Between January and March 2021, the BANUU team organized, in the frame of the WP4 project activities, several on-line intensive courses for Iraqi scholars and students from the Universities of Baghdad, Kufa, Mosul and Al-Qadisiyah, with the aim of fostering students’ entrepreneurship paths and developing start-up projects.

The training consisted of different theoretical sessions to introduce key concepts on entrepreneurship in the field of archaeology and heritage. These activities have been chaired by experts from the University of Turin and several Italian private companies specialized in archaeology, heritage and cultural tourism such as ArtStories, Ad Hoc 3D Solutions and A.R.Va.
The training activities were followed by practical sessions in which the previously trained scholars and students were divided into different groups aiming at designing start-up projects in the fields of archaeology and heritage. The development of the new entrepreneurial ideas received constant feedback from the private companies in order to guarantee their feasibility.

The resulting Start-up projects have been presented - in poster form - to the academic and wider community during the 12th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE) held by the University of Bologna between 6th and 9th April 2021. The poster of each start-up project can be downloaded from the right column of this page. Iraqi students have received the feedbacks of the ICAANE international community about their proposals uniting conservation and development of the cultural heritage of their Country. This experience has consolidated in them an understanding of the basic dynamics of the private sector and at the same time has fostered in the involved faculty staff a method for bringing students in closer touch with such realities.



                                                                                                                !!! AVAILABLE GRANTS !!!

IOM's Enterprise Development Fund (EDF), in partnership with UNESCO and funded by the EU, is supporting enterprises and startups that directly contribute to the restoration of cultural heritage, have the capacity to create or support jobs, and are scalable in the long-term. For this reason, EDF has opened a call for grants to finance and develop innovative projects in the field of cultural heritage.

Grant size: 5,000–30,000 USD 

Requirements to apply for the grant:

  • Does your business/startup work in creative industries, culture, or is it tied to Iraqi heritage?
  • Do you require between 5,000-30,000 USD?
  • Is your business located in Baghdad or Mosul? (Najaf and Qadissiyah provinces are excluded)
  • Has your business been operational for a minimum of 1 year?
  • Is the business owned and managed by an Iraqi national?
  • Do you have at least one employee? 
  • Are you able to create a job/jobs through expansion?


Some suggestions (non-exhaustive) of eligible businesses:

  • Design and creative services (fashion, graphic, interior, landscape design, architectural services, advertising services);
  • Visual arts and crafts (fine arts, photography, different crafts, galleries (belonging to the private sector);
  • Books and press (books, newspapers, magazines, other printed media, libraries, including virtual, book fairs - photocopy or printing shops are excluded);
  • Audiovisual and interactive media (film and video, TV and radio and internet live streaming, internet podcasting);
  • Performance and celebration (performing arts, music, festivals, fairs, feasts (weddings are excluded);


More infos can be found on the IOM website!

If interested, please contact Mateja Zupancic, assessments advisor at IOM!