By Leman Mammadova
More than 2,000 startups have joined the I2B - From Idea to Business project, which shows the project’s success and its popularity among young people, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade has said.
Guluzade made the remarks during the final ceremony of the "I2B - From Idea to Business" project held on October 18 as part of the Innovation Week, where the winners of 2019 were determined.
Guluzade noted that one of the tasks of the Ministry is to support innovative development. In his words, the Innovation Agency under the Ministry supports start-ups in the implementation of business ideas.
“Various projects, trainings, competitions are held to expand the startup movement, the development of innovative thinking among young people, their active involvement in this process. The startup tours ‘I2B - From Idea to Business’ held in Baku and the regions serve precisely this purpose,” he stressed.
Pointing to the opportunities created for startups at the InnoCamp innovation camp in Shamakhi, Guluzade noted the importance of such events in the formation and development of an innovative ecosystem in the country.
“Currently, the process of formation of the innovation ecosystem in Azerbaijan is rapidly developing,” Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative for Azerbaijan said. Fracassetti emphasized that the UNDP supports the start-up movement in Azerbaijan, the implementation of innovations in education, agriculture and the environment.
During the final ceremony, held at the Heydar Aliyev Center as part of InnoWeek - Innovation Week, the best winners of startup tours held in Baku and the regions in 2019 were determined.
As many as 153 teams took part in startup tours conducted in 12 regions of the country. During startup tours, representatives of government agencies, various incubation centers, technology parks, as well as well-known ICT companies organized trainings and seminars for participants on the ecosystem of startups, ways to turn their ideas into business.
In the startup tours organized in Baku, Sumgait, Shamakhi, Sheki, Zagatala, Tovuz, Goychay, Ganja, Lankaran, Mingachevir, Sabirabad and Nakhchivan, 17 teams reached the semifinals. And the 10 teams that passed the final selection stage got the right to compete in the final of the project “I2B - From Idea to Business”.
At the last stage, the finalists, including Heal With (Baku), Health Bag (Goychay), PayPort (Nakhchivan), Palliativ Plus (Baku), Chameleon (Baku), OSHE-01 (Shirvan), Professional (Nakhchivan), Nano Desal (Baku), Biobone (Ganja), Agroshare (Baku), presented their projects to a jury, and answered questions related to projects during the allotted time.
The projects have been evaluated according to criteria such as the uniqueness of the idea, market potential, the period of return on investment, the time required to develop a preliminary service/prototype, the team's ability to realize the idea.
Thus, “Heal With” team was announced the winner of the “I2B - From Idea to Business” project. In addition, “Buqelemun” team was ranked in the second place, while “Palliativ Plus” team in the third.
The organizers and partners will provide financial support to the first three winners to turn their ideas into business.
The winners will be able to present their projects at the 25th international exhibition and conference "Telecommunications, Innovations and High Technologies" Bakutel, which will be held on December 3-6.
The project "I2B - From Idea to Business" was implemented jointly by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies, the Regional Development Public Union of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Azerbaijan Youth Foundation, the UNDP, Microsoft and Azercell.
Startup tours under the project "I2B - From Idea to Business" are envisaged to continue in the next years.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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