• Hayder Alla’ Abdulzahra is a young Iraqi entrepreneur who aims to improve access to medical services.
  • Hayder is developing an app to provide online medical consultations, advice, tutorials, prescriptions and other services to Iraqis.
  • To build his entrepreneurial skills, Hayder joined the UNITAR Great Ideas Space 2022: Entrepreneurship for Public Health and COVID-19 Recovery programme.

25 May 2023, Hiroshima, Japan - Baghdad is home to a growing community of entrepreneurs looking to make a mark. However, without the proper experience and tools, many of these aspiring business owners struggle to make it through the tough initial startup stages. 

Hayder Alla’ Abdulzahra is a motivated young Iraqi entrepreneur who is committed to making a difference. On top of his professional roles as a dentist in the public sector and brand manager for his family’s creative agency, Hayder is preparing to launch his startup: an app that will facilitate Iraqis’ access to medical services. 

As a healthcare worker, Hayder has an insider’s view of how the Iraqi medical system works and the challenges it faces – challenges that include high prices, lack of access to appropriate care, and corruption. For example, Hayder believes that some doctors push for medications or supplements that the patient might not need. 

Maybe you need one medication, but you get prescribed nine medications and supplements, because [the doctor] is benefiting from that. This is not professional at all. We need to fix this, he says.

To improve access to medical services, Hayder’s app will provide users with online medical consultations, medical advice, tutorials, printed prescriptions and other services like online orders. While there have been similar apps on the market, they were not well-developed and none of them succeeded. 

With his vision, and experience in health care and brand management, Hayder is in a unique position to successfully launch his app. To maximize his chances and build his entrepreneurial skillset, Hayder turned to the UNITAR entrepreneurship training programme.

UNITAR experience: Inspiration and connection


Hayder discovered the UNITAR programme through a friend in 2018, who told him about the entrepreneurial workshops and the training in Japan. The programme aligned with his interests but, due to the pandemic and the global situation, Hayder had to wait until 2022, when he joined the Great Ideas Space 2022: Entrepreneurship for Public Health and COVID-19 Recovery programme.

The first two phases of the programme were delivered via an online platform, affording Hayder the convenience to complete the programme at his own pace and schedule. As one of the top performers in the two phases, Hayder was then invited to join the third phase, in-person training in Hiroshima, Japan.

Hayder found the programme comprehensive, going beyond mere classroom instruction. He joined study tours and cultural activities, as well as visited the ambassador of Iraq to Japan at the embassy. Hayder enjoyed meeting his fellow learners in person and found inspiration from exchanging ideas about their projects and discussing what they were learning.

The programme focused on real-world applications and guided students through transforming their ideas into successful projects, starting with the basics and progressing into more advanced topics such as problem-solving and experimentation. The course also stressed the importance of being adaptable – seeing how one’s project performs in the real world and making adjustments.

Looking to the future: “Always keep trying”

Ultimately, Hayder found the UNITAR programme “inspiring”, instilling in participants the mindset to succeed in their projects. With UNITAR providing a pillar of support, training and tools, no dream is too big, and failure is acceptable as long as you keep trying.

Always keep trying – the entrepreneurial journey is not easy

As UNITAR Hiroshima Office commemorates its 20th anniversary, Hayder was optimistic for the next 20 years, anticipating that UNITAR’s efforts will yield tangible benefits for its learners, the entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow.

He conveyed his warmest wishes for the occasion. With admiration and gratitude, he says:

Happy anniversary UNITAR Hiroshima!


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a United Nations agency that promotes decision-making for a better future through training individuals and groups. Established in 1963, UNITAR reached 370,139 learners through its courses in 2021. In addition to its headquarters in Geneva, UNITAR has offices in New York, Hiroshima, and Bonn, as well as other networks around the world. UNITAR Division for Prosperity shares world-class knowledge and skills related to entrepreneurship, leadership, trade and finance, digital technologies, and disarmament. Especially from its Hiroshima Office and in training for learners from conflict and post-conflict countries, UNITAR incorporates Hiroshima’s rise from the atomic bombing to the current peaceful city as a model of reconstruction. In 2019, the UNITAR Association was established as a public support organization in Japan. It supports UNITAR through publicity and awareness-raising in Japan.

United Nations Online Volunteer Muna El-Mufti contributed to this article.

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