On March 15, 2023, Almaty Management University (AlmaU) hosted the second Almaty Forum “TechnoWomen Central Asia: Ozine sen!”, dedicated to discussing the most pressing issues of women’s involvement in digitalization. The forum was attended by women IT entrepreneurs and professionals from the technological industries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. In total, about 700 people took part in the forum. According to Lyazzat Satiyeva, Chairman of the Board of Eurasian Bank JSC, the support of startups, and especially women’s startups, is of great importance for any society. “As practice shows, gender equality is not only a matter of justice for all members of human society, but also an effective tool for the social and economic development of the country. Women of Central Asia have a huge, but as yet undiscovered potential, and therefore the support of female startups in the format of a battle at the TechnoWomen forum is a very necessary and useful initiative. I think the interest that the presented projects aroused among professional venture business participants is a vivid confirmation of this,” she said.The program of the event included presentations in the TW Talks format about what professions and trends exist in IT, how to build a career in this field and go from developer to company manager. Practical recommendations on attracting investments in a startup, the correct construction of its financial model and the promotion of its IT products on the market were also announced. Chairman of the Management Board of Otbasy Bank JSC Lyazzat Ibragimova, who has held senior positions in large financial organizations in Kazakhstan for many years in a row, spoke about what prevents women from achieving success and gave her recommendations. “The main obstacle to success is, first of all, the person himself. Clearly formulated goals and objectives, consistency and perseverance can work wonders. Believe in yourself!” she urged.
For her part, Aziza Shuzheyeva, President of the TechnoWomen Association, noted the important role of women in the development of the economy of any country: “Our TechnoWomen organization makes a big bet on professional growth and improving the digital competencies of women in Central Asia. If there are more progressive women in our region, we will get a completely different quality of economy and motivation in society. Today we are actively working in this direction, cooperating with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, developing special programs with universities. We are taking a large-scale approach to improving the quality of women’s human capital and believe that this will give the greatest growth to our country and the Central Asian region as a whole.” A speaker from Kyrgyzstan, CEO and co-founder of an online fitness platform that helps women improve their health and get professional help in NB FIT workouts, Syrga Tilekova, noted that despite the fact that success is never guaranteed, it is always the result of hard work, active search and quite a bit of luck. Her speech on the topic “How to launch a startup?” aroused considerable interest among the audience, and not by chance, because NB FIT is the first Femtech project from Kyrgyzstan with users from 73 countries of the world!According to Asem Nurgaliyeva, Advisor to the Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry, as well as co-founder of TechnoWomen, the opportunity to get acquainted with such stories of successful IT women from the countries of the region is an important advantage of the forum: “One of our common tasks with the state is to make sure that in Kazakhstan by 2025 there were at least 100 thousand IT specialists. As women, we can already influence this indicator, both through the upbringing of our children and through the conversion of girls from other industries into the IT sphere. We ourselves should strive to be what we want the new generation to be,” she notes.
One of the key events of the forum was the TechnoWomen Start-up Battle, the largest global pitch competition for exponential startups invented by women and girls that have the potential to scale into a large company. Thus, for many free businesswomen, the TechnoWomen forum has become an ideal platform to announce their ideas and receive financial support for their implementation. In total , eight teams passed the qualifying stage of the battle:
- Mede Aruzhan with the MPRO project – an ecosystem for successful interaction between employers and specialists;
- Aidana Aituarova, Ayan Udali and Alikhan Alimbek with the Alfred the lock project. In fact, it is a blockchain key for any entrance door, office, parking, hotel room, turnstiles – all in one application;
- Eralieva Laura and her nanny search service YAYA. It is noteworthy that the project is already working and making a profit;
- Marat Arlan and Rakhmet Sayazhan – with the Food Freshnes project – indicators of freshness of food for smart packaging;
- Aisha Nurakhmet with the medical application “dAIgnosis;
- Ilya Lyashenko in with an actively developing mobile application that systematizes and combines all possible ways to help animals United Paws;
- Aizharkyn Burkanova (Kyrgyzstan) with the project Perimetr – a service for the prompt delivery of food, groceries and household goods; and
- Begimai Abdyzhaparova (Kyrgyzstan) and her project of an online school for teachers MUGALIM.
