EdTech company initiates start-up competition for Uzbek youth

ASTANA – Almaty-based online work database for youth recently launched the Silk Way Start-ups competition for Uzbek youth as part of the South-South Youth Leadership Initiative in advancing Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

Neupusti Team.

Neupusti Team.

Maxim Kim from Andijan with the Edunow project, the Uzbek analogue of, won the final stage of the competition held April 20 in Tashkent.

The winner will travel to Almaty for an educational tour to network with local youth leaders, EdTech companies and attend the GoViral festival. Upon return to Uzbekistan, the winner will be under the mentorship of team until his or her project is up and running.

“We chose Uzbekistan to work as part of the South-South youth cooperation. Uzbekistan has the largest population of our target audience – 17 million young people between the ages of 0 to 30. And yet, only five percent of our website’s traffic comes from Uzbekistan. To better understand the Uzbek youth, its interests, needs and capabilities, we launched the Silk Way Start-ups competition,” said Development Director Aizhan Kul-Mukhammed prior to the final contest.

Last year, the company received a grant by winning the third place at the first global Youth4South Solution Awareness Contest and set a mission to transfer knowledge for Uzbek youth. The project received support of Uzbek companies Groundzero Coworking Centre and Andijan Development Centre.

They want to share the knowledge they acquired working on their website with Uzbek youth to inspire them to launch a similar project in their country.

“Getting to know our existing and potential audience face-to-face is an excellent opportunity to get fresh feedback on our product and gain new partners. Ideally, we want to hold Silk Way Start-ups competition in all the countries of Central Asia,” she noted.

Launched in 2015, portal provides information on scholarships, fellowships, grants, internships and other self-development opportunities available at home and abroad. The website content is divided into four themes including education related opportunities, career-related opportunities, start-up development opportunities and artistic endeavour development opportunities. The website is a winner of national and international competitions.

Neupusti Team.

Neupusti Team.

The team also includes CEO Ardak Berdibekov and Editor-in-Chief Farangiza Shukasheva.

“Strategy-wise, our goal is to become a leading EdTech company in Central Asia. Currently, we are working on making our product more user-friendly. For this reason, we are developing an iOS app (will be available in the fall). We have partnered up with the leading developers in the country to create a high-quality product,” she said.

Kul-Mukhammed said that the paid subscription introduced last June did not affect their traffic negatively. The content is essential as most users love reading success stories of young people from the Central Asian region.

“We are very proud of successfully implementing a paid subscription model in a country where people are not used to paying for information. When users pay to access your content, it means you are doing something right. Only a handful of media platforms in Kazakhstan have a paid subscription. The majority relies on advertisements, and government funding,” she said.

The South-South youth cooperation brings together developing countries to find solutions to development challenges. Youth4South Solution Awareness Contest is part of the United Nations strategic commitment to helping countries expand engagement in mutual learning and solution sharing for more rapid and sustainable development.


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