UN program develops young entrepreneurs in Kurdistan
 Developing entrepreneurial skills among the youth of the Kurdistan Region is key to building a strong economic future, was the takeaway message from a UN training program that held a graduation ceremony on Tuesday. 

"We are laying the foundation for a responsible and dynamic youth contributing to the development of the country," said Peewee Culaton-Viray, chief technical adviser for the Employment and Food Security Project of the United Nations Industrial Development Program (UNIDO).

The training program taught educators from the Kurdistan Region’s education system in Erbil province and NGO and youth networks who will now take those skills into their classrooms, and IDP and refugee camps. 

Some 160 of their students aged 18 to 35, who will start classes this week, will benefit from mentors from the private sectors to help them develop and present business ideas to a panel of judges. 

The top 45 business plans will then be provided with financial assistance in terms of equipment and tools to launch their businesses.

"This will create jobs so that people will realize they are working for their nation," said Hayder Mustafa, Director General – Development Coordination and Cooperation of the Ministry of Planning for the Kurdistan Region. "This program is changing the ways of thinking for youth as well as women empowerment."

Japan helped fund the project and Japanese Consul Katsumi Moriyasu was in attendance to congratulate the graduates.

"This project came as a package of humanitarian assistance to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to help IDPs and refugees and host communities," Moriyasu told Rudaw.

"We firmly believe that entrepreneurship, especially for the younger generation, is an essential part when we think of the larger strategy for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the economy in this region.

"I firmly believe this is a good start for human development, especially for the younger people we expect to play a bigger role in society," he added.

Culaton-Viray said this is a pilot program in Erbil, but after an evaluation with the Ministry of Education early next year UNIDO hopes to expand to Duhok and Sulaimani provinces.

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UN program develops young entrepreneurs in Kurdistan
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