Hello Sulaimani: Our Fall 2018 Cohort of Startups!

After the successful completion of our Startup Incubator in Erbil last year, we are thrilled to welcome our newest cohort of startups to our Incubator in Sulaimani.

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With the hope to find innovative and passionate entrepreneurs, we have spent the past few months recruiting a diverse group of entrepreneurs from all over Iraq. During this process, we evaluated over 165 candidates, conducted many hours of interviews, and hosted nearly 30 entrepreneurs at our Innovation Hub for an intensive boot camp. We are happy to say that our rigorous recruitment process has paid off!

On September 23rd, 2018 we had the pleasure to welcome 17 new entrepreneurs to our Five One Labs community. These entrepreneurs come from a variety of backgrounds and industries ranging from technology to agriculture. With 7 female led startups and 8 entrepreneurs who have been displaced, we ensure that all members of the community feel welcome at Five One Labs.

During the three month incubator program, our entrepreneurs will be provided with intensive training, experienced mentors, and a collaborative workspace. They have access to a wealth or resources and industry experts to guide them on their journey as young entrepreneurs.

Every component of the program is designed to give Five One Labs entrepreneurs realistic and hands-on experience to prepare them for actually running a business. Through this approach, entrepreneurs learn hard business skills, effective leadership skills, and design training.  After the completion of the program, entrepreneurs will use their new business knowledge and skills to compete for up to $15,000 worth of seed funding to launch their businesses.

Not only are Five One Labs entrepreneurs interested in building up the economy in Iraq, they are also focused on building a strong sense of community. Our entrepreneurs are working to solve real life problems that people face on a daily basis.  This includes access to life saving medical information, products and services that promote healthy lifestyles, and technology that will bring quality education to those who need it most (to name a few).

We are so proud to welcome these new entrepreneurs!

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.