The pilot program “Startup Ecosystem”, which was carried out by the National Public Association “The Union of Economists of Turkmenistan” with the support of two projects of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – USAID Enriching Youth for Successful Tomorrow, implemented in Turkmenistan by JA Worldwide, and Entrepreneurship and Business Environment Development Initiative, implemented by the Palladium Group., has finished.
The goals and objectives of the program are in line with the modern economic strategy of Turkmenistan aimed at creating digital economy and effective innovative entrepreneurship, increasing the role of education and science as a driving force for sustainable progress of the state and society.
In the secondary school, the young generation of the country is given basic knowledge on market economy, entrepreneurship, as well as creative thinking develops. Scientific and technical creativity of schoolchildren and especially student youth is associated with the latest areas of science and technology, focused on the further commercialization of ideas and inventions, their application in the real economy.
In this context, the Startup Ecosystem program can be considered as an important and concrete contribution to strengthening the alliance of education, science and production using internal and external resources of international cooperation. The program engaged six local mentoring companies, which gained extensive experience and methodological skills in selecting, organizing and working with young entrepreneurs in creating new companies.
At the education stage, mentoring companies played the role of business academies, conducted a series of trainings and webinars on business and personal skills development for more than 100 residents (participants) of the program. As a result, young residents have enriched their knowledge and skills necessary to successfully launch a business start-up, improved knowledge on basics of business, forming business ideas, team building, business planning, marketing and other topics.
Upon completion of all stages of the Startup Ecosystem program, including attraction and selection of participants, education and acceleration, the two final competitions for the best startup project were held.
The final events took place online at the ZOOM platform on October 20-23, 2020 and included: Demo Day for finalists (start-up projects that took 1st and 2nd places in their mentoring companies); InnoPitch-2020 Pitch Contest for semi-finalists who did not advanced to the Finals; and Awards Ceremony for the winners and prize-winners of the competition.
There are 10 best teams – finalists of the program: Superkidstm, Ishim, Educational Board Game “Historical sites of Turkmenistan”, Educational Network Edubox, Sina.ai – Artificial Intelligence for Disease Diagnostics, Creative Cluster, Freelance platform “Chalt Ish”, Brothers – Science , Online Platform for Tests TestSpace and Tm Traffic Jam mobile application (Android version).
Six winners were awarded prizes and opportunity to take part in a regional competition in Kazakhstan. By the unanimous decision of a competent jury, comprised of foreign experts and experienced local entrepreneurs, the startup Sina.ai, Artificial Intelligence for Disease Diagnostics, took the first place and received a number of prizes from the Turkmen business community.
It is expected that the first Startup Ecosystem program, which ended this year, will be held on regular basis and will contribute to improving conditions for the development of youth innovative entrepreneurship in the country and creating new jobs.
The strategic result is the creation of the infrastructure and programme of the Union of Economists of Turkmenistan to support business incubators and business accelerators for startups, as well as the gradual transformation of some of mentoring companies into business incubators and business accelerators.