Announcing Our Summer Innovators Program!

Five One Labs is pleased to announce that we are launching the applications for our first three-week summer program in Sulaimani, Iraq! We are recruiting creative students and young innovators with startup ideas to join our community. If you are passionate about a startup idea and are motivated to make it a reality, this program is right for you!

The application is open here and applications are due by Saturday July 7th at 11:59pm.

Please read below to learn more about the program, the application process, and whether you are eligible to apply:

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The Program

Five One Labs is a startup incubator in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) that aims to empower entrepreneurs to build successful businesses. Our first summer program in Sulaimani, Iraq will be held from July 22nd August 12th.

Participants are required to attend the training on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays from 4pm to 6pm each day. The trainings are held in Five One Labs' brand new Innovation Hub in Sulaimani, opposite of Faruk Group on Salim Street.

The Five One Labs summer program is a free, three-week long program for university students and young innovators that takes your business from idea to a reality. Over three weeks, we will teach you the skills to develop an innovative business idea. it's an action-packed, creative program where people learn how to develop and test business ideas, pitch their business, lead organizations or projects, and more.

You will go through intensive entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership training, and will be connected to a mentor with whom you will speak each week to obtain extra guidance. Participants who attend 90% of the training sessions and complete all homework assignments will receive a certificate of participation.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

We are looking for incredible university students or young innovators from diverse backgrounds who have a business idea! All participants must be committed to focusing developing their business over the three weeks (from July 22 to August 12). The expectations are that the individual or the team will come to the co-working space three days a week (Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and treat this as their opportunity to understand the business aspect behind their idea with the help of our qualified trainers and mentors. The entrepreneurs will also have a weekly Skype call with a mentor who will guide them through the process of creating a pitch deck.

The program will be held in English, so candidates must have good written and spoken English ability in order to apply. This means being able to converse easily and understand business terms.

In addition, we strongly prefer teams over individuals, as we believe teams will be more successful in overcoming diverse challenges. Note: if you are applying as a team, each team member should submit a separate application. The information about the start up idea can be the same in the applications of team members.


  • Are a university student or aspiring entrepreneur with a creative idea for a new business
  • Possess a good level of English speaking and writing skills
  • Are willing to work with a diverse group of people in a multicultural environment
  • Have strong self-motivation and professionalism
  • Are able to attend the program in Sulaimani

If you are not sure you are eligible or have any other questions, please email us at and we will respond immediately!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What is an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is someone who is starting a new business to solve a problem in a creative, innovative way.

What is an incubator? An incubator is an organization that helps entrepreneurs start businesses. Incubators help entrepreneurs develop their business and solve problems they might face while launching.

What if we are applying as a team? That’s great! Teams which work well together are more resilient and resourceful. We accept teams of up to 4 people. Each member of your team must complete a separate application form (the information about the startup idea can be the same in all applications). In addition, all team members must be able to commit fully to the three-week program.

What if I don’t speak English? Don’t worry, we’ll be running Kurdish and Arabic programming during the summer and in the future!

What will our schedule be each week? There will be three training sessions per week at the Five One Labs co-working space in Sulaimani, along with opportunities to put into practice what you learn and to get feedback from your mentors. The program will end with a pitch competition. 

Over the course of 3 weeks, there will be an entire curriculum that will cover topics related to launching a businesses, such as customer discovery, defining your value proposition, building business models, and strategy, among others.


Coming Soon: The Sulaimani Innovation Hub!

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Have you been wondering what Five One Labs has been up to?

Since last fall, we have been operating full-time in Erbil, where we organized a number of exciting innovation-related programs, including the Summer Startup Festival, our first full-time incubator and our Entrepreneurship for All program in partnership with IOM.

And now we have some exciting news! Five One Labs will is expanding to Sulaimani! As part of this expansion, we will be opening a coworking space that will be the center of Five One Labs’ entrepreneurship activities in Kurdistan. The Sulaimani Innovation Hub will be a coworking space for entrepreneurs looking for an inspiring place to work; a community space for ecosystem events; and a training space for entrepreneurship and technology programming. 

