Startups in the CAREC Region – June 2023 Edition

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A project supported by
the Asian Development Bank and the Republic of Korea e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund

Dear friends & partners,

We are delighted to bring you the latest news on startup ecosystems in the CAREC region. Our newsletter highlights various developments in the areas of startups, ICT, and digital transformation. 

We would be happy to report on your organization’s work, so feel free to share your story or article with us. This newsletter is distributed to various stakeholders in the CAREC region. For more updates join our telegram channel: https://t.me/CAREC_digital

Regards,
Team CAREC

Digitalization Policy and Initiatives 

Central Asia’s Digital Transformation: Investments in Biometrics and E-Government Initiatives
Central Asia, including countries such as Kazakhstan, is investing in its digital infrastructure and biometric industry. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the introduction of digital services, and the region is turning towards local solutions in the financial sector. Kazakhstan leads the region in e-government projects and biometrics adoption, with other countries like Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan also investing in digital strategies.

Pakistan’s Digital Transformation: SAP Empowering Public Sector and IT Industry
SAP Pakistan, in collaboration with the Government of Pakistan, is driving digital transformation in the country’s public sector enterprises and departments. Through the implementation of SAP solutions, organizations such as the AGPR office and Pakistan Railways have achieved improved efficiency and service delivery. 

Azerbaijan’s Central Bank adopts cybersecurity strategy to safeguard financial markets
The Central Bank of Azerbaijan has implemented a “Cybersecurity Strategy in financial markets” to address the risks of information security and cybersecurity in the country’s financial institutions. The strategy focuses on strengthening regulatory structure, promoting cyber risk management culture, enhancing information technology management. 

China boosts trade cooperation with Central Asia, welcoming digital innovation
China is actively promoting trade and economic cooperation with Central Asian countries, welcoming high-quality products from the region into its market. China plans to open its e-commerce platforms to Central Asian businesses, expand digital trade, and share expertise in cutting-edge technologies, while also enhancing infrastructure development and cooperation in various sectors such as energy and agriculture.

Opportunities and Upcoming Events

WeRaise program for women-led startups in Pakistan 
WeRaise is a World Bank-powered program implemented by invest2innovate (i2i) that empowers women-led startups through self-paced investor readiness coaching and training. Women founders and co-founders are invited to be a part of the WeRaise. 

MWC Shanghai event for the connectivity industry
MWC Shanghai is the largest gathering of the connectivity ecosystem in Asia, where leading companies and innovators discuss the future of connectivity. With the reopening of China’s borders, the in-person show will return to Shanghai on June 28-30, featuring debates, technology demos, and an event dedicated to 5G innovation.

Surge Summit for startups and investors in Tbilisi
Surge Summit is the premier event in the EECCA region for emerging startups and investors, aiming to connect, educate, and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. It will take place on September 5-7, Tbilisi, Georgia. 

CAREC Innovation Network Members’ Updates 

Ziauddin University and Hisaar Foundation: Driving sustainable water solutions
Ziauddin University of Pakistan, in collaboration with the Hisaar Foundation, has taken significant initiatives for water conservation and low-cost water resource solutions. Their partnership has solidified Ziauddin University’s position as a proud member of the Water Network, driving positive change and promoting sustainable water management practices through innovative strategies and expertise.

Promoting Angel and Venture Capital Investments in Tajikistan: Initiatives and impact by Tajikistan Venture Capital (TVC)
Tajikistan Venture Capital (TVC), the first venture school in Tajikistan,  implemented projects and activities throughout the year to promote the angel and venture capital investment market in Tajikistan. Their efforts included awareness programs, individual consultations, ecosystem training, development of a roadmap and quarterly round tables to update progress, discuss roles, and promote venture investments, leading to increased participation and impact on the country’s startups, investors, economists, and lawyers. For more information, please visit TVC Instagram page where you can find additional details and updates. 

Startup Ecosystem Initiatives 

CAREC Innovation Decoded – The People’s Republic of China Episode 
10 May 2023, CAREC Program has launched a new initiative, “Innovation Decoded,” to provide South-South learning and networking opportunities for the startup ecosystem players in the CAREC region. The first episode focuses on PRC’s startup ecosystem and features a series of online sessions that aim to provide in-depth insights into the development of the startup ecosystem and digital economy of China.

Uzbekistan launches President Tech Award to boost innovation and entrepreneurship
Uzbekistan has introduced the President Tech Award, an annual competition aimed at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the country’s tech sector. With a total award value of $1 million, the contest will recognize and reward the best startups in digital technology projects, offering cash prizes to winners in various categories and a Hackathon Grand Prix for creating digital solutions.

TopIQ Platform revolutionizes education in Kazakhstan with digital textbooks
Almatykitap, one of Kazakhstan’s oldest publishing houses, has developed the TopIQ platform, offering immersive digital textbooks to enhance education opportunities for children. The platform, which emerged during the pandemic, provides an interactive learning environment with multimedia content, interactive tasks, and constant communication between students and teachers.

Uzbekistan’s tech scene thrives as reforms attract foreign investment
Uzbekistan’s economic reforms and initiatives such as green economy strategies, privatization of banks, and public-private partnership laws are attracting foreign investment, particularly in fintech, e-commerce, and software start-ups. International investors are taking notice of the country’s growing tech scene and the government’s commitment to creating an attractive business environment, leading to increased funding opportunities and revenue growth for Uzbek start-ups.

Reading 

Uzbekistan’s tech scene thrives as reforms attract foreign investment
Uzbekistan’s economic reforms and initiatives such as green economy strategies, privatization of banks, and public-private partnership laws are attracting foreign investment, particularly in fintech, e-commerce, and software start-ups. International investors are taking notice of the country’s growing tech scene and the government’s commitment to creating an attractive business environment, leading to increased funding opportunities and revenue growth for Uzbek start-ups.

Mongolia’s Prime Minister outlines digitalization efforts for economic growth
Mongolia’s Prime Minister discusses the country’s plans for economic diversification and investment opportunities, highlighting initiatives such as the “New Recovery Policy” and the promotion of the tech sector through the “Mindgolia” platform. 

About CAREC Program

The CAREC 2030 Strategy emphasizes the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) across the CAREC Program’s spectrum of operations. As part of its CAREC Digital Strategy 2030 implementation and upcoming initiatives, efforts are being made to accelerate digital adoption in the Program’s five operational clusters.