The research is based on evaluating 14 different entrepreneurial frameworks derived from experts’ evaluations for each of the different frameworks. Also, it provides a comparison with some MENA countries and gives recommendations to develop each framework and the ecosystem in general.  

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This publication is part of Business LANDSCAPE series which a series of research publication aims to highlight the current situation of Iraq’s economy and private sector through publishing researches and data and make it freely available for the benefit of investors, and the local and international community 

This study is published in partnership with GIZ


Globally, the engine of economic growth is the private sector and its drivers are the entrepreneurs. The fall in global oil prices, over-reliance on imported goods, conflicts, and corruption, all adversely affected the development of the private sector in Iraq.

Since 2003, the internet has been made widely available and accessible to Iraqis. As a result many diverse communities emerged, including a great deal of programmers, graphic designers, photographers etc. Not long ago the Iraqi startups’ ecosystem started to form its foundation. This drew the attention of many funding and supporting organizations, local and international agencies and universities. 

This study aims to evaluate the ecosystem on various aspects, each called a framework and this is based on experts’ evaluations. A questionnaire-based methodology developed by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) was adopted to gain insights about the fourteen entrepreneurial frameworks.


Survey Frameworks include:

1. Financial support for new and small firms.

2. Government policies to support new and small firms.

3. Government programs to support new and small firms.

4. Education and training, with emphasis on new and small firms.

5. Research and development transfer to new and small firms.

6. Commercial, legal infrastructure relevant to new and small firms.

7. Internal [within the country] market openness.

8. Access to physical infrastructure for new and small firms.

9. Cultural, social norms that encouraged new and small firms.

10. Presence of entrepreneurial opportunities in the country.

11. Availability of skills and capacity to implement new firms in the general population.

12. The presence of motivations to create new firms in the general population.

13. Support for the participation of women in entrepreneurial initiatives.

14. The presence of conditions that would provide protection for intellectual property rights.


Iraq has a high potential for entrepreneurial opportunities and even more so the Iraqi youth is ardent and eager to establish new businesses. However, the lack of some of the most prominent motivating factors like sufficient research and development, adequate education, governmental programs and policies, in addition to limited financial support, have resulted in delays in the development process of the entrepreneurial sphere. 


In comparison to some of the MENA countries, Iraq scored below the average of MENA countries across all frameworks. Thus, thorough planning and cooperation between all stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem is needed to develop the current situation and achieve the goals of private sector development.


The market research discusses in detail the fourteen frameworks in comparison with the MENA region and includes recommendations derived from the findings.


Business LANDSCAPE which a series of research publications aims to highlight the current situation of Iraq’s economy and private sector through publishing researches and data and make it freely available for the benefit of investors, and the local and international community.