The first Startup Weekend with the focus on empowering the next Generation of Iranian entrepreneurs was held on September 10 and 11, at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. This event was first of its kind in Iran and was a strategic initiative from Iran startup community and IEA.

Attendees listening to the pitches
Attendees listening to the pitches

One of the main forces behind developing the startup culture and entrepreneurship spirit in Iran is Startup Weekend. Only in the past year we had 62 SW events in Iran. It’s interesting to know that this event was first introduced to the community in 2012 and in only 3 years it expanded so fast that as of now 62 events has been held so far, and it’s counting.

Startup Weekend Youth was organized specifically for attendees between the age of 12 to 22.Imagine a crowd that all of them are in their teenage years and have so much energy and passion to do amazing things. Sure, they had events and science fairs, but before SW Youth they didn’t have any events dedicated to them to explore the horizon of their minds and to solve the real world problems.

Organizing this event wasn’t an easy task. The orgazining team faced so many challenges. From booking the venue to doing advertisement for the event. With such obstacles, they managed to pull off an event that even some teenagers attended the event from other provinces of Iran. This shows how much enthusiasm the young generation has towards entrepreneurship and startups in Iran.
Teams working on their idea
Teams working on their idea

Before the event nobody could predict how this event would go. “I think, entrepreneurs that were born in the 80s are done and it’s time for new generation of entrepreneurs to come in and start their ventures”, said Hamidreza Ahmadi, previous Managing Director of Iran Entrepreneurship Association and one of the jury members at Startup Weekend Youth. “At first I thought that we should explain everything to them but they were fast learners and they performed beyond my exceptions. We should pay much more attention to this generation and organize more events like this to help and flourish the young talents.”

When we talked to Alireza Omidvar, Co-Founder at Tehran Hub (The first Centre of Social Innovation) who was also a judge in SW Youth, he pointed out that these kinds of events are good for the young generation of startup community, because they could learn how to interact and communicate with each other without ending up in a dead end wrangle. “ These kind of events for Iran’s youth are like a platform to actually have collaboration and dialogue to complement each other. We have to work on our children from childhood to prepare them for the future. With the help of Ministry of Education we are hoping to enter the schools to start working on young talents by supporting these events ”, he said.

These kids had great ideas too:

First place: Gramophone, a voice base Social Media.

Second place: Online Doctor, an online healthcare services.

Third place: DigiBook, an online lending book platform.

It’s worth mentioning that with the help of the community and IEA, Iran had many Startup Weekends with different themes until now and the list goes as below:

  • SW Mobile
  • SW Women
  • SW Social Inovation
  • SW Tourism
  • SW Education
  • SW Game
  • SW Neuroscience
  • SW Youth

For more statistics about Startup Weekend in Iran head to this post.

What we encountered was a well organized event. We had never been this pumped up during a Startup Weekend event, thanks to all the enthusiasm coming from the teenagers. Hopefully we would see the impact of such events in the near future.

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