(Re)educating A Generation Of Entrepreneurs, Portrait of Mohsen Malayeri, Vice President of Iran Entrepreneurship Association


Mohsen is a startup enthusiast. He loves community and entrepreneurship. Founded a startup himself while ago, he is now helping the youth community in Iran to practice entrepreneurship. Mohsen is now the local organizer and global facilitator of StartupWeekend, and the vice president of Iran Entrepreneurship Association.


Can you introduce yourself? What projects are you working on right now?

My name is Mohsen Malayeri. I am currently the vice president of Iran Entrepreneurship Association. I have founded a couple of startups and one of them is now among successful ventures in Iran Internet market today.

Why did you start Iran Entrepreneurship Association?


We have seen a huge failure rate among Iranian startups. This was a big waste of energy, time and money for young entrepreneurs. There has been 2 main issues with their startups. Most of them had lack of monetizing knowledge and did not know about today startup tools while few of them did not have access to finance. So in IEA we are trying to build and develop the startup ecosystem in Iran.

Can you tell us more about what you do within Iran Entrepreneurship Association?


So IEA is a non profit organization that champions the entrepreneurial spirit in Iran by providing assistance to entrepreneurs using different initiatives. Our vision is to build a society prepared for entrepreneurship activities. We are helping StartupWeekend events expanding in Iran with the helps from local community leaders. We are also the local host for Global Entrepreneurship Week. We have some local initiatives to promote entrepreneurship as well.

Historically, what have been the milestones/dates/events that have contributed to the birth of the Iranian startup/innovation ecosystem? (for example, any laws, success stories, creation of incubators within universities, diaspora coming back to Iran, etc)


I believe it is the market itself that is transforming from immaturity to a mature state. Otherwise the ecosystem is now far behind and we at IEA trying to push this forward. We need to help the creation and promotion of success stories, identify the barriers and help improving the policies and regulations and engaging the diaspora. The university incubators are using traditional methods and need to be provided by best practices.

Which success stories make the population dream when it comes to startups?


Nothing replaces “Success Story” in ecosystems. Although young entrepreneurs now look at silicon valley heroes rather than anywhere else, however we really need local stories. We need someone like Fadi Ghandour (Founder of Aramex) and Samih Toukan (Founder of Maktoob) in Arabic countries. Those stories have totally improved their ecosystem. I am sure we can expect few success stories here in the next couple of years.


What is lacking in Iran? What should be done now and in 5 years to make sure Iran produces some success stories in the startup scene?


We need to be connected to the global community to learn the best practices and to adopt the latest tools. We need more attention to Iran emerging market. We need more investment specially hands on investment from experienced angels and VCs. We need to see accelerators to help developing the startup flow.

Thank you Mohsen! Check out our article on Startup Weekend Shiraz and Iran Entrepreneurship Association website if you want to know more.

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