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Startup Weekend Baghdad: “Create Your Own Castle” to Weather the Storm

In conflict-torn Iraq, if you want to be an entrepreneur, “you should create your own world– your own castle where you don’t listen to the bad news“. says Salih Zain, the incredibly young entrepreneur who co-organized Startup Weekend Baghdad last August. “You need to disconnect from some of the realities of the situation… and work like crazy.”

Zain is a 18-year-old student who, while studying science, started developing mobile applications and co-founded Fikra Space, a community hub where computer scientists and designers can share their interests and objectives. Today, in a context where several startups have closed due to the political situation, Zain remains confident that innovations in mobile apps can help Baghdad face its many infrastructural problems — and even contribute new services to mitigate Iraqis’ security concerns. “Imagine if there were an app [where] we could see peoples’ review of ‘the situation’ in each area … Is it safe or dangerous? How is the road?… It’s really important to know these details,” he said in an interview with Up Global.

Zain is an example of how, despite the challenging Iraqi situation, young entrepreneurs are working their way to build a new country. “As an Iraqi entrepreneur, you don’t need to scratch your head and wait for an opportunity – it’s right there in front of you,” Zain said. “Try to use technology to solve the millions of simple and complex problems facing the people around you.”

For more information: Visit Startup Weekend Baghdad‘s Facebook Page or follow Salih Zain on Twitter at @salihzain

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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