Articles - BIP Iraq 2014

Labor Local Trainers Are Ready to Take Off with BPD Courses in VTC in Iraq

The three years of Business Development Projects in Iraq have reached the final stage and the 3rd year implementation phase.

In this connection, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in cooperation with Norwegian Business Innovation Programs (BIP) certified 57 BPD local trainers from 25 Vocational Training Centers (VTC) and 3 Labour Centers under the auspices of the Ministry’s Business Innovation Division in Entrepreneurship Programs Department that has been established. (See This division has been built on the BIP system, using BIP’s BPD material and follow-up methods.

The local trainers work in cities all over Iraq and set up and run BPD courses for jobseekers there. Course implementations in 3 cities have been difficult due to various reasons.

A grand total of 8,901 course participants have participated in 517 BPD courses in these local centers, and many of the course participants took what they learnt and started their own business without requesting any loan. These new business starters have discovered what they are capable of through the training, and they discovered how they can start by themselves with only their own resources.

Networking and business budgeting are very important key areas and the BPD courses highlight this. More than 750 new businesses were started in the period.

The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, during the Third Business Fair in Baghdad 18. December 2014, gave the order to give small loans to all new business starters that participated in the BPD courses.

In addition to certifying Business Trainers, BIP chose the eight most active trainers and put them through a Mentor Trainer course. These Mentor Group become the support team for the project and its future development.

The Labor Ministry granted 31,046 small loans to jobseekers in Iraq during 2013 and 2014. These jobseekers are registered in The Labor Directory database.

There is still potential to do even more as the Vocational Training directory still has 9 VTC without BPD local trainers.

Iraq's Third Small New Business Fair held in Baghdad

...and the Minister of Labour & Social Affairs decides to grant Small Loans to all BIP course participants that really have a business plan.

On December 18th, 2014, Norwegian Business Innovation Programs (BIP), in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), organized Iraq's Third Small New Business Fair in Baghdad.

The New Business Fair was attended by over 30 different new start-up companies. In addition a total of over 200 guests from various Government Offices, organizations and TV Channels were present. Among the attendees were the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Eng. Mohammed Shia Alsodani, Vocational Training General Director Eng. Aziz I. Khalil and Project Manager for "Women’s Entrepreneurship" Eng. L. Altmimi from the Women’s Activity Office.

The Minister of Labour & Social Affairs opened the event by celebrating the certifying
of 20 new local trainers in the third stage of Business Development Project in Iraq

In addition to the many stands and displays where the 30 new start-up companies presented their service and products, the Business Fair's program included a presentation of BIP and Ministerial speech. During his speech the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Eng Mohammed Shia Alsodani, expressed his thanks to all friends at the Norwegian Foreign Ministry for their help and support in creating a nationwide program whereby the BIP BPD (Business Plan Development) training is facilitating the creation of many new local companies and jobs all over the country.

The Minister also expressed his hope that the number of local trainers in the BIP BPD training scheme will soon reach its target at all Vocational Training Centres in Iraq. BIP reciprocated by giving thanks to the Minister Alsodani , VT Director Khalil and the program coordinator Bahidh for excellent cooperation. As part of the New Business Fair program, there was also a ceremony where 20 local trainers from ten local BPD training centres all over Iraq received their formal Certification as trainers after having successfully completed the BIP BPD “Train-the-Trainers” program. The ten BPD centres in question are located in Salah Aldin, Abo Ghreb, Suq Alshiukh, Mahmodya, Dyala, Alnahrawan, Almutassam, Alwaleed, Balad and Aldjel.

Eight Mentor Trainers received their Mentor ID. They will each play a role as a key person in their business centres and will help all the newly started businesses when they need improvement.

All the 20 start-up companies that exhibited their products and services had qualified to participate at the New Business Fair by having successfully completed the BIP BPD training program. They all had with them not only samples of their products and services, but also their business plans, budgets and action plans that they had put together with help from BIP local trainers and the training scheme.

Many of companies have already started production on a small scale to demonstrate that their business concepts are viable and their products and service s are of the highest quality.

