To provide Iraqi entrepreneurs with guidance and tools for starting a business, INI developed a handbook on small business registration. The handbook was designed to provide information on laws and regulations pertaining to small and medium businesses, as well as an overview of the business registration and incorporation processes and business owners’ rights.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are at the forefront of interest for countries aspiring to develop opportunities for creating jobs and contributing to national incomes. Business opportunities in Iraq are growing significantly; however, there was no guidance available on doing business in Iraq. Specifically, it is very difficult for small businesses in Iraq to find information on laws, regulations and steps required to complete the complicated procedures that are in place.
Currently, procedures are so complicated and nontransparent that entrepreneurs feel that the only way to successfully register their business is to bribe officials. Past efforts to assess the registration process have been undertaken by the World Bank, but they have focused only on the registration of companies.
The International Negotiation Institute (INI) proposed to compile a handbook on small business registration in Iraq to serve as a guidance tool. This handbook ensures that Iraqi entrepreneurs are familiar with and have easy access to the procedures required to incorporate their businesses as well as information on the associated timescales and costs for each step.
Those wishing to register their businesses struggle to realize their rights as a result of the complex procedures and lack of information available. This handbook assists people in understanding those rights. The handbook was produced in Arabic and Kurdish to cover the different rules and regulation of the Kurdistan region and greater Iraq.
This project was the first of its kind in Iraq. The handbook was intended to give potential entrepreneurs a realistic idea of the business registration process. This project aimed to supplement public knowledge about laws for doing business in Iraq. INI and the WJP hoped to impact the public by providing more information and knowledge about the process which would reduce corruption by encouraging people to follow the legally mandated process. The rule of law would be strengthened through the awareness of potential entrepreneurs.
Through meetings and workshops, INI was able to bring together all of the relevant parties to both obtain the information necessary for the guidebook as well as to facilitate share knowledge with other stakeholders. These workshops helped provoke discussions about the efficiency of the law, policies and procedures in place. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs declared during a roundtable in April 2011 that their offices would be open to discuss improvement in the regulations of the registration process.