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Tech savvies come together as Erbil hosts technology fair

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Tech savvies come together as Erbil hosts technology fair

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 07, 2023 2:35 am

Erbil hosts technology fair

Erbil on Tuesday hosted the fourth round of the HITEX fair, where dozens of international and local companies, entrepreneurs, and students showcased their products in the technology and business sectors amid an ongoing digitalization campaign in the Kurdistan Region

The four-day event consists of dozens of different companies, universities, and businesses that work in the field of technology, along with panels that discuss technological development in the Kurdistan Region and e-governance. It hosted several local and international companies with each company presenting their products and services to visitors in a bid to strengthen their own networks.

“These kinds of events gather a large number of companies, entrepreneurs, government institutions, NGOs, also the representatives of different companies, so that Erbil and KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] prioritize the importance of digital development in the region,” KRG Minister of Transportation and Communications Ano Abdoka told Rudaw English.

“The vision is that [for the KRG] to go fully digital by 2025,” he added.

The event was launched by Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Masrour Barzani, who attended the booths of the showcased projects and ideas. The fair comes as Barzani’s cabinet undertakes a region-wide effort working towards gradually digitalizing government affairs and processes.

“As I see it, HITEX today is a part of the KRG and PM’s vision for Digital Transformation 2025,” Abdoka said.

Many international and local companies participated in the fair to showcase their products. The local companies viewed it as an opportunity to grow their businesses, while the international companies see the Kurdistan Region as an ideal zone for further technological advancement.

“From the morning until now, I have seen many youth showing interest in our products,” Rahul Upadhyay, product manager of the Japanese electronics company Epson, told Rudaw English, expressing optimism at the interest shown by the youth in Erbil towards various innovations.

Others saw the event as an opportunity to benefit from the potential customers and publicity the fair could bring to their products.

“This is the first time we are participating in HITEX. Our aim is to introduce our app to those who are yet to know us,” said Lozan Mustafa, application manager of Show Market, a local shopping-from-home application.

Aro Dana, 16, has six years of experience in the technology industry. He gave a speech on the event on behalf of Rwanga Foundation, a HITEX partner.

Last year, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Dana and a team of Kurdish volunteers who contributed to the addition of the Kurdish Sorani dialect to Google Translate.

“I was honored to give a speech representing Rwanga and myself, and talk about our projects and how to influence more youth to improve Kurdistan,” Dana told Rudaw English, adding that he eyes more projects in the future.

According to Kamiran Shirvan, Rwanga’s program director, the foundation will select ten out of 32 start-ups to provide financial support to so that they can upscale their projects. The selections will be made based on competitive eligibility criteria.

Several other ideas were showcased at the fair, including an application that can engage in conversations and transcribe in Kurdish, named after the world-famous trending ChatGPT but with a Kurdish touch.

KurdGPT is what Ahmed Najm, the founder, calls the application, which can also create AI-generated images based on prompts in Kurdish.

“I wanted our people to benefit from artificial intelligence platforms like ChatGPT, but most of our people cannot speak English,” Najm told Rudaw English. He said that he aimed to get the necessary funds to boost his application in the Kurdistan Region.

Some of the fair’s participants wanted to bring existing technological services from other countries to the Region. This was the case when Shwan Sarwan developed Psoola (Kurdish for ticket), an application that enables users to buy tickets for events, cinemas, and concerts online.

“Psoola is the first online ticketing application in the Kurdistan Region,” Sarwan said, hoping that his application could receive attention from users so that he could improve his services and use potential investments to further advance his application.

The HITEX technology fair will continue over Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in Erbil International Fairground inside the city’s Sami Abdulrahman Park.
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Tech savvies come together as Erbil hosts technology fair



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