They are now waiting to receive necessary and vital financing in the form of Small Loans. When these are in place it is expected that their businesses can really “Take off” and they can fully realize the potential of their business ideas and create many new jobs around the country.

In addition to the Minister, General Managers, NGOs and TV channels attending the 3ed Small Business Fair, were 10 BPD centres Managers, 20 BPD trainers, 30 entrepreneurs, eight Mentor Trainers and many others.

New business start-ups from BPD course participants from 11 Vocational Training Centres participated in the Business Fair. These centres were VTC from Nasrya, Zafaranya, Mahmodya, Nahrawan, Abo Ghraeb, Almutassam, Alwaleed, Alshula, Alrusafa and Alkori Center.

The Labour Minister in dialog direct with a new business start-up and decides to grant Small Loans to all BIP course participants that really have a business plan.

- This was wonderful news for all the BIPs local trainers as well.

Minister of Labour & Social Affairs, VT General Manager, BIP Project
Manager and the new certified local trainers taking graduation picture

Training Mentor Trainers from the Ministry of Labour & Ministry of Youth & Sport

The Business Development Project in Iraq supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in its final phase.

From the 10th to the 17th of September, Bjorn Reite, Wiggo Slåttsveen and Iraq Project Manager Dr. Tahir conducted Mentor Training for sixteen selected trainers from the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Youth and Sport. In addition 10 trainers from the Women Entrepreneurship Project attended. A separate seminar was held in the evening for girls selected by the Ministry of Youth to be future leaders/managers.

This BIP “Growth Program” is the next step in building the BIP “pyramid of expertise" after the first two steps; “Business Plan Development” and “Business Start Up”. The aim of the training was to give the participants theoretical knowledge and practical tools to assist start ups in continuous improvement and growth. The main elements in the training were problem solving, growth, tools for organizational climate surveys and how to handle difficult people. The evaluation of the seminar was superb and all participants rated the content important for future work with business start ups.

13 women and 13 men are participated in this course. These trainers will be the first generation of BIP Mentor Trainers in Iraq. They will take responsibility for Business Startup trainings and the follow up of existing businesses established through the program in their regions. In addition they will function as a support team for other trainers. All were happy and full of hope for getting more training and knowledge.

Iraq Project Manager Dr. Tahir, Wiggo Slåttsveen and Bjorn Reite.

Najaf: MoLSA, MoYS & BIP Trainers Lead Second ToT Course for MoYS.

BIP Manager Dr. Tahir, Eng. Mohamed Abdulsatar MoLSA and Eng. Nawres Mohammed headed the second Train the Trainers (ToT) Program for the Youth & Sport Ministry in Najaf in the period 16-19 July.

The second group of local trainers for MoYS participated in this course to support the annual plan of MoYS Youth Projects. MoYS has nominated a total of 48 candidates to train to be certified trainers in 2014.
5 women and 15 men are participated in the course in Najaf. They represented the Directory of Youth in Basra, Babel, Dywania, Wasit, Najaf, Kerbala, Dyala, Karkh, Rosafa and Sadr.

They will concentrate their work on Youth Centers and achieving good results here. They will implement 3 courses with BIP local trainers in their Youth Directory area and will focus on quality control of training at the next session. These processes will lead them to become BIP certified trainers in Iraq during 2014.

Najaf: BIP materials are the tools of cooperation between Youth & Education.

BIP local trainers at the Youth & Sport Directory in Najaf made an agreement with the Directory for Education to start training teachers in secondary schools. The aim of this training is to be able to start teaching students in those schools about “How to start their own business”.

BIP trainers, Miss Lamis and Nawres initiated this activity on their own and have made very good relationships with key persons at the schools to start this kind of training for students.

The first stage was the training of 20 teachers from 10 schools. These teachers got started in the process and got 1-6 Business Development Plans. The next stage will be to start teaching the students in their schools.

This kind of activity means we are on target and BIP local trainers will provide a very good foundation to pave the road forward and enable Iraq to be built by Iraqis.

More than 60% of BPD participants in Iraq are women.

About 10,000 course participants have joined BIP local courses, since 2012. Women now make up more than 60% of the BIP course participants at MoYS and MoLSA. BPD courses, Start Your Own Business courses and Women Entrepreneur courses are doing very well. Since its start 2012 the Business Development project in Iraq has seen a steady increase in the number of women participants due to a number of factors which gives them the opportunity for achievement and for discovering themselves. Most of the women participants are under 25 years old and hope to start their own business and become financially self-sufficient and have a wish to ensure a stable life. At the same time we can say women make up very good part of certified BIP local trainers.

One of BIP certify trainers is Leader for Women Office, Eng. Layla Mahdi Altmimi who is doing very well and got off to a very good start with the implementation of Women Entrepreneur Courses (WE). Altmimi in cooperation with BIP in Iraq made a pilot project for Women Entrepreneurs. She gathered three ministries to make the project a reality. They are MoYS, MoW and MoLSA.

Altmimi made contact with the Red Crescent Association to get financial support for the WE course participants. The association grants small loan up to 3 million Iraqi Dinar (usd 2500) without interest to whoever has no job and wishes to start a small business. Altmimi is doing everything, working very hard, believing in the project and has made a full plan for 2015.

Eng. Layla Altmimi receives a Thanks and Appreciation Certificate from the Women Ministry’s Dr. Iptihal Alzeidy for her efforts for female empowerment.

10th Training for Women Entrepreneurs completed.

In Alrosafa, the 10th training of the Women’s Entrepreneur Project arranged by the Women’s Activity Office (Ministry of Youth and Sport), took place. Layla Altimimy was both the project leader and main trainer. She is a BIP certified trainer. Dr. Hussein Tahir from Business Innovation Programs (BIP) joined the course and supervised its execution and the quality of the training.

Eng. Layla Altmimi interacts with the participants on the Women Entrepreneur Course

215 young women have attended these 10 courses. They have many different kinds of business ideas. The backgrounds of these women are widows, divorcees and graduates. 

These women were very happy with the course and many of them prepared their business plan. The Women’s Office will change their name to the Ministry for Women which will send plans to the Labor Ministry and apply for small loan.

Third course of ToT Program for MoYS will be in Erbil

21 trainers from 12 Vocational Training Centers gathered for the second session of training in the annual program Training of Trainers (ToT) for Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. These trainers are on the way to be the third group of 60 trainers to become the foundation of a high quality training team in "How to start your own small business". Project Manager Dr. Hussein Tahir managed the course along with two local trainers who been certified in 2012; Eng Mohanad Jasim and Eng Mohammed Abdulsatar from Nasrya.

This second stage training was carried out from the 19th to the 24th of April, when 8 female and 13 male local trainers participated. During the 40 hours of workshops the 1-9 BPD forms were discussed and this included; Small business budgeting, 12 months financial operations, cash flow, summary of business plan development, critical factors and To Do list. At the same time the participants were instructed about how make a good Follow-Up system.

All trainer candidates have made 2 to 4 courses and will make not less than 5 BPD courses for Jobseekers until middle of August. All will then be ready for the last stage of the overall training at the end of program.

Humanitarian Organization for Norwegian Building Education in Kurdistan

Sherko is a working a carpenter in Norway. He has lived in Norway more than 15 years. Since 2005 he has been in contact with BIP in Norway and Iraq. Sherko participated in BIP training and had dream to start working in Kurdistan. In the last three years Sherko has worked hard to establish activities in Kurdistan while he has been living in Norway.

At the start of 2014 Sherko is running a non- governmental organization in Sulymania, the Humanitarian Organization for Norwegian Building Education. The purpose of the organization is to make training courses for those who wish to learn how to build houses the Norwegian way.

Sherko informs that the organization has trained 12 participants through 3 courses until now. A few of the participants are returnees.

TOT Progam for Local NGOs in Erbil

As part of its ongoing activities in Iraq, on 8/4/2014 a meeting was organized between BIP organization representatives in Kurdistan region Mr. Omar Karim Ahmed and the Organization for Youth Empowerment represented by its manager Mr. Bakhtiar Muhammad Mustafa.

