NUR-SULTAN – The Asian Development Bank has launched a new platform to improve the ecosystem for startup businesses and discuss potential avenues for collaboration as part of its Central Asia Economic Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program during a virtual event that gathered government officials, business incubators, start-up accelerators, IT parks, students, and investor communities from CAREC’s member countries on June 30, reports the bank’s press service.
The platform launched last Thursday consists of an interactive startup ecosystem map that will help locate and identify different players in the startup ecosystem in the CAREC region, and an innovation network to share information and resources. These tools are expected to nurture startups by connecting them with the resources they need, building partnerships, and ultimately facilitating business and economic growth in the region.
“Initiatives such as this will help to set the stage for the technology-based growth of the future and position the Central Asian region for a new digital age of prosperity,” said Asian Development Bank (ADB) Director-General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov. “Regional cooperation can also help to address regional disparities and ensure more equitable access to technology.”
“There are many successful business people in the CAREC region, they just might not know the startup ecosystem so well and the opportunities it presents,” said USAID Future Growth Initiative Director Filip Stoyanovich during the panel discussion. “I think one of the greatest things that need to happen for startup ecosystem development is mentorship – regional, cross–country, and international mentorship from all global hubs. That’s how we connect and that’s how we put our region on the global map.”
The CAREC Program promotes economic growth and sustainable development in the region through cooperation among its member countries, supported by development partners. CAREC’s members include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The CAREC Digital Strategy 2030 envisions partnerships for innovative startups that will foster the economies of these countries.
The development of an innovation ecosystem has also been a priority for Kazakhstan. Its key targets at the moment are training at least 100,000 high-qualified IT professionals, and raising the export of IT goods and services to US$500 million by 2025.