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This post is written by Hamidreza Ahmadi, Startup Weekend Organizer and Managing Director of the Iran Entrepreneurship Association (IEA).

When Iran hosted its first Startup Weekend in September 2012, few thought the event series would grow at the rate it has. Since the first edition, 31 events have been organized in 17 cities, and more than 3,000 Iranians have attended a Startup Weekend.

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Pictures from Tehran’s first Startup Weekend Woman’s Edition –> read more

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3 years of Startup Weekend Iran attendee growth 

As Startup Weekend Organizers, this blossoming popularity made it imperative that our community gather together, to share organizing challenges, and forge better strategies for leadership. During this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Qazvin, and Sari organized Startup Weekends, and celebrated entrepreneurship along with the rest of the world.

The first Summit of Iranian Startup Weekend Organizers was held with 50 organizers from cities around Iran. Organizers from each city presented their unique challenges and experiences, and the group talked extensively about how Startup Weekend Organizers connect different types of startup talent in each of their respective cities.

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“Between Startup Weekends there are tons of other things that can be accomplished to further advance the community.”

During the Summit, the Iran Entrepreneurship Association (IEA) introduced the 100X100 Project to further support local Organizers in Iran.

The biggest challenges facing organizers is finding a suitable venue, and sponsors to help with the costs of the event… these two challenges alone have caused many energetic, enthusiastic organizer to back out. Through the 100×100 Project, and with support from the IEA, we hope to host 100 Startup Weekends over the next three years in Iran, as a way to educate and connect entrepreneurs.

Organizing a Startup Weekend can be difficult in Iranian cities where the demand for technological entrepreneurship is not obvious, and potential sponsors often overlook such tech meetups. The 100X100 Project is intended to broaden community understanding of entrepreneurship, by connecting organizers with local universities, NGOs, and public/private institutions that can make entrepreneurial gatherings possible.

In addition to the IEA, the 100×100 Project is supported by the Innovation Acceleration Center, Avatech Accelerator, Sarava Private Venture Capital, Pardis Tech Park and the Innovation Tech Fund. This supportive combination of density, access to capital, and regulatory insight represent three of the key ingredients for a thriving startup and innovation ecosystem. 


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