Thursday, May 27, 2010

Iraq's Culture of Business

Continuing on the list of reasons why you should consider doing business in Iraq is: 2) Iraq has a strong culture of business.  Let me clarify.  There are three types of businesses/business owners I ran into when I was in Iraq:

1.  State owned enterprises.  These anachronisms were bad when they were open, and they're worse now.  As a make-work, counter-insurgency project, there may be some value.  As a business, I'm not sure what to make of them.

2.  Opportunistic men calling themselves "sheiks" and offering to do anything for government money.  Hey, why not?  There's lots of money to be had.

3.  Real small business owners who were dedicated, eager to learn and grow, and willing to work hard.

I went to Iraq seeking the 3rd type of business owner, and I'm happy to report that I found many of them.  My work focused on an industrial area north of Baghdad, called Boob Al Sham (or Bab Al Sham).  I won't go into detail, as Mechanical Engineering magazine just published an article I wrote about the area (link to that tomorrow, or as soon as the story is posted).

You have to look for good businessmen, and not fall into the easy trap of working with the person with the best English and most helpful attitude, but if you look, the right type of business partner can be found.

Have you done business in the Middle East?  In Iraq?  How did you find the business culture?  Let me know!

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