This article is written by Emily Youatt, one of the organizers for Startup Weekend Naryn, Kyrgyzstan.
The 2014 Startup Weekend Kyrgyzstan organizers are answering a question that many Kyrgyz entrepreneurs were asking at the 2012 and 2013 Startup Weekends: “What next?”
To answer this question, this year’s organizers worked with experts at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development to launch a mentorship program that will guide finalists through the competition process this weekend, and to prepare one team from Kyrgyzstan for an international competition.
The winning team from Kyrgyzstan’s Startup Weekend will win a trip to compete at Global Entrepreneurship Week’s ‘Get in the Ring’ Battle in Europe this November. They will have the chance to compete against other international startup teams to earn up to one million euros in investment money. This is the first time that an opportunity like this has been offered to entrepreneurs in Kyrgyzstan.
Trust us, they will be ready!
It’s easy to see scarcities in the Kyrgyz Republic; a low-income nation, with a poverty rate above 38% (that’s about two million people living on less than two dollars per day). Despite such statistics, this Central Asian republic is on the brink of something really exciting.
Located on the historic Silk Road, wedged between China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic has always been a melting pot of languages, cultures, and ideas. And the country’s youth, 30.2 percent of the population (and growing), are clamoring for the chance to strike out on their own in a business atmosphere rife with closed networks and red tape.
Enter the 2014 Kyrgyzstan Startup Weekend organizing team, a group of five forward-thinking individuals who joined forces to give the country’s promising entrepreneurs the chance to give their business ideas undivided attention for 54 hours the first-ever Central Asian Startup Weekend competition series.
Startup Weekend Kyrgyzstan
The event series will place special emphasis upon Kyrgyzstan’s rural entrepreneurs, who historically have not had the resources, knowledge or skills to launch promising business ideas. By including a wider variety of participants this year, Startup Weekend Kyrgyzstan 2014 is tapping into the potential of some of the country’s most prominent economic sectors: agriculture and tourism.
This year’s organizers have divided the competition series into regional competitions, two in rural regions and two in Kyrgyzstan’s largest cities–Bishkek and Osh, followed by an exciting finale event later in the year in collaboration with Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The goal? To boost entrepreneurship throughout the country, and to send one startup team from Kyrgyzstan to European Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The 2014 event series recently kicked off on April 11-13 on the eastern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in the small city of Karakol next to the Chinese border. The event hosted entrepreneurs with practical, innovative ideas in line with Kyrgyzstan’s regional economic sector–which is heavily based in agriculture and tourism. On April 18-20 (RIGHT NOW) Startup Weekend Naryn will take place in the city of Naryn in the heart of the Tien Shan Mountains, and will cater to the country’s rural, Kyrgyz-speaking population.
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