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Astana, Kazakhstan • 06 March, 2024 | 10:57
2 min read

Innovation Hub in Riyadh to Help Kazakh Startups Expand into MENA Market

The Hub will provide investment, expertise, and access to the market size of 493 million people

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Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry
Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry

Kazakh and Saudi joint Al-Farabi Innovation Hub was launched in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 4. The opening of the hub will be a major expansion to support the international promotion of IT solutions and startups from Kazakhstan in global markets, QazMonitor reports citing the press service of the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation, and Aerospace Industry.

About the Hub: The Innovation Hub is named after Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Farabi, who was a prominent Islamic philosopher and scholar of his time. The Hub's vision is to attract talented entrepreneurs and innovative startups from Kazakhstan to Saudi Arabia and support their relocation and growth in the region by providing seed investment from the Tumar Venture Fund, incubation and acceleration programs, valuable industry knowledge and networking opportunities.

Kazakhstan’s startup ecosystem: Minister of Digital Industry and Space Bagdat Mussin summarized current steps taken towards growing the IT industry in the country.

I would like to emphasize that Kazakhstan already has experience in developing startups. For example, five years ago we launched Astana Hub, which has become one of the leading technology parks in the Central Asian region. We have also engaged global partners such as Google, Draper University, StartX, Microsoft and the World Bank, providing access to the latest solutions. I believe that the opening of the hub will allow Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia to strengthen ties and make a quality contribution to economic development.

Mussin said

Overall target: Within five years Kazakhstan plans to build at least three “unicorns”, attract at least $300 million in startup investments, and export over $1 billion of IT services.

Why it matters: Executive Director of Al-Farabi Innovation Hub Aslan Sultanov noted the opportunity to expand to the Middle East and North African (MENA) market.

Al-Farabi Innovation Hub will complement the infrastructure of Kazakhstan’s venture industry, enabling startups from Central Asia and the Caucasus to expand into the MENA market, which totals nearly 493 million people

Sultanov said

Flashback: Last year the Silkroad Innovation Hub was opened in Palo Alto, California, for representatives of Central Asian countries. The Hub supports startups and entrepreneurs from Central Eurasia in finding ways to establish or expand their businesses in Silicon Valley and the US market.

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