Tech Startup Academy



Deadline to Apply: June 15

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project Background

In Iraq, where conflict and violence have stalled technological progress, most of the almost 40 million people between the ages of 15 and 30 are at the margins of the global digital economy. Most recently, efforts from NGOs have begun to focus on growing the tech sector by encouraging entrepreneurship among youth so that they can take control of their own futures.  

In September 2018, Re:Coded launched its first Tech Startup Academy in Erbil, Iraq, in partnership with UK-MENA Hub in an effort to support youth to launch their own startups and rely less on public sector jobs. The Academy was a 4-week intensive course that trained idea and early stage, revenue generating startups in customer-led product development, business model and customer pathway development, marketing and sales, strategy and pitching. One-to-one sessions were also conducted with each team to provide tailored support and guidance.

The program encouraged entrepreneurs to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and culminated in a demo day where startups pitched in front of ecosystem leaders and investors. Since the first cohort in Erbil, 3 out of the 8 startups that took part are in the scaling phase of their business. 1 startup has received $28,000 of follow-on funding and others are planning to launch their services in different cities in Iraq. Given the success of the Academy and the urgent need to provide quality entrepreneurship training and support in the country, Re:Coded will be launching the Academy in Baghdad in the second half of 2019.

The program will take place at The Station Foundation for Entrepreneurship, the first co-working space in Iraq, in order to provide startups with the right environment and community so that they may collaborate and innovate with others. Based on lessons learned from the previous program, this Academy will last for 6 weeks with a 1 week ‘break’ in between so that entrepreneurs focus on their MVP. The Academy will total 7 weeks. The focus of the program will be on aspiring Iraqi entrepreneurs (male and female) over the age of 20, with a focus on tech-enabled businesses. Startups can either be idea stage or at a scaling stage. In the event that both types of startups will be accepted, the program will need to be divided to cater to both.

Scope of Work & Deliverables

Organize a high quality entrepreneurship training that includes the following -

  1. Selection of Participants: Developing and implementing a rigorous selection process which includes a orientation program for 25 shortlisted entrepreneurs. The service provider will work closely with the Re:Coded team to create an application form, share with ecosystem partners, on social media and with news agencies, and then shortlist 25 applicants for the orientation program. The orientation program will end in a pitch session where the final 10 entrepreneurs are chosen for the Academy.   

  2. Training Preparation: Developing and implementing a 6-week, in-person, training program. Trainings will be conducted daily for 4-5 hours in the morning and one to one sessions in the afternoon. After week 3, trainers and entrepreneurs will go on a one week break so that entrepreneurs can focus on their MVPs. A core deliverable is that all idea stage entrepreneurs have a viable MVP to pitch on demo day. The remaining 3 weeks of training will then resume. Pitch training will be a specific focus of the Academy so that entrepreneurs are prepared for Demo Day. In addition to training of entrepreneurs, Re:Coded staff training may also be involved in order to build capacity within the organization to deliver future entrepreneurship trainings.

  3. Demo Day: Organizing a demo day at the end of the Academy. The Academy culminates in the Demo Day which showcases each startup in a 5-minute pitch. Ecosystem leaders, universities, government and potential investors across Iraq are invited. Startups have the opportunity to show visitors more about their businesses in their startup booths. During the event, a panel discussion or other activity is also held to raise awareness about the tech ecosystem and how its growth can be accelerated

Additional Activities -

  • Workshops and mini-trainings for budding entrepreneurs in Baghdad on differing topics: During the Academy, the service provider will also conduct 2 additional workshops related to entrepreneurship that will be open to the public. These workshops can be decided by the service provider, in discussion with Re:Coded.

  • Post-program support: Continue to support teams remotely and provide mentorship where necessary through monthly meetings. After the Academy has ended, the service provider will be expected to continue mentoring startups where necessary. A booking time of 20 mins per month for each startup should be available so that each team can receive support when needed.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Provide a detailed report at the end of the program to monitor all findings and provide feedback. Entrepreneur data shall be collected throughout the program on their progress and submitted to Re:Coded on a weekly basis. A final report will need to be submitted to Re:Coded within 2 weeks of the Demo Day, which includes an overview of the program, a summary of each startup lessons learned and recommendations for future programs.

Budget and Deliverables

The service provider will be selected based on the best value bid. In addition to costs, we will take into account what the service provider can offer in terms of program content and delivery, relevant experience, and engagement. The maximum budget is 19,000 U.S. Dollars, including all costs related to per diem, professional fees and taxes. Travel, accommodation and visas will be covered additionally for a total amount of 8,600 U.S. Dollars (2,000 U.S. Dollars of which is for up to 4x return flights).

Service providers with the following will be prioritized:

  • Local knowledge of Iraqi private sector and entrepreneurship challenges, including legal and financial knowledge

  • Can speak the Iraqi Arabic dialect

  • Prior experience of implementing entrepreneurship programs in the Middle East, preferably in Iraq

  • Proven network of qualified mentors and potential investors interested in emerging markets.

To Apply

The prospective service provider will submit a detailed proposal, budget and timelines for undertaking the Academy, which include:

  • Proposed methodology which addresses the above mentioned objectives and scope, including a weekly training plan that will include the topics that will be covered each day

  • Plan of execution (timeline)

  • A detailed budget for the entire program in U.S. Dollars

  • Profile of the service provider including CVs of the team and an explanation of its suitability for implementing the Academy.

Proposal and budget have to be submitted by email to with the subject line “Re:Coded Entrepreneurship Academy - Baghdad 2019” no later than 15th June 2019. Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered.