The Entrepreneurs Guild of Iraqi Widows


Project Title The Entrepreneurs Guild of Iraqi Widows


Contact Details Asmaa Al Ameen

Project Manager




Project description Working with stakeholders from government and the private sector, the implementing partners will promote a Women Entrepreneurs Fellowship for 6-8 widows in Erbil, following a ‘Train-the Trainer’ model.  The Fellowship will be open to widows involved (or those who would like to be involved) in conventional business as well as e-commerce. These fellows will then be invited to plan and design the Entrepreneurs Guild of Iraqi Widows in Erbil in the second phase of the project.
Project primary audiences


In Iraq: Women who have been displaced from their homes due to conflict. Widows in refugee camps and other temporary accommodation. Widows who are responsible for being the primary providers of the family.
Project Summary The fellows above will work closely with the implementing partners as well as business entrepreneurs regionally and locally to stand up their business models. The project will coordinate regular meetings and provide mentoring support to the Fellows on an on-going basis. Working with the implementing partners, will give access to real-world business and professional skills to the Fellows, providing them confidence to start-up their business ventures.

Once the business is set-up, through the network of the implementing partners and GIZ (QUDRA), the widows will have access to recruit other widows seeking employment. As part of this project, the widows will get receive training and mentoring over the next months till they are fully set-up.


This network of fellows will form the basis of the Entrepreneurs Guild of Iraqi Widows at the end of the 12 months.


The Guild will:

1) run an annual cycle of Business Plan workshops and leadership training

2) provide a hub for foreign direct investment and donor support

3) establish benchmarks of best practice

4) promote international standards of human rights and business

5) run annual product assessment and prize giving programmes


The Guild will also conduct business planning assessments and develop entrepreneurship, professionalism and sustainability of small and medium sized firms with a focus on e-commerce.


It will require certain standards to be a member of the Guild and the Guild will be self-governing and will ultimately aim to be self-financing.


The Guild will develop expertise in lobbying to influence policy and regulation in enterprise and e-commerce areas.


Candidates will be obliged to put forward a simple business plan outlining an idea for development within the Guild. The application process will be run by part-time members of staff who will be given the target of generating a list of 50 high quality applications. A shortlist of up to 15 of these will then be given free places at an in-country weekend convention, featuring presentations by Regional entrepreneurs, digital/e-commerce companies, branding experts and successful women entrepreneurs and investors. They will also receive a workshop in the form of a “Dragon’s Den” pitching interview and marketing brainstorm with business experts. From this, up to eight individuals will be invited to participate in a one week Fellowship programme focusing on leadership, business planning, e-commerce and networking. These eight Fellows will also be introduced to the Guild concept and taught how to create the Guild model together. The resulting Guild will take over the running of the annual application cycle for the in-country workshops judging business plans and, as the Guild develops, selecting projects to invest in (the establishment of the Guild will be Phase II of this project, subject to additional funding).

Outputs:  Indicate the project outputs/deliverables 1)   An Awareness Campaign

The campaign will be generated by the Project Coordination team on the ground in Erbil, in consultation with GIZ and the relevant Government of Iraq (GoI) ministries. The campaign will be designed to offer income generation opportunities and support to widows in IDP camps as well as those displaced by conflict in the region.


The impact of this campaign will be twofold:

·         Create an awareness of income generation opportunities available to widows in the current context

·         Provide the implementers with a deeper understanding of the issues they face and what would be the most efficient solution for the widows going forward


2)  Women Entrepreneurs Fellowship Programme

·         A well-established train-the-trainer model will be used for cascading training benefits across other Iraqi widows, acting as an incubator/kick starter model to scale across a wider section of displaced or conflict affected women

·         Women developing a robust business plan for their entrepreneurial ideas in the given context

·         A network of support from other women entrepreneurs and the wider business community offering access to mentoring, business skills, etc.


Subject to available funding and proof of concept above, the set-up of the Guild will be an output of the project in Phase II:

·      An Entrepreneurs Guild for Iraqi Widows

–      A training curriculum – offered by the Guild to provide continuous training and mentoring opportunities

Activities: ·         An intensive awareness campaign will be launched in coordination with GIZ and the Kurdish Regional Government

·         Applicants for the Fellowship programme will be asked to submit a Business idea

·         The best business ideas will be judged and the winners will attend a weekend workshop 
including leadership coaching

·         The best attendees will be then be selected to come on a one week Fellowship Programme to plan and design the Guild for implementation

·         The project will provide ongoing mentorship to support entrepreneurs to develop their business plans and implement their business ideas


At a later date, subject to additional funding, the network of entrepreneurs will be supported to set up a Guild.

·         The exact design of the Guild will be developed by the initial membership

·         The rules of progression, the content of training and development programmes, the management of the Guild, and awards will be managed by the founding members of the Guild with office holders by elected by the membership, having special chains of office and awarding medals for excellence in goods or services and business management

·         The Guilds will be a learning network that is self-sustaining through small subscriptions from members and subsidies from larger companies, suppliers and other donors including government and international organisations

·         In time, Bursaries will be made available for attendance at training programmes.


All aspects of training will be developed on a training-the-trainers basis and ultimately 
delivered on a peer-to-peer mentoring system by members of the Guild. 
This cycle will be repeated on an annual basis to build the membership of the Guild, ensure that there is a growing community who can do business and articulate their policy needs. If judged to be successful in Erbil  it will be rolled out into other regions nd the Guilds will be linked together into a national network.



The programme proposed here will create an integrated team who will design and deliver training and awareness raising programmes across the interconnected aspects of empowering women to make money from traditional and e-commerce methods. The programme will address requirements from legal and administrative structures that aim to promote growth of the economy while protecting cultural norms, and will provide the inspiration and skills needed for conventional entrepreneurship. They will do this through the vehicle of a Guild which draws together all these strands and provides a structure to deliver a successful outcome. 
During the first phase, an intensive marketing campaign, ongoing mentoring and facilitation of partnerships with key civil society and private sector networks will support the impact, scale and financial sustainability of the initiative. The aim would be for the project to be self-financing as a Guild membership organisation at the end of four years and for the Guild to be seeing returns on its investments in new business ideas by the end of year five.
Total Cost of the Project

Risk: Provide a brief outline of the risks that have been considered and how they might be mitigated 1.       Not generating enough interest among the widows in order to recruit participants of sufficient quality to attend the fellowship programme. This will be mitigated by the marketing campaign and the existing networks of the implementing partners.

2.       Security concerns preventing promotional visit to IDP Camps and other vulnerable areas. The implementing team have sufficient experience in operating in difficult environments to mitigate this risk.

3.       Individual projects not adopted or supported by key stakeholders/ unforeseen challenges to projects/ Not reaching milestones within the project timeframe. Flexibility in project planning and implementation and the ability to apply changes after real time evaluations, will mitigate this risk.

4.       Instability in Iraq and lack of political buy-in. The security situation will be kept under constant review and the implementing team are highly experienced in operating in challenging security environments. External inputs will be suspended if the security situation dictates this.


Project dates – Start/End  12 months duration from start date
Method Intervals Carried out by Beneficiary Involvement
1.       Establish baseline: Survey for all applicants to establish their baseline expectations from the program.

a.       The language of the survey form will be Arabic.

b.       Applicants will send in their responses to the project coordinator, who will collate all responses and send to the M&E expert for analysis.

Survey will be administered prior to commencement of the programme (Feb/Mar 2017)

The Survey will be administered by the Project Coordinator  
2.       Analysis: The M&E Expert will analyze the survey data (above) and produce a thematic analysis of the responses. This is to map out the training needs assessment on the ground and ensure there is alignment with the content of the programme and fellowships. Early April 2017 M&E Expert  
3.       Interviews: To further analyze the themes above, the M&E expert will conduct 1:1 interviews (in Arabic) with the shortlisted participants attending the fellowship programme Between May – June 2017 M&E Expert  
4.       Impact Survey: At the end of each workshop, the participants will receive a simple survey to complete to share their immediate feedback on the fellowship programme, facilitators, and overall management.

a.       This data will be analysed to assess how the workshop compared to the initial expectations of the participants gauged above.

b.       The M&E expert will identify metrics to evaluate the success and impact of the Guild at this stage (using the data collated so far). They will use these metrics to monitor progress on the Guild development and its impact over the course of the project.



Over July 2017 – 2 week fellowship programme


Over August 2017 – Jan 2018

The Project Coordinator will be responsible for administering the survey at the end of each workshop to all participants. They will also be responsible to ensure there is adequate response rate.

The M&E Expert will analyze the information.

5.       Reporting: Based on all the data gathered in the process above, the M&E Expert will collate a short final report on their findings to address the baseline level of understanding and expectations from the participants, detailed findings from each workshop, and the overall impact on learning and change in thinking. An additional input will be provided on the impact of setting up the Guild for Widows. Mid Feb 2017 M&E Expert