Martin pasquier innovation is everywhere Natalie corpuroglu startup weekend shiraz iran mohsen mayaleri

Mohsen is a startup enthusiast. He loves community and entrepreneurship. He founded a startup awhile ago and is now helping the youth in Iran 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 the Iran Entrepreneurship Association. I have founded a couple of startups and one of them is now among the successful ventures in the 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 have been 2 main issues with their startups. Most of them had lack of monetizing knowledge and did not know about today’s startup tools while some of them did not have access to financing. 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 organisation 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 expand in Iran with help 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. The ecosystem is now far behind and we at IEA are trying to push this forward. We need to help the creation and promotion of success stories, identify the barriers and help improve the policies and regulations and engage the diaspora. The university incubators are using traditional methods and need to provide 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 more than anywhere else, 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 a 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 to pay more attention to Iran’s emerging market. We need more investment, especially hands-on investment from experienced angels and VCs. We need to see accelerators to help develop the startup flow.

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

Contributed by Natalie Copuroglu, co-founder of Secret {W} Business, a community for women entrepreneurs, innovators and change makers in Asia Pacific. She is also a freelance web designer and a co-curator for TEDxSingaporeWomen. Check out her comprehensive blog of innovation ecosystems and entrepreneurs from around the world.