13 Student Teams Pitch their Startup Ideas at Demo Day

Nov 30, 2016

On November 30, 2016, a Demo Day of the Startup Support Programme will be held in Tashkent. The Demo Day is a final event of the three-month Programme, where finalists will present their startup projects to potential investors and other stakeholders to build further partnership.

In building a diversified and competitive economy, innovations taking a lead role. The driving force behind development and introduction of innovations has been small enterprises and startup-movements, both currently forming in Uzbekistan.

Startups are newly-emerging businesses, that are mostly evolving through innovative ideas that seek to meet people’s needs in ways never-before known.

Despite the fact that startups are created in different business areas, the projects in the sphere of information technologies usually are the most popular. Being low-investment, based on modern technologies and with the prospects of growing into rapidly developing corporations such as Google and Facebook, IT-startups are becoming increasingly popular among creative and self-motivated young people.

Global experience shows that the successful development of a startup industry is based on a combination of efficient policy, support for public-private-partnership, and assistance in promoting products and implementing support programmes in varied areas ranging from research and development activity to introducing new technological innovations into different sectors of the economy. 

The unique experience of Israeli innovations’ eco-system, ranking fifth in the Bloomberg Innovation Index of the world's most innovative countries, is a good example. Such a progress was possible due to the Israeli state programmes that stimulate private investments and ensure significant tax privileges, as well as due to the Government’s role in financing projects.

In Uzbekistan, the Startup Support Programme is the first initiative implemented with the government’s support. The Programme is implemented within the framework of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and UNDP joint project ‘Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase III)’. The project’s experts have studied global experience in this area and have developed methodological base on developing startups from ideas to ‘seed funding’ stage.

The Programme is focused on students and teachers of Tashkent’s universities. Universities are a source of initiative and talented youth, and are a place where innovative ideas, technologies and projects are generated.

The selection cycle of the Programme started at the beginning of this year. Within a month after the Programme announcement, 308 applications from 33 universities were submitted. Based on the preliminary results of the selection process, 196 projects were selected and interviewed. 66 of them attended the training on presentation skills and elaborated their projects under the supervision of individual trackers. At the final stage, 57 teams presented their projects to the experts. The experts were invited from government ministries and public institutions, private sector and NGOs offered their recommendations on selecting the projects to the support programme.

The main goal of the Programme’s current cycle is to test principles of supporting youth IT projects for further replicating them among universities, and improving the mechanisms of cooperation between universities and the private sector.

Within the Programme, startup projects learned about Lean Startup methodology, basics of the startup development and transformation them into business. During seminars with the participation of experts from the field of entrepreneurship Programme participants studied how to register business entities, taxation, development of web and mobile applications, elaboration of a strategy for promotion and development of startups. Under the guidance of the individual trackers, participants developed and tested hypotheses, created minimum viable products and carried out first sale of their products and services.

As a result, 13 projects out of 33 became finalists and received opportunity to present their startup projects at the Demo Day. The selected finalist projects are from such areas as education, medicine, fashion, restaurant business, creation of financial saving system, development of transport services.

The participation of the young generation in the entrepreneurship development has led to strengthening its innovative dimension and stimulate the creativity of the youth. In this regard, a significant role is given to the formation and development of startups created by young entrepreneurs who not only enable to generate new and innovative ideas, but also to create an environment for strengthening the competitiveness of the national economic sectors and to improve innovative potential of the country.

The Startup Support Programme is a new and prospective model for development of technological entrepreneurship, created to support young people in turning their ideas into successful startups. In turn, the success of the Programme is not only about creating new jobs and developing innovations, but also promoting entrepreneurial culture and engaging more youth into implementing new ideas and ultimately creating their own startups.

The initiative is implemented under the ‘Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase III)’ joint project of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan and UNDP in Uzbekistan within the framework of promoting the development of inclusive business models, aimed at creating new jobs, and improving youth employment and improving living standards of people. The project benefits from the financial support of the South African company 'Sasol', the British Embassy in Uzbekistan and the Management Training Programme (MTP) of EU. 

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