Uzbekistan’s “President Tech Award” looks to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship as country’s IT sector booms

Uzbekistan’s “President Tech Award” looks to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship as country’s IT sector booms
/ bne IntelliNews
By Cameron Jones in Tashkent May 4, 2023

In a move to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, Uzbekistan has launched the President Tech Award, an annual contest that recognises and rewards the best startups in digital technology projects. The award is worth $1,000,000 in total, with each category winner receiving cash prizes of up to $100,000, and second and third place getting $50,000 and $30,000 respectively.

The competition will be divided into two main areas, each with its own categories. The first area will include technologies based on artificial intelligence, digital technologies in the social sphere, ICT and cybersecurity, entrepreneurship and fintech, and computer and mobile games. The second area will be a Hackathon Grand Prix, which requires teams to create a digital solution within 72 hours.

To be eligible for the award, participants must be under 30 and either Uzbekistan citizens or foreign citizens who are employees of IT Park residents. Teams formed should consist of 3-8 people for the main area and 3-5 people for the special area. Participants can only participate in one selected category for both areas. Attendance is free, and registration will be open soon.

The judging process will be handled by an independent organisation with extensive international experience in startup development, ensuring transparency and fairness throughout the contest. Winners in the main categories will be determined by public voting, while the Hackathon Grand Prix winner will be selected by an independent organisation.

The contest will be conducted in five stages, with applications being accepted from May 1 to July 1. Preliminary selection will take place from July 1 to July 25, followed by an online assessment of selected projects from September 5 to October 5. The offline assessment, or Demo Day, will be held from November 5 to November 10, and winners will be announced between November 20 and December 25.

The President Tech Award is an excellent opportunity for young entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan to showcase their talents and receive recognition for their innovative ideas. With its generous prize pool and expert judging process, the contest promises to inspire a new generation of digital innovators in the country. Uzbekistan has made great progress in its IT sphere in recent years, with the World Bank claiming that the country is going through “unprecedented economic and social transformation.”

The launch of the President Tech Award in Uzbekistan feeds into the country's major IT development drive and its young and growing population, where over 60% of the people are under 30. As one of the fastest-growing countries in Central Asia, Uzbekistan has made significant investments in its technology sector to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, such as its “one million Uzbek coders” drive. With its large and youthful population, Uzbekistan has a vast pool of tech-savvy talent that is driving the country's digital transformation, with over 30,000 students graduating from IT related courses at tech dedicated universities throughout the country.

The President Tech Award provides a platform for these young entrepreneurs to showcase their skills, promote their startups and receive recognition for their innovative ideas, ultimately contributing to the country's ongoing IT development drive. The President Tech Award aims to further attract Uzbek youth into the sphere of IT and motivate them to succeed.