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2016-11-18


Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan - November 16, 2016 - AUK President Dr. Michael Mulnix welcomed students, faculty, and guests at a seminar on entrepreneurship. Speakers included members of the university's business faculty as well as local business owners.

Mulnix shared "his great interest in entrepreneurship" with students and faculty members, saying the entrepreneur's goal is to "own a piece of the consumer's mind." He contended that although some entrepreneurs achieve success without a college education, they are "far and away the exception" and proffered this advice to aspiring entrepreneurs considering an education in business: "Learn it so that it becomes a part of you."

AUK business professor Vijay Kapur provided a basic formula for successful entrepreneurship: "What is the unmet need there? Find a creative solution to meet that need...You have to have a fit." He stressed the importance of understanding the market's needs and resources. Dr. Enakshi Sengupta, newly-named chair of the university's business department, discussed entrepreneurship in Nigeria and the UAE, countries whose economies, like Kurdistan's, are largely oil-based but have begun to diversify. She named the desire to "be in charge of your own fate be your own boss" as a common motivation for those wanting to start their own businesses. Sengupta and Kapur run a free business clinic, open to the public, every Tuesday from 1:30 to 3:30 pm in the university's main building.

Casey Han, owner of Elpida Coffee, shared his experience as a foreign national doing business in Duhok. One challenge, he explained, was creating a demand for coffee in a tea-drinking culture. However, after several years of research, the former engineer took a chance and opened Elpida, his first business. He offered these words of inspiration: "It's about your passion, your desire, what you really want to do."

Vian Mayi, film director turned restaurateur and owner of Kutila Kurdi, credited her success to her father, who supported her education at a time when female education was unpopular in this region. Founder of the Duhok International Film Festival, Mayi has promoted women's issues and Kurdish culture through her films. Not surprisingly, her restaurant is all-female run and serves only traditional Kurdish fare: lamb-filled dumplings in various sauces.

Those interested in learning more about Elpida Coffee and Kutila Kurdi can visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Elpida-Coffee-527306120621941/ and https://www.facebook.com/kutilakurdi/. Information about AUK's free business clinic can be obtained by contacting Dr. Enashi Sengupta at enakshi.sengupta@auk.edu.krd or Mr. Vijay Kapur at vijay.kapur@auk.edu.krd.