A special event ‘Demo Day’ has finalized the third cycle of the youth startup initiatives support programme, where 18 teams pitched their projects. Best five projects received financial investment for further development of their startups.

This year, 419 teams submitted applications with their startup ideas, 92 teams were selected to participate in the ‘Startup Initiatives-2018’ programme and 18 teams shortlisted for the final stage of the third cycle and got the opportunity to pitch their startup projects to potential investors and interested organizations at ‘Demo Day’.

This year, educational projects, virtual reality-based trading platforms, crowdfunding platforms for startups, a bionic prosthesis production service, automated trade, catering management systems and other projects in medicine, advertising and tourism were presented.

A jury panel including business experts, successful entrepreneurs, evaluated the projects that pitched at Demo Day. Based on their ratings, five winners were selected, who received a prize check worth 40 million soums for the development of their startup from the Ministry of Innovation Development, and free subscriptions for use of working spaces from Ground Zero and C-Space co-working centers, as well as smartphones.

The winners of this year programme are the following.

1. ‘Little Big Media’. This is a service to provide an effective platform in supermarkets for placing digital advertising. The platform is a gadget with a built-in screen and the ability to recharge smartphones of supermarkets’ clients. The gadget will be mounted on the handle of the shopping trolley.

2. ‘Visual programming on Scratch’ being one of the backup projects this startup from Fergana is aimed at developing programming skills and algorithmic thinking of children, awakening interest in computer programming, IT creativity, which will subsequently enable them to pursue this career in IT.

3. ‘Production of the bionic arm’ startup provides services for the production and sale of the bionic prosthesis. A bionic prosthesis is an artificial analogue, structurally and functionally imitating the work of a lost organ.

4. ‘UniBus’ is an innovative technology that allows to calculate the flow of passengers, track statistics of passengers using public transport during the day, with the help of the built-in microcontrollers or microprocessors, as well as a smart camera working through neural networks.

5. ‘Startupmarket.uz’ project is a catalog of startups for crowdfunding.

The startup projects presented at Demo Day were developed as a result of intensive work of the Startup-iInitiatives Programme’s participants. Within the programme, leaders and team members under the guidance of trackers tested their hypotheses, created minimum viable products, tested them, studied the target audience, received feedback, tested the first sale, analyzed project shortcomings and improved them.

During the Programme, teams participated in a five-day seminar to learn the Lean Startup methodology, basics of startup development and ways to turn an idea into a successful business. In addition, leading experts from Uzbekistan and Russia hold workshops, including trainings on pitching startup projects to investors.

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The ‘Startup Initiative’ programme has been implemented since 2016 and is aimed at supporting young people in creating their own startups and developing entrepreneurship skills. The programme is a product of joint activities of UNDP and Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and this year is being implemented in cooperation with Ministry of Innovation Development, the Youth Union of Uzbekistan within the framework of objectives set in the ‘Yoshlar kelajagimiz’ state program with the financial support of the British Embassy in Uzbekistan.

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