The aim of the meeting, according to Project Manager Dr. Hussein Tahir, was to organize a Training of Trainers (TOT) program for a group of the organizations’ members in order to develop and prepare local trainers to be able to train more people in the organizations.

After discussions between two sides, an agreement was reached to organize a program for three month period and along three stages. The first stage is to train a group of the organization’s members beginning by having those individuals participate in a training course, and then each one of those would train another group of participants. The second stage begins when those trainers participate in a second and more intensive course. In the final stage the trainers participate in a concluding course where they complete the program to become certified trainers.

Dr Hussein Tahir received by Iraqi Minister of State for Women's Affairs

Dr. Ibtihal Alzedy, Minister of State for Women's Affairs, met Dr. Hussein Tahir, Manager of the Norwegian organization Business Innovation Programs (BIP), in her office in Baghdad, in the presence of Layla Altmimi, Manager of the Women’s Office- MoYS and Mrs. Ibtissam Sultan, coordinator for USAid org. Fouras Team.

Dr. Tahir presented BIP's program and informed about the goals of the organization which are aimed at creating long term job opportunities, as well as the ToT programs it organizes for MoYS and MoLAS. Tahir and Altmimi jointly presented the "Women Entrepreneurs" project and how the courses have been implemented to enable women to make their own business projects. Dr.Tahir also expressed his desire for the participation of officials and relevant people for developing human resources in the Ministry that could benefit from the courses.

The Norwegian organization (B.I.P) expressed great respect for the understanding shown by the Minister Alzedy. The Minister gave her recommendations to Altmimi to fully cooperate with BIP in order to develop Women's projects and programs for developing the abilities of the young women. Altmimi confirmed she would make every endeavor to develop the relation with B.I.P. and to effectively and constantly participate in boosting the performance of the project's participants.
The cooperation between MoYS and BIP will be the fundament of the next cooperation with Minister of State for Women's Affairs.

MoYS & BIP start Third Stage of ToT Program in Baghdad

BIP Manager Dr. Hussein Tahir started the start of third stage of the Training of Trainers (ToT) Program for the Youth & Sport Ministry in Baghdad. The five days course held in the period 19-23 March was the first stage of a process to certify a new group of Small Business Trainers.

The main goal of the training is to have more trainers and enough for all the 200 youth centers all over Iraq. 4 women and 19 men participated in the course. All of them have good training experience from other programs, and BIP will recruit all of them to start working in "Start Your Business" program.

They will implement 3 courses with BIP local trainers in their Youth Directorate area and will do training quality control. This process will lead them to become BIP Certified Trainers in Iraq during 2014.

Local Business Fair at Vocational Training Directorate in Baghdad

Thursday 6th March 2014 Deputy Minister Falih Alamry and General Manager Aziz Ibrahim attended the Second Business Fair at the Labor Ministry, Alkori Center. BIP Project Manager Dr. Hussein F. Tahir was also present at the fair. This is the second Business Fair after the Alrosafa VTC Fair. It is good start in 2014 when the certified local BIP trainers are organizing small project exhibitions.

Uday Assi and Amna Ihssan are BIP’s certified local trainers at the Baghdad- Vocational Training Directorate, and led this very good Business Fair. 24 young men and women showed 17 products. 18 of the participants were women.

The participants told that the BPD course is useful and had given the participants a good start in the right direction for success. The projects were Skin Preparation, Wood Preparation, a Bakery, Fast Food, Embroidery and knitting, El. Protection devices and others business ideas.

Alrosfa VTC organizes First Exhibition for Small Businesses

Assistant General Manager Nasir Ahmad attended The First Business Fair at Alrosafa VTC in the Alrashad District on 13th February, 2014. BIP Project Manager Dr. Hussein F. Tahir was present at the fair and talked to all participants. Firdows Luaibi and Mohammed Fadhil are BIP’s certified local trainers in Alrashad and a leading role in the very good implementation of the Business Fair. 19 young men and women showed a total of 15 products. 15 of the participants were women.

The participants told that the BPD course they attended had given them many things and taught them how to calculate the budget and other good and useful things so they can start without any major risk. Amongst the projects were an Aluminum Workshop, Sewing, Fish Farming and many others.