By the decision of the jury, the winners of TechnoWomen Start-up Battle were:
- The place was taken by Aisha Nurakhmet, a schoolgirl of the Russian Medical School of Almaty with the medical application “dAIgnosis”. She received a grant in the amount of 1 million tenge;
- The place was taken by Aizharkyn Burkanova (Kyrgyzstan) with the service Perimetr for the delivery of food, groceries and household goods from nearby places. Aizharkyn became the winner of TechnoWomen Start-up Battle in Kyrgyzstan and received a grant in the amount of 500.0 thousand tenge.
- The place was taken by Laura Eralieva with the YAYA service for finding a nanny, whose mission is to support parents in helping with the care and development of children. Laura received a development grant in the amount of 800.0 thousand tenge;
In addition, the finalists were able to personally discuss practical issues of implementing their business ideas with experts and became participants in mentoring programs from Tumar Venture Fund, Most Ventures, MyVentures, Eurasian Bank and AGInvest).
Another important moment of the event was the awarding of women leaders according to TechnoWomen in ten different nominations having a technological and social orientation:
- Nurgul Iskakova and her Smartbridge project became the winner in the TechnoWomen Govtech Leader – 2023 nomination;
- The winner in the TechnoWomen Fintech Leader – 2023 nomination was Aigerim Kilybayeva and her Junior Banking application project for teaching children literacy;
- The winner in the TechnoWomen Medtech Leader – 2023 nomination was Daria Tomilova and her project Center for Remote Monitoring of Pregnant Women;
- The winner in the TechnoWomen Edtech Leader 2023 nomination was Anel Shakenova, her project of the Finagers educational platform;
- The winner in the TechnoWomen IT Product Leader 2023 nomination was Alua Korpebayeva and her Clevermarket project;
- The winner in the TechnoWomen Leader-Mentor 2023 nomination was Zhanara Izimova and her project First Career School and Googleworkshop #IAmRemarkable;
- The winner in the nomination Dara Tumenbayeva became the leader of the Women’s Movement, as the leader of the Kazakhstan movement WomenTechmakers;
- The winner in the TechnoWomen BiotechLeader 2023 nomination was Asem Kenzhebek and her project AL KARAL;
- The winner in the nomination TechnoWomen Social Impact AWARD 2023) was Laura Salamat and her project Program “Fundamentals of Programming” for junior high school (grades 2-4);
- The winner in the TechnoWomen Digital&New Media Leader 2023 nomination was Zhazira Baydaly and her project SayahatTime.
A closed round table with leading universities was held on the sidelines of the forum on the topic: “Universities and technological business: practices of effective interaction”. According to the results of the round table, proposals were developed to involve girls in the discipline and improve the digital competencies of young people. Representatives of universities also noted the importance of dialogue and intensification of cooperation for even more successful promotion of the role of women in IT, business and science. According to Gulnara Kurenkeeva, Rector of Almaty Management University, given the scale of gender problems in the Central Asian region, all stakeholders need to actively interact with each other: “The synergy resulting from the cooperation of public associations, representatives of the academic community, the media and other stakeholders can turn the situation in favor of women. Their talent, creativity and energy should be realized for the benefit of our country and our entire region.”
Following the results of the round table, a memorandum of understanding was signed between TechnoWomen and Almaty Management University.For reference: The forum “TechnoWomen Central Asia: Ozine sen!” is being held in Almaty for the second time, attracting more and more attention from the professional community and all those interested in the field of IT, women’s entrepreneurship and startup management. This year the forum was held with the support of JSC “Eurasian Bank” (general partner), Учет.kz (official partner), Almaty Management University, First Credit Bureau LLP and Documentolog Global Limited (digital partners), as well as Shymkent Waters, mountain drinking water for an active lifestyle and creativity.
The information partners of the forum “TechnoWomen Central Asia: Ozine sen!” were Profit KZ, Digital Business, BlueScreen, ER10.kz , The Steppe