Olzhas Bektenov Reviews Astana Hub Startup Projects, Emphasizing Enhanced Support for Talented Youth

The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Olzhas Bektenov, visited the EXPO pavilion, where he examined the digital infrastructure of the Astana Hub technology park and familiarized himself with startup projects.

The Head of Government conducted an inspection of the Astana Hub innovation ecosystem. The hub's primary objectives include talent attraction, training, business development support, and facilitating the export of IT technologies. Currently, the Tech Orda program, launched under the auspices of the Head of State, is making significant strides. Its aim is to train 20 thousand IT specialists by 2025. As of now, over 15 thousand students have completed training, and 2 thousand startup projects have been initiated.

Astana Hub residents benefit from a specially tailored ecosystem. They enjoy preferential treatment through a unique tax regime, exempting them from corporate tax, personal income tax, and value-added tax on goods, services, and works sold within Kazakhstan. Additionally, IT companies receive access to workspaces and partner incentives. These governmental support measures enable them to reinvest saved funds into project development and promotion. Presently, Astana Hub hosts 1,400 IT companies, which collectively earned 400 billion tenge last year.

During the visit, the Prime Minister also toured Alem, the first IT programming school in Central Asia. Alem operates on the innovative principles of peer learning, following the French 01EduSystem methodology, which eschews traditional lectures and teachers. Instead, the educational process revolves around projects and the collaborative interaction among talented students. Presently, Alem boasts over 900 graduates who are employed in both local and international companies as well as startups.

The Prime Minister also convened with Astana Hub participants and researchers from Nazarbayev University to explore a range of domestic advancements in artificial intelligence. They discussed strategies for enhancing the commercialization of scientific projects and fortifying collaboration with the real sector of the economy.

The Alaqan startup presents a contactless payment system, utilizing biometric technology to recognize palm veins for transactions. Launched in 2020, the domestic project now offers three products: Alaqan Pay, Alaqan Mektep, and Alaqan HR. With 100 thousand active users, 1.2 million identifications monthly, and $300 thousand in investments, the Alaqan system has gained significant traction. It underwent acceleration in Silicon Valley and is currently implemented successfully in a Kazakhstani school. The developers aim to further scale the startup both domestically and internationally. Interest has been expressed by countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Turkey, with plans to install the system in 500 clinics.

Another noteworthy development in the realm of AI is Arlan Biotech. This startup specializes in harnessing artificial intelligence to create nanobodies, marking a significant breakthrough for both medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. Nanobodies play a crucial role in the development of diagnostic test systems and the research and treatment of oncological and autoimmune diseases.

The project called Higgsfield AI was also presented, offering a platform for creating and editing videos using artificial intelligence. This program is tailored for more customized and personalized applications. Currently, the startup has raised $16 million, with Menlo Ventures, one of the oldest venture funds in the United States, as the main investor in the pre-seed round. Higgsfield AI now offers a mobile app called Diffuse, based on a custom text-to-video model. It can create videos from scratch using its own tools, including a set of pre-generated clips and a tooltip editor.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister was briefed on the contributions of the Kazakh studio O’games in mobile game development, notably recognized for the Car Parking Multiplayer project, which has garnered over 100 million downloads across Asia, Europe, and America. Additionally, projects by the mobile games developer Playrix, a global leader in the industry, were showcased. Playrix achieved a revenue of $2.8 billion last year.

"The President has clearly articulated the imperative to accelerate the digitalization of our economy and foster the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence technologies. The objective is to achieve an annual export volume of IT services and products totaling at least $1 billion by 2026, compared to the current $529 million. Kazakhstan has made strides in digitalization, boasting some of the finest domestic IT specialists. It is imperative that we continue supporting them in creating groundbreaking products and accelerating the export of IT solutions," said Olzhas Bektenov.

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O’games прекрасная отечественная компания! Очень радует что такие компании начинают появляться в Казахстане