One Labs is doing is amazing, because conflict-affected regions can be very unstable and vulnerable. The regions sometimes develop an unhealthy dependence on aid because of humanitarian interventions. Entrepreneurship can contribute to the stabilization of the community and its economy, and can empower refugees and displaced people who otherwise might not have the opportunity to work in their field of expertise. Five One Labs helps refugees apply their skills and knowledge.