“IdeaLab” - laboratory where ideas are turned into start-up projectsOct 2, 2015
In Uzbekistan the first startup pre-acceleration program “IdeaLab” is being launched. The program is aimed at supporting the talented youth to implement IT-startup projects, creating new jobs and promoting startups in the country.
The dynamics of development and opportunities for self-realization are attracting more and more active and enthusiastic youth to the business.Low-investment IT-startups are becoming increasingly popular with young people. Here, the most valuable capital is the idea. The ideas of the youth in Uzbekistan are abundant. There is an interesting evidence proving that fact: to participate in the “StartupFactory” program - the first in Uzbekistan startup accelerator, more than 300 applications with proposals were filed for the selection of five competitive projects in the first round.
Given the great interest in launching their own business by young people, the joint project of UNDP and Chamber of Commerce and Industry “Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase III)”, in collaboration with the “Startup Innovation Group” company, is launching a unique project on supporting the “IdeaLab” pre-acceleration program for startup initiatives.
Pre-acceleration programs constitute an important part of the startups’ ecosystem in international practice. At this stage, participants test and appraise their business ideas and teams get intensive business consultations.
Under the project, the “IdeaLab” program will work with startup projects in three rounds. For each round, at least 10 startup ideas will be selected from the technology business and ICT fields. During one month, program participants will have the opportunity to consult with the field experts and test feasibility of their ideas.
“Together with the mentors, participants will test the ideas of their projects on the methodology of Lean Startup. If participants manage to build a team they will have an opportunity to test run a minimum viable product and get feedback from customers,” said Elena Selezneva, Head of Startup Innovation Group.
According to her, the "lean startup" approach helps to test ideas in the shortest possible time, choose a business model and insure against the creation of unwanted final product and costs associated with its development. The project will help participants to understand the weak points of their projects and explain how investors assess the attractiveness of startups.
To fully test the ideas “IdeaLab” program will provide each participant the opportunity to get individual counseling of trackers, attend master classes by mentors, get assistance with business analysis, legal and accounting support.
At the end of each round, ‘Demo-Day’ will be held, where the finalists will present their projects and attract investors to cooperate. The best projects will be able to participate in the extended and prolonged “StartupFactory” startup acceleration program.
“Launching “IdeaLab” pre-acceleration program is an effective way of increasing the economic activity of young people and expanding opportunities for their self-actualization in ICT field. The program will support attracting young talents into entrepreneurship, create incentives for the implementation of business ideas in the ICT field, create business and new skilled jobs, and contribute to improving the competitiveness of the economy and address social issues," said Usmon Rakhimjanov, Task manager of "Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase - III)” project.
In partnership with local universities, the pre-acceleration program will also conduct two-day intensive master-classes in three regions of Uzbekistan. Authors of sixty startup ideas, selected via open competition, will be able to improve their knowledge about the implementation of IT-startups, transform their ideas into business projects and participate in the startup pre-acceleration and acceleration programs.
The initiative is implemented within the framework of the promoting the development of inclusive business models aimed at creating new jobs, increasing youth employment and improving welfare of people with the financial support of “Sasol”, South African company, and the British Embassy in Uzbekistan.
“Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase III)” project is a joint initiative of UNDP and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is aimed at improving the business environment through introduction of online services, improving the regulatory framework, and the development of inclusive business models.