ASTANA – Astana Hub, an international technopark of IT startups, attracted $130 million of startup investments while exporting $165 million worth of digitally-delivered services in 2022, said Yersultan Yermanov, director of the IT Industry Development Department at the Kazakh Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations, and Aerospace Industry, during a Feb. 17 press briefing.
Kazakhstan plans to bring IT exports to $500 million by 2025.
“The economic profitability of any state in the world is characterized by its competitiveness in the market. The primary indicator confirming this is the volume of IT exports,” said Yermanov.
Astana Hub CEO Magzhan Madiyev said that developing the IT sector in the country’s regions is one of the priorities. The technopark’s experience will be used to launch seven IT hubs in the regions to attract new talent.
“This will enable young people to implement their ideas and tap into the global market. In particular, every year, regional hubs launch acceleration and educational programs to boost technological entrepreneurship and IT exports,” Yermanov said.
Astana Hub offers several free IT courses, such as Startup School, Freelance School, Tech Orda, and Beta Career programs. The latter, available online and offline, helps students find jobs and internships.
The Tech Orda program subsidizes private IT schools and issues vouchers to those who want to become IT specialists. As of 2022, the average age of students was 25, 40 percent were women, and 60 percent of students had no prior IT experience.
“To stimulate the development of IT education in the regions, the algorithm includes a special coefficient that distributes more vouchers to regional schools, all other things being equal,” said Madiyev.
By 2025, the program is set to train 20,000 IT specialists in the highest category. Madiyev added that the technopark intends to set up representative offices in Silicon Valley to facilitate access to venture capital and the global market for the most promising and competitive Kazakh-made projects.
The Astana Hub has established itself as an international ecosystem, according to Yermanov. The international technopark registered 320 foreign enterprises by the end of last year. According to technopark’s projections, the total export profit for 2023 will reach 200 billion tenge (US$447.8 million).