This post is written by Alireza Omidvar, Board Member of the Iran Entrepreneurship Association (IEA).
Iran has seen over 50 Startup Weekend events since 2012 and for the first time Samsung introduced a new theme, ”Social Innovation”, to draw attention to one the most important topics all Iranians are faced with on a daily basis. Social Challenges including Unemployment, Water Shortage and Health Issues are the main topics of most daily conversations and government announcements.
The Startup Weekends are the ideal events to involve the youth population in solving these very important social issues that haunt their own future. “Innovation with a Taste of Change”, powered by Samsung was last week’s Startup Weekend’s theme at KNTU in Tehran with the ideas on how to tackle social challenges with the use of technology. One thing was different from other Startup Weekend events; the main priority was shifted from profitability to addressing an important social problem.
The top 3 developed, Socially Innovative, ideas of this 54 hour marathon included “Bazaar-e-Man” (Persian for “My Market”) with the mission to connect marginalized communities to sell their home-made products; “Safhe” (Persian for “Page”) set an ambitious goal to sell books online with considerable discounts for the readers to help troubled publications sell their unsold books at an affordable price; “Faryad” (Persian for “Scream”) developed a web and app-based space for troubled citizens to voice their opinions on vexing social issues and find solutions with the help of their fellow citizens.
It is important to mention Samsung has initiated a new movement around Social Entrepreneurship and is planning to open a CENTER for SOCIAL INNOVATION in Tehran in 2015, so Young Students, Social Entrepreneurs and Tech Savvies come together to solve social challenges.