Over the last few months we have been looking all over Sulaimani to find a suitable place for this new coworking space. After a long search and looking at over ten different spaces, we were able to choose the most suitable place for our purpose. 

The new space is on Salm street, one of the busiest streets in the heard of Sulaimani. With more than 800 square meters of open space, we have the room to run large-scale events and have more people participating in our different programs and trainings. We are now in the process of finishing the construction, decoration, and furnishing in anticipation of our summer program that will begin in July. 

We have always wanted to expand our work across Kurdistan in order to reach  as many people as possible. Working with entrepreneurs in Sulaimani is a great way to get many more people involved in our programs and trainings. Since we have started offering trainings in Kurdish and Arabic, we expect a greater audience and this new space is the perfect size these kinds of trainings where we will have a greater audience. 

جلب ريادة الأعمال للناس


هل أنت مهتم بمعرفة كيفية بدء عمل تجاري؟ هل ترغب في أن يكون هذا التدريب بلغتك المحلية؟ هل تريد مقابلة أشخاص آخرين يفعلون ذلك أيضًا؟

بالشراكة مع المنظمة الدولية للهجرة  ، فإن شركة  "فايف ون لابز" لديها فرصة عظيمة لك! يسرنا أن نعلن عن إطلاق أحدث برمجياتنا تحت عنوان "ريادة الأعمال للجميع" ، وهي سلسلة من التدريبات والأحداث باللغة الكردية والعربية والإنجليزية لكل من يهتم بالابتكار وريادة الأعمال والقيادة والتأثير في مجتمعهم

في ورش العمل الشخصية

من  خلال شهري أبريل ومايو ، ستعمل شركة "فايف ون لابز" على توفير تدريب عالي الجودة على تنظيم المشاريع بشكل أفضل للمجتمعات المتنوعة في جميع أنحاء إقليم كردستان العراق ، وستدعم الشركات الناشئة التي تم إطلاقها حديثًا في الوصول إلى إمكاناتها الكاملة

سنستضيف عدداً من ورش العمل المكثفة في أربيل والسليماني باللغات الإنجليزية والعربية والكردية. ستشمل التدريبات مواضيع مفيدة وعملية مثل

التفكير في فكرة إبداعية  للأعمال -

تحسين مهاراتك العملية في العمل -

 إجراء البحوث على عملائك ، و -

 .تحسين مهاراتك كقائد -

!سننشر التواريخ والأوقات والمواقع في هذا التدوينة في المدونة حيث يتم الانتهاء من الجدول ، لذا تابعونا

التدريب عبر الإنترنت

بالنسبة لأولئك الذين قد لا يتمكنون من الانضمام إلينا شخصيًا ، نرحب بكم لحضور أحد دوراتنا التدريبية الأربعة على الإنترنت. إذا كنت مهتمًا ببدء نشاط تجاري ولكن ليس لديك فكرة حتى الآن ، فلدينا ورشة عمل مثالية لك! سنستضيف ثلاث دورات تدريبية على تطوير الأفكار والإبداع على الإنترنت باللغة الإنجليزية والعربية والكردية حيث سنسير على خطوات لكيفية إنشاء فكرة مشروعك الخاص


وأخيرًا ، سننظم ثاني "ستارتاب بوتكامب" للمبدعين الشباب في أربيل يوم 4 و 5 مايو! سيقوم برنامج "ستارتاب بوتكامب" (باللغة الإنجليزية) بتجميع المشاركين من خلال نسخة مختصرة من الخطوات التي تحتاجها للتعلم لبدء عملك ، بما في ذلك التفكير في فكرتك ، وإجراء الأبحاث على عملائك ، وبناء نموذج أولي أو عينة من منتجك وتقديم عرض ونص فكرتك

إذا كنت ترغب في التقدم للمشاركة في "ستارتاب بوتكامب ، يرجى ملء هذا الطلب بحلول يوم الثلاثاء ، 24 أبريل

ندعو الجميع لحضور دوراتنا التدريبية عبر الإنترنت وجميع الأحداث مجانية!  خبرة سابقة مع ريادة الأعمال أمر غير  ضروري

إذا كان لديك أي أسئلة ، يرجى مراسلتنا أو  Facebook

نحن نتطلع إلى الاجتماع بك جميعًا شخصيًا أو عبر الإنترنت ، ونحن متحمسون للحصول على #StartupReady!


