Enterprise Azerbaijan working to bring national startups to international markets (PHOTO/VIDEO) (Interview)

ICT Materials 1 May 2023 11:54 (UTC +04:00)
Enterprise Azerbaijan working to bring national startups to international markets (PHOTO/VIDEO) (Interview)
Sadraddin Aghjayev
Sadraddin Aghjayev
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 1. As many as 200 startup projects within the framework of the Startup School project have been registered by the Enterprise Azerbaijan state portal, Matanat Musayeva, head of the Enterprise Azerbaijan portal of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communications told Trend.

According to Musayeva, there were around 50 registered projects in February alone.

She noted that Enterprise Azerbaijan registered 200 startup projects within the framework of the Startup School project from February through March. As many as 33 out of 200 projects have reached the finals. The finalist projects will be developed with the support of professionals from the US, Türkiye, Israel and other leading countries along with Azerbaijani experts.

"We expect that the projects of startups that have passed the finals will be implemented from an idea into a business, brought into line with international standards and presented to investors. Our Enterprise Azerbaijan portal will provide startups with all the necessary support in entering foreign markets. Moreover, our main goal is to present the project to potential investors for its financing and access to global markets," the head of the portal said.

Musayeva noted that most of the projects registered at Startup School are related to the sectors of education, health, social sector and other areas.

According to her, about 67.4 percent of registered projects belong to young people aged 15-25 years.

"Moreover, among the participants there are three people over 50 and two people under the age of 15. Registered project participants will be trained for 1 month by mentors from Azerbaijan, US, Türkiye and Israel. We are pleased with the activity seen from the first day of registration. The number of accepted applications proved once again that acquiring knowledge about the startup ecosystem is of great interest to young people. At the same time, it is gratifying that there are applications from other countries," the head of the portal said.

She noted that among the projects selected by experts in 12 nominations, there are projects from Türkiye (7 projects), US, Germany and Ireland. Of these, 36 percent were projects from females. Six projects were selected in the field of technology, while four projects in the fields of education, social, financial and other areas.

The head of the portal also said that Enterprise Azerbaijan is working to bring national startups to international markets.

According to Musayeva, for international recognition of the local business project, it should be more aimed at solving global problems.

As she noted, ‘think globally, act locally’ is one of the main principles of Azerbaijani startups for reaching the international level.

"Each startup must have a professional approach to market research, correctly identify the client base and pay special attention to the uniqueness of the product they create, as well as marketing issues," Musayeva said.

Besides, according to her, it is very important to distinguish the concept of ‘Startup’ from the concept of ‘Small Business’.

“The concept of a small business is essentially a small form or replica of a traditional business. In a startup, this approach manifests itself in the application of an innovative and different methodology. The main issue here is to turn gaps in the market into a source of profit,” Musayeva explained.

According to her, a startup is an ever-growing process that is fundamentally different from a small business in three main characteristics: dynamic, real and accessible. Startups should adapt flexibly to market requirements, be competitive in the market, and be open to all kinds of innovation and change.

"Services and products offered by startups must be relevant and accessible. To do this, market research should be regularly conducted, competitors should be correctly assessed and new brands should be creatively introduced. At the same time, services and products offered