Mosul's Innovators

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Salih, Manager of Mosul Space, gives a speech at the program's Final Forum
DCEO for USAID

In 2014, ISIS invaded and occupied Mosul. Around the same time, a group of young people at the University of Mosul came together to talk about how they could bring hope to their generation, one that was filled with bright ideas and refused to be hindered by war. 

These conversations eventually turned into Mosul Space, a self-described ‘Maker Space’ and startup incubator based in Mosul City. Mosul Space grew over time and, after the liberation from ISIS in 2017, it became the first full-scale innovation hub in Mosul. “After years of conflict in the city, Mosul Space is a technological revolution. We are trying to build a place for youth to interact, network, develop skills, and implement projects,” said Salih, Mosul Space’s General Manager.

Since 2017, Mosul Space has helped launch eight startups and supported more than 50 young men and women to find jobs. This year, with USAID support, Mosul Space offered a 6-month Innovation for Business Generation course, which trained 150 young men and women in design-thinking, lean business models, and problem-solving. At the end of the course, 15 new business ideas emerged. Mosul Space and USAID supported these entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to potential investors and launch their startups.

Amer, Natheef Katheef
Amer is the founder of Natheef Katheef and participant in the USAID-supported Innovation for Business Generation course at Mosul Space
DCEO for USAID

Amer, 24, is the founder of Natheef Katheef, a cleaning and sanitation service and was one of the participants in USAID’s Innovation for Business Generation program at Mosul Space. The idea for the business came to him after the liberation of Mosul as a way to contribute to the city’s reconstruction efforts. Natheef Katheef offers a wide range of services, including home-cleaning, sanitization, onsite car cleaning, and furniture deep-cleaning services. 

“The program taught me many things, but most importantly, it has pushed me to meet people and understand their needs,” said Amer, “This helped us focus on one idea and see things from a different perspective.” Three months into his business, Amer has already broken even and he looks forward to being financially independent. 

Not only is Amer’s business providing in-demand services, but it is also generating new job opportunities to help his community rebuild. “The great thing about USAID’s project is that it supports the private sector and helps create jobs. My company not only created a job for me, but also for others. Thanks to USAID, Natheef Kateef currently has eight employees,” he said.

With support from USAID, Mosul Space hopes to increase business innovation in Ninewa and grow its community of entrepreneurs. “The goal is to increase job opportunities for other young people and improve problem-solving skills in the community,” said Salih. The course will also help entrepreneurs get access to finance and provide them with mentoring after its completion. 

Last updated: November 01, 2021

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