The Autonomous Cluster Fund Astana Hub has summarized its activities for 2023, revealing that the volume of IT exports by participants in the tech park reached $282.4 million. Additionally, investments totaling KZT 57.6 billion were attracted, generating a cumulative revenue of KZT 400.3 billion, and over 25,000 jobs were created.
With the goal of establishing Kazakhstan as a leading digital center in Central Eurasia, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has set the task of increasing the volume of IT exports to $1 billion by 2026, preparing 100,000 qualified IT specialists, and expanding the experience of Astana Hub to the regions of the country.
“In 2023, with the support of Minister Bagdat Mussin and our partners, we successfully achieved all our KPIs. Our participants increased the export of IT services by 84.3% compared to 2022, covering 85 countries worldwide. The top countries include the United States, Russia, Mexico, Cyprus, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. The export potential of startups significantly increased due to acceleration programs, including successful collaborations with global leaders such as Google for Startups and Draper Startup House, as well as the launch of Silkroad Innovation Hub – a platform for IT startups in Central Eurasia in Silicon Valley. Regional IT hubs have been successfully opened in 14 regions of Kazakhstan, with 7 more planned for this year. The pilot project ‘National Innovation System’ for all participants of the innovation ecosystem of our country has been launched on the digital platform astanahub.com,” said Magzhan Madiyev, CEO of Astana Hub.
It is worth noting that the decision to launch the “National Innovation System” on the astanahub.com platform was made by the Technology Policy Council chaired by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov in December 2023.
Last year, Astana Hub became the first partner of Draper Startup House in Central Asia. This collaboration opened unique opportunities: 27 startups participated in an exclusive acceleration program called Hero Training in Silicon Valley, implemented in partnership with Draper University with the support of the World Bank. One of the program participants, CITIX, successfully attracted $1 million in investments from Tim Draper, confirming the success of the collaboration between Astana Hub and Draper Startup House in supporting innovative projects in Central Eurasia.
Graduates of the Techpreneurs, Startup Garage, Scalerator, and Global Outsourcer acceleration and incubation programs made sales totaling KZT 455 million. Participants in the Silkway Accelerator collectively attracted $26 million in investments, reaching a total company valuation of over $400 million. Thanks to sponsors and partners, the prize fund of the most popular startup battle, Astana Hub Battle, increased to $125,000. The third cohort of the Seed Money program has also been launched, with 11 startups selected for financing from Astana Hub, receiving up to KZT 10 million.
At the largest international conference, TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, held in September in the United States (San Francisco, California), 14 startups from Central Eurasia were presented. The majority of these startups are graduates of the acceleration programs at Astana Hub and are currently successfully scaling their projects in global markets.
The year 2023 marked the starting point for the export of educational programs to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. Under the Tech Orda program, implemented by Astana Hub on the initiative of the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation, and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 3,183 Kazakhstani citizens received grants for training in leading IT schools. A contract was signed to open an Apple Training Center at Astana Hub for Swift development. More than 2,000 schoolchildren and students underwent intensive educational courses at the tech park. Additionally, thanks to the IT-Aiel program, launched with the support of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2,000 unemployed women had the opportunity for free education.
The international IT forum Digital Bridge-2023, which attracted over 30,000 participants, including delegations from 30 countries, became the most significant in Central Eurasia. The forum included 55 panel sessions, roundtable discussions, keynote presentations, and featured 450+ startups and IT companies, 450 speakers, and 100+ investors and business angels. Traditionally, the opening took place in the form of a plenary session with the participation of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, venture investor, co-founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Tim Draper, CEO of TikTok Shou Chu, Vice President of SpaceX for Starlink Lauren Dreier, and other global leaders. The Google for Startups partner summit also took place, bringing together 15 technology leaders from Europe, China, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
In 2023, Astana Hub organized 446 events attended by approximately 20,000 guests. Three hackathons and six scouting events were conducted in collaboration with partners, involving over 300 startups, with 23 selected for piloting and implementation in companies. The GameDev Center, in collaboration with Playrix, Mytona, and G5 Games, organized over 40 conferences, lectures, and meetups.
Astana Hub’s activities are focused on creating and developing an ecosystem for IT business, training IT specialists, and supporting startup projects. Currently, the tech park has registered 1,388 IT companies, including 389 with foreign participation. They receive comprehensive support, including business development and scaling programs, special tax and visa conditions, informational and educational support, and material infrastructure.
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