As part of its program called Youth-Oriented Innovative Employment and Livelihoods towards Durable Solutions (YIELDS), Mercy Corps partnered with MSELECT in conducting market-systems research in urban areas of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. The research was conducted for existing non-tech start-ups and companies to identify barriers and gaps in providing quality services and products, creating gig economy and tech-based employment, and supporting MSMEs.
This provided the knowledge that helps Mercy Corps to maximize digital technology opportunities in the non-digital sector by identifying and working with interested companies who can grow, hire more employees, and provide needed local services. The main objectives were to investigate the technology development sector's ability to create new high-tech job opportunities, and evaluating the IDPs and Refugees' ability to utilize these job opportunities
The research began with market mapping to identify the main acting actors, including MSMEs, businesses, technology providers and suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, etc., followed by desk report to identify trends on the digital technology used in the KRI. Subsequently, phase two of the research then included conducting customer demand surveys (CDS), key informant interviews (KII), and focus group discussions (FGD) with key actors within the value chain in the target cities. Subsequently, the analysis of the collected data began with value chain mapping of digital technology in order to identify the support activities and primary activities within the value chain. These components were considered during the data collection and data analysis. The analysis was conducted to identify and understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) from the digital technology market system value chain in both cities. Then, the most important constraints and opportunities were derived from the identified SWOT. Finally, appropriate interventions were proposed for derived constraints and opportunities depending on the responses from the KII and FGD.