We have many reasons to celebrate this week, and here is one more: Iran has officially joined the Global Entrepreneurship Week movement, proving that entrepreneurs exist in all corners of the world and that the creative genius of today’s entrepreneurs trumps the hardest obstacles.
With more than 15 partners running 20 events this year, the GEW/Iran campaign offers a new window into the country. We see a different story to the one dominating the headlines around nuclear capabilities or Iran’s strict censorship rules. It is one of web startups springing in the country’s high-tech community, and the Iran Web Club, an ongoing effort of the local GEW host, the Iranian Entrepreneurs Association.
We have not been deceived. Iran is ranked last in terms of economic freedom out of 15 countries in the Middle East/North Africa region, and is positioned well below the world averages. In terms of ease of Doing Business, as measured more recently by the World Bank, Iran ranks 16th out of 20 regional economies. However, the country’s entrepreneurs have not been prominent in analyses of the future outlook.
You will hear more from Tehran this week about the impact of Iran’s first Global Entrepreneurship Week, which promises to connect its entrepreneurs to the global grid of ideation to innovation, while building a stronger entrepreneurship ecosystem at home. Perhaps, after all, it will be the entrepreneurs from likes on the campuses of Amir Kabir University, Sharif University, the University of Tehranwho will be the true agents of change. For them, it is all not all talk, but rather all decisive, visionary action.