Five One Labs: A Start-up for Refugees That Deserves Your Attention
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published a report on April 2018 highlighting details and numbers on the Internally Displaced People (IDP) of Iraq. It showed that about 2.14 million IDP’s have remained displaced since 2014. The displaced families and people who are trying to return to their homes face a number of critical protection issues; restriction of movements and harassment, or even intimidations, which continue to be reported. The lack of proper humanitarian assistance measures, coupled with limited opportunities for self-reliance
Many people unfortunately think of refugees as a burden. Who are stuck in a helpless situation and have no other way but to rely on governmental aid or the international agencies. However, Five One Labs organization wants to see them as active agents in their societies.
The organization is an Iraq-based incubator, that is located in Irbil, the capital of Kurdistan region in northern Iraq. The organization was launched in early 2018; it helps refugees and conflict-affected entrepreneurs to launch and grow their own businesses. It also empowers individuals to rebuild their lives and contribute to the economic growth of their countries.
Five One Labs focuses on the Middle East yet it has focused its policies mainly towards refugees who have trouble registering their businesses. One key policy is helping Syrians who have problems legally working or starting a business elsewhere in the world.
The entrepreneurs at Five One Labs are provided with training, mentorship programs, and relevant events. Not just that, but world-class entrepreneurs from the United States and the Middle East are welcomed to join the community to support and share their skills, stories, and experiences with the rest.
Building a startup like Five One Labs is not an easy thing to do, especially being established in a city like Irbil, which has had long been exposed to war and disruption. Such surroundings combined with their own traumatic experiences of loosing loved ones as well as everything they call home, have been just a couple reasons as to why it has been a challenge for them to get back on their feet. However, in spite of these set backs, Five One Labs has had its share of success, and has managed to attract more than 300 entrepreneurs from Iraq, Kurdistan, and Syria; who’ve been the biggest source of motivation for the organization.