If there are two things that are developing the world, they are entrepreneurship and technology. Of course this is not only from my point of view, they are the main components that are driving the development of the world.
Entrepreneurship is driving the world; these adventures start small, and they grow bigger if the right environment for nurturing them is provided. Entrepreneurship will flourish and prosper the country’s economy and society.
In recent years we have seen the emphasis on technology and how it is increasing knowledge, generating profit, employing people, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness, and simply making our life easier. Iraq is a developing country and it is catching up to the developed countries through imitation, yet we can’t really transfer into a developed country unless we enhance development and creativity.
Hackerspace is an on the rise concept, it is a space that nurtures both entrepreneurship and technological innovations. Hackerspace is a place where people gather, share ideas, experiment and get collective ideas. This model was first originated in Germany during the 1990s, yet it is getting great popularity all over the world now.
Fikra Space is a hacker space that was established in Baghdad in October 2012. It was established by a Bilal Galib, an Iraqi-American, and is a part of many hacker communities and a strong advocate of the concept. “Entrepreneurship is putting control back into your hands and letting you create what you want to see and make a living doing it,” says Galib.
Fikra Space’s goal is “to create a virtual and actual space available for enthusiastic youth ; it provides the resources they need and the freedom to create and innovate,” Says Jeff Aboklam, one of Fikra Space founders.
Fikra Space took the risk to get established in very hard conditions, yet managed to collect the fruits of its seeds. Fikra Space started without actually has the main element of a hackerspace, which is an actual space to meet, collect ideas and innovate. “To rent a place we needed some source of funding and it was always an issue for us. We are not a profitable organization and most of our funding is donations from the members themselves, 90% of our tools came from members, it is not easy to do that, but we get by” says Jeff.
Even though Fikra Space didn’t have an actual space, they were building the basis for their club and already bringing on change. Fikra Space started by challenging the fact that they don’t have a space and started building a virtual space. Fikra Space started their Facebook page and spread the idea of hackerspace in the community. They also held many events in multiple places.
Still the main success of Fikra Space is organizing the first Startup Weekend Baghdad in June, 2013. From October 2012 to June 2013, Fikra Space managed to build a strong base of human resources. USAID contacted Fikra Space to organize the SWB, which USAID funded fund. “We organized the first event in one month only with all the challenges that we faced, but we pulled it off at the end. We are working hard to make people believe that they can start their own companies and not fear to start from the bottom and climb up,” said Salih.
Now, Fikra Space acquired a new space, which is located in Al-Karada in the center of Baghdad so can be reached by people. “Having our own space will give us the push we needed, now we have workshops, working session and creativity circles,” said Salih. Fikra Space’s space is available 24/7, people can ask to use the space and it is theirs.
Real hope is there; if young youth are actually working hard to promote, nurture and prepare the right environment for entrepreneurship and technological development, then we can defiantly say that this country’s economy will continue to grow and eventually prosper.By: Safa Fadhil Baghdad