I am in Kazakhstan

Like all great stories it started with a chance encounter in a far away land with no idea where it might all end up…

The Program Director for Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG) (Alan El Khadi) - a project of Mercy Corps Palestine (MC) - happened to meet with the CEO of Astana Hub (Magzhan Madiyevat), both Google For Startups (GFS) partners, at the 2022 GFS Conference.

Following a number of remote meetings and exchange of details, it became clear that GSG and Astana Hub shared a common vision and philosophy for what tech education and digital work could offer both Palestine and Kazakhstan as well as the areas of collaboration and mutual support to make this a reality.

A few months later, and an invitation to the 2022 Digital Bridge forum for both Alan and myself, we were supremely impressed with what Astana Hub has been able to achieve in a relatively short period of time (particularly in consideration of COVID-effects), but more importantly the wealth of opportunity, level of investment, highly ambitious and promising future outlook for Kazakhstan’s digital economy.

With that in mind, conversations on how to connect these two emerging tech ecosystems, and specifically GSG and Astana Hub, started to take hold. This coincided perfectly with my pending departure from GSG, providing an amazing opportunity and new adventure.

As a result, and since early 2023, I commenced the establishment of a new locally-based company - awexiliary consulting. This comes after a long personal and professional journey from being a financial consultant and manager in Sydney (Australia), completing a Masters in the Netherlands, securing an unplanned but highly rewarding role in Palestine with GSG and now setting out for Kazakhstan!

With the support of Mercy Corps, the primary objective for awexiliary and I will be to build connections between Kazakhstan and Palestine; promoting sustainable livelihoods for Palestinians whilst benefiting Kazakhstan’s burgeoning tech ecosystem. Ultimately, the goal is to place highly skilled and available tech talent from Palestine into remote working opportunities for Kazakhstan businesses who are suffering from resource gaps that are limiting their growth potential.

To achieve this, awexiliary will manage relationships at various institutional levels, including businesses, government and non-government organisations; spark innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to business opportunities and inspire involved groups to collaborate closely to create  high-quality, economically meaningful and sustainable relationships. 

Starting hasn’t been without challenges of course, most notably a drawn out and complicated process securing a visa and registering the business - but I am highly optimistic of what the future holds and what can be achieved. The consultancy and its activities are expected to fully launch in July 2023 from the Astana Hub Technopark, who have supported me throughout the exploration phase and hopefully in future as a fully-fledged member (application pending).

In the meantime, please visit LinkedIn for updates and hopefully, opportunities to work together and collaborate!

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