“Startup Initiatives” Programme: How is students interest in business growing?
The second cycle of the Youth Startup Support Programme was launched this year to cover students and teachers of all the universities in Uzbekistan. Compared to the previous cycle, the number of applications submitted has increased by 1.4, and the number of participating universities has reached 57.
Applications for the second cycle of the Startup Support Programme were received from March 6 to April 16. This year, the Programme is implemented by the ‘Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase III)’ project of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and UNDP in partnership with the Agency for Science and Technology.
The second cycle of the Programme received 419 projects, while the previous cycle selected from 308 competing teams. Girls initiated and lead 57 (14%) projects most of which representing universities in Tashkent. There was a total of 1067 applicants, including team members, with 143 (13%) of them being girls.
A group of young people aged 21-25 (56% of participants) proved to be the keenest to launch their own startups. The largest number of applications were submitted by students and teachers of the Tashkent University of Information Technology (11%), the University of World Economy and Diplomacy (10.9%), and the Tashkent Agrarian University (10%).
74% of applications were received from the students of the universities in Tashkent, following far behind are the Fergana (4%) and Samarkand (3.5%) regions and Karakalpakstan (3.3%).
The scope of the project areas turned out to be very wide, but the most popular areas included e-commerce, education, communication and navigation technologies, transport and road infrastructure, as well as medicine and biotechnology.
‘Startup Initiatives’ programme aims to support students and young scientists in creating their own businesses and develop entrepreneurship skills. The programme lasts three months and provides participants with the opportunity to turn their idea to a startup under the guidance of experienced mentors.
Successful projects will gain the opportunity to present their projects at Demo Day and at the National Fair of Innovation Ideas, Technologies and Projects to receive preferential loans and attract sponsors support.
Taking into account the experience of the pilot programme, the current cycle will be supplemented with new components and will be conducted with participation of experts. During master-classes the market leaders will share their knowledge, experienced entrepreneurs will track teams’ progress. The second cycle will be emphasized on providing practical support in the implementation of selected startup ideas. The experts will assist with legal issues, testing the value propositions, hypotheses, developing designs, software coding for a project prototype and searching sales channels.
In the first cycle of the programme, implemented from August to November 2016, out of 33 teams 13 reached the final stage and got an opportunity to pitch their projects at Demo Day with the participation of invited experts and investors. Six finalists are negotiating with investors on further cooperation. Details of the finalists' projects can be found in this brochure.
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