Third Training of Trainers (ToT) Program for the Ministry of Labour in Baghdad

Business Innovation Programs (BIP) has organized the first training of the third stage of ToT program in cooperation with the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs in Iraq. The aim is to complete the training of certified entrepreneur trainers in ten new geographical regions. The training is managed by Hussein Tahir, General Director for BIP Iraq.

The training was carried out from the 12th to the 16th of February 2014, and 22 employees and future trainers participated.

Together with the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs, Business Innovation Programs aims to certify 60 local trainers and establish 30 Entrepreneur Centers in Vocational Training Centers in Iraq. All these centers will organize Business Plan Development courses for jobseekers.

BIP Interview Labour Ministry Candidates for ToT Program 2014

General Manager for Business Innovation Programs in Iraq has interviewed Labour Ministry candidates for the Training of Trainers Program for 2014. 40 candidates from 13 Vocational Training Centers participated in the interviews. They came from Vocational Training centers in Soq Alshyokh, Missan, Dy Qar, Dyala, Tikrit, Dejel, Balad, Mahmodya, Nahrawan, Abo Ghreb, Alwaled and Almotasem. BIP selected 23 of them to participate in this year’s training program. The first course will start soon.

The First Training for Women Entrepreneurs

In Baghdad, Business Innovation Programs (BIP) main trainer Hussein Tahir joined the first training of the Women’s Entrepreneur Project arranged by theWomen’s Activity Office (Ministry of Youth and Sport). Layla Altimimy is both the project leader and a trainer. She is a BIP certified trainer. In cooperation with the Women’s Ministry and Labor Ministry she has designed this pilot project that is to be implemented in 2014.

The activity will be organized in 8 Youth Directories all over Iraq and the target group will be women. The first training was held at the Baghdad Alkarkh Y&S Directory the in the period 26th - 30th of January 2014 when 21 women attended. The focus for the training was how to start your own business. Six of the participants have made a complete business plan and are ready to start the process of realizing their idea. The first step is to apply for a credit from the Ministry of Labour. This will be supported by the Women’s Activity Office at the Ministry of Youth and Sport.

The aim of the project is to arrange sixteen trainings for approximately 320 participants all over Iraq. The training is managed by Dr. Hussein F. Tahir, General Director BIP Iraq.

The project is a co-operation between three Iraqi Ministries. The project was initiated by the Ministry for Youth and Sport; the Ministry of Women is coordinating it, and the Ministry for Labour is supporting the participants with start-up loans.

Minister of Labor & Social Affairs Opens Graduation Ceremony for BIP Local Trainers

Minister for Labor & Social Affairs Dr. Nassar Alrobay opened the Graduation Ceremony for the second phase of BIP local trainers in Baghdad on January 5th 2014. The ceremony was attended by the Minister, Vocational Training General Director Eng. Aziz Ibrahim, Labor Centers Managers and all the graduating trainers. The Minister’s speech hoped for continued cooperation with BIP in order to certify enough trainers for all the Labor Centers in Iraq. He gave great thanks to BIP and the Norwegian Foreign Office for an excellent project. The Minister thanked BIP’s General Manager for the Iraq Project, Dr. Hussein Tahir, for the good job done to certify the trainers. These trainers will continue onward and implement BPD courses at all the youth centers all over Iraq. There were 9 women among the certified trainers.

Now, we are ready for the third phase of the project in Iraq and have started to interview new candidates from new 10 Vocational Training Centers.

Minister of Youth & Sports Opens Graduation Ceremony for BIP Local Trainers

Minister for Youth & Sport Jasim M. Jaffer opened the Graduation Ceremony for 81 BIP local trainers in Baghdad 08/1/2014. The ceremony was attended by many dignitaries, all the trainers graduating, Deputy Minister Abbas Alshamari and many other General Directors. The Minister thanked BIP General Manager- Iraq Project, Dr. Hussein Tahir, for the good job done to certify the trainers. These trainers will continue onward and implement BPD courses in all youth centers over all Iraq. There are 20 women among the certified trainers. Now, we are ready for the third stage of the project in Iraq and will start procedures for new groups in February.

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