The Middle East You Should Know: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and More

"The feeling of going to work to solve problems is in my DNA - the things we are trying to solve now are not the same things we were tackling two or three years ago. That part of being an entrepreneur should never go away."

Photo cred: "the_dead_pixel"/Flickr

Photo cred: "the_dead_pixel"/Flickr

Ronaldo Mouchawar, quoted above, is a Syrian entrepreneur and one of the most well-known startup founders in the Middle East. In 2005, he launched, which has quickly grown to be the largest online shopping sites in the region. Known as the “Amazon of the Middle East,” is one of only two unicorns (with a valuation of over $1 billion) in the region, along with Careem, a ride-hailing app similar to Uber.

The Middle East has become known for a number of different things, but the region’s innovation and entrepreneurship have been largely overlooked. While Mouchawar is one of the most visible examples of successful entrepreneurship in the Middle East, he is definitely not alone. Entrepreneurial ecosystems are blossoming in every corner of the region, from the UAE to Lebanon and beyond. With its infamous youth bulge – around 65% of the population in the Middle East is under 30 – entrepreneurship could be an exciting path towards necessary job and opportunity creation in the region.  

In November, I attended Harvard Arab Weekend, a three-day conference following the newest trends and most influential people in the Arab World. The topic of the last day’s discussions? Entrepreneurship. From successful VC models (Wamda Capital, BECO Capital), to social enterprises (Nafham, RISE Egypt) to impressive new entrepreneurs, like Mohannad Arbaji of Chalk Talk, the day was a deep dive into the bustling startup scenes that are coming to life throughout the region. After having spent some time studying the Middle East’s entrepreneurial landscape, I was still surprised by the diverse initiatives I learned about.    

Take Amman, for example. Oasis500 is one of the largest tech incubators in the Middle East, providing aspiring entrepreneurs with bootcamps, mentorships, and accelerator programs to help them get their ideas of the ground. The Oasis500 platform has been so successful that it is expanding to other parts of the world, including India. In Cairo, an entrepreneurial hub has developed around the American University of Cairo’s old center-city campus, the Greek Campus, and now holds a yearly entrepreneurship summit called RiseUp. In Lebanon, the government has made entrepreneurship more attractive by issuing Circular 331, a stimulus package that has provided interest-free loans to banks to invest in startups.

Photo cred: Startup MENA/ Flickr

Photo cred: Startup MENA/ Flickr

What about in areas that are not quite so stable? Gaza Sky Geeks, a tech incubator based in Gaza, has over the past 6 years developed a strong entrepreneurial scene in arguably one of the hardest places in the world to start a business. With a number of their startups receiving seed investment from regional investors, its model proves that talented entrepreneurs, freelancers, and coders can thrive even in difficult economic and security contexts. Cactus, also in Palestine, serves women entrepreneurs who want to develop businesses in their regions. Their for-profit model allows them to sustainability serve their community, and empower women to become economically self-sufficient.

Finally, our team has been talking to a number of entrepreneurs based in Iraq, both in the Kurdistan Region and in Baghdad. We’ve been impressed by a number of individuals who have taken the lead in developing an active startup scene. One entrepreneur we spoke with, Marwan Jabbar, highlights these trends. Marwan is a prolific writer and self-described "entrepreneurial evangelist" who brought TechStars and Startup Weekend to Iraq. Recently he started working full time on his own startup – a grocery delivery service in Baghdad that has gained a lot of traction. By being active both with his own startup but also as a leader of the startup community in Baghdad, he has created the space for others to follow in his footsteps.

The moral of the story? With people like Marwan in the region, it’s easy to feel like the fun is just getting started.

Written by Alice Bosley. Please contact with any questions or comments.