TEKNOFEST Azerbaijan to enhance opportunities for local startups to enter international markets [PHOTO]
TEKNOFEST Azerbaijan is one of the most prestigious events in terms of introducing innovative technologies and solutions offered by local startups, as well as expanding their relationships with investors, Advisor to the Chairman at Azerbaijan’s Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMBDA) Zaur Gardashov told Trend.
According to him, the Agency is one of the main partners of the Take Off Baku Startup Summit of the TEKNOFEST International Aviation, Space and Technology Festival.
"The goal of the Take Off Baku Startup Summit is to create an effective business environment in the region, support the development of local startups and ensure sustainable cooperation between the key players in the ecosystem. The summit program includes organizing meetings with investors, companies, and foreign mentors. Within the festival, local and international startups will present their projects to investors and representatives of venture funds. Moreover, startups offering innovative projects and solutions will be awarded at the end of the festival. The prize fund for the first place is $15,000, while for the second – $10,000, and for the third place – $5,000," Gardashov said.
He also noted that projects related to innovative solutions will be presented both locally and internationally at Take Off Baku Summit.
"Startup projects cover areas such as financial technology, education, healthcare, smart city and smart village, smart devices, transport and logistics, infrastructure and security, the creation of innovative business models," the advisor stated.
Furthermore, he added that the submission of applications for the Take Off Baku Startup competition has already ended.
"The SMBDA received nearly 300 applications from over 30 countries to date. Turkey and Azerbaijan are occupying a leading position in terms of number of applications. There are also some bids from Egypt, Malaysia, the US, the UK, Canada, Singapore, India, Pakistan and other countries," he said.
According to the terms of the competition, 35 local and 15 foreign startups will be selected for the main stage, the advisor noted.
Startups that pass the first stage will have the opportunity to work together with international mentors for a month. During the summit, a jury consisting of local and international partners will select the winners of the semi-finals and finals from 50 startups. Representatives of the SMBDA will be among the international jury and mentors and determine the winners, he added.
"I would also like to note that our agency has always supported the development of the startup ecosystem in Azerbaijan. It’s a fact that we issue start-up certificates to micro and small enterprises, exempting them from profit tax and income tax on innovative activities for a period of three years. At the same time, we issue grants to support local startup projects, implement various activities for their entry into international markets, and provide support in the presentation of projects to local and foreign investors. We have already informed over 1,000 SMEs about the summit. The Organization of B2B meetings and other events within the framework of this summit is currently underway. The first three winners of the Take Off Baku Summit will receive valuable prizes on behalf of our agency," Gardashov said.
He added that the international significance of the Take Off Baku Summit would grow and expressed the hope that such events would be held more often.
The upcoming festival will be held in Azerbaijan on May 26-29, 2022. TEKNOFEST in Baku is held by the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport of Azerbaijan. At the same time, the TEKNOFEST production office operates in Baku. The full staff of the office consists of Azerbaijani specialists.
The event has been held annually since 2018, with the joint organization of the Turkish Technology Team Foundation, which is managed by the Turkish Ministry of Industry and Technology and the technical director of Baykar Technologies, in partnership with more than 60 Turkish state institutions, universities and private companies.
The goal is to popularize such areas as aviation, space industry and digital economy, to encourage entrepreneurship in these areas, to identify the knowledge and skills of young engineers through competitions organized within the framework of the festival, as well as to present national technologies to the general public.