This is the story of Firuzeh Mahmoudi, founder of United4Iranand Irancubator, the first civic tech-focused startup incubator in Iran. She is also a creator of civil justice apps and a businessperson. Her business? Creating social good in a country she loves.
“Our mission is to improve civil liberties in Iran, and we do that in three ways,” says Mahmoudi, 45, who spent four years working for the United Nations in countries across the world as an international project coordinator before becoming a founder.
“We improve human rights. We support the civil society in any way we can. We build civic engagement and civil society through technology. That's what Irancubator is.”
The biggest challenge of all: they cannot go back to Iran. “The Islamic Republic coined me as an anti-revolutionary fugitive in one of their articles," Mahmoudi says. "Half of my staff are refugees who got out.”
So how do they build apps that work within the country—and ensure that they are safe for users?
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