Inspired by a childhood dream

Innovative gaming rental business thrives in Erbil

ERBIL — Ghanem Ahmed, a 22-year-old entrepreneur from Mosul, has launched a groundbreaking business in Erbil, offering rental services for PlayStation consoles, laptops, projectors, comfortable chairs, and more, with the added convenience of delivery and setup at customers’ homes. His venture, named “Sawa,” advertises these services at unbeatably low prices, echoing the business’s commitment to affordability.

In a bold move to expand his business, Ahmed now manages over 50 employees and plans to extend his services to four governorates, including the capital, Baghdad. Reflecting on the inspiration behind Sawa, Ahmed recalls the days of renting PlayStation 1 and 2 consoles in his childhood, a time when friends would gather and play until dawn. Ahmed shared with 964media “This nostalgia fueled my decision to specialize in renting gaming equipment and accessories, aiming to recreate those cherished moments for a new generation.”

Starting in Erbil six months ago, Ahmed and his team are preparing to open branches in Baghdad, Mosul, Salah Al-Din, and Kirkuk, employing a total of 58 staff members across these locations. The venture primarily targets youths aged 14 to 25, with a notable increase in female customers seeking to enjoy electronic games away from crowded arcades.

The project, which cost $60,000 to launch, includes expenses for devices, equipment, transportation, and other operational costs. To ensure the safety of the rented equipment, Sawa holds the renter’s ID as collateral until the items are returned in good condition.

Sawa offers competitive pricing, starting from 7,500 dinars for a 24-hour PS5 rental with accessories, up to 25,000 dinars for VR devices and driving simulators. The service also includes laptop rentals for gaming at 10,000 dinars for 24 hours, projectors and screens for 25,000 dinars, and recently introduced hookah delivery for an additional 6,000 dinars.

Ahmed’s venture represents a pioneering approach to the gaming rental market in Iraq, addressing the challenges of planning and executing a unique business model. Through Sawa, Ahmed not only revives fond gaming memories but also offers an inclusive and affordable entertainment option for Iraq’s youth.