Director, AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative

Sulaimani, As Sulaymaniyah, Iraq
Oct 12, 2020
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Full Time / Part Time

Reporting To: President, American University of Iraq, Sulaimani

Location: Sulaimani, Iraq

Start Date: On or after December 1, 2020

Application Closing Date: Application is open on a rolling basis until November 1; interviews will start immediately.

The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani

The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) was founded in 2007 for the public benefit of all Iraq, and is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational, English-speaking liberal arts university. In 2011, AUIS moved to its new 400-acre marble-and-glass campus overlooking historic Sulaimani, a thriving economic center of more than a million residents.

The campus has 50 classrooms, high-tech computer labs, an expansive library, auditoriums, dining facilities, and sports facilities. Our 1,300 students are taught in English by faculty members from approximately 20 different countries; more than 40% of the full-time faculty are from the United States and 30% are from Iraq. The University’s acclaimed preparatory program is the only such program in Iraq to have earned U.S. accreditation (CEA). AUIS graduates have continued their studies at leading universities in the United States and Europe. See

Last spring the University was the first in Iraq to move online during the pandemic. AUIS has successfully continued student learning in fall 2020.

AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative and Takween Accelerator

Formed in 2019, the university-based AUIS Entrepreneurship Initiative (“AEI”) is uniquely positioned in the Iraqi innovation ecosystem to assist and guide the process of entrepreneur-led business innovation.

Mobilizing resources inside and outside the University, AEI plays a crucial role in helping young people develop the skills they need to innovate, in helping them connect with other stakeholders crucial to their success, and in helping other necessary elements of the ecosystem to emerge and grow. AEI’s role as a change agent extends not just to AUIS students and faculty, but to the broader communities of which the University is an important part.

In 2019, AEI helped to introduce new courses on entrepreneurship and innovation, and supported students in an international entrepreneurship competition. In 2020, AEI received a transformative gift to create a new business accelerator. The Takween Accelerator will seek to offer the complete spectrum of support for entrepreneurial development, including training in design thinking for idea expansion, seminars on advanced business concepts, a strong international mentorship program, seed funding, and meet-ups where like-minded individuals can interact.

Purpose of the position:

AEI is looking for an experienced Director to update and implement overall AEI strategy and programs, including the new Takween Accelerator. The AEI Director position provides an exciting opportunity not only to develop new, regionally-tailored methods to support university-based entrepreneurship derived from international best practices, but to oversee creation of a new accelerator platform that supports growth-stage entrepreneurs from across the country.

Qualified applicants will be offered a joint, part-time faculty appointment, open rank, in Business, IT, Engineering, Law, or Mathematics and Natural Sciences, reporting in that capacity to the Department Chair.

Compensation is commensurate with qualifications and includes base salary, health insurance, annual flight benefit, relocation assistance, and University housing. The position requires occasional local and international travel.

Responsibilities and Duties:

Manage AEI personnel, grants and projects, which involves planning, tracking and reporting on timelines, budgets, and tasks for projects and AEI as a whole.

Help maintain, coordinate, develop, and expand relationships with potential partners and donors in the region and abroad.

Supervise the Accelerator Director in the development of the new AEI Takween Accelerator.

Prepare and submit proposals for funding and other resources.

Support in development of new University academic courses and programs that support entrepreneurship.

Lead, with the assistance of the Takween Accelerator Director, the development of mentorship and investment networks across Iraq and the Middle East.

Establish media planning, portfolio strategy, and storytelling.

Coordinate with other parts of the University to ensure efficient and effective use of resources and capture of opportunities.

Key Skills:

Self-starter personality; ability to create and lead new initiatives with minimal supervision.

Adaptable and flexible in changing environments.

Experience and comfort working in multicultural teams.

Strong problem solver and collaborative decision-maker.

Excellent communicator, both orally and written, with a variety of stakeholders.

Team-oriented and willing to support colleagues and direct reports.

Ability to teach, train and mentor.

Education and Experience:

Graduate degree from a U.S. university.

8+ years combined professional experience in business startups or early-stage technology translation and related University-level teaching and administration.

Experience in managing multicultural teams and programs.

Experience in supporting, training or mentoring early and growth stage startups in different industries.

Knowledge of donor-funded or grant-funded project management.

Fluent in English; knowledge of Arabic or Kurdish a plus.

An understanding of the business and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iraq or other countries in the Middle East preferred.

Applicants should submit the following materials via email with "AEI Director" in the subject line, to [email protected]:

Cover letter

Curriculum vitae

No telephone calls, please. While we thank all applicants for their interest, only those under consideration will be contacted for a follow-up interview. AUIS is an Affirmative Action / Equal Employment Opportunity employer that believes cultural diversity is essential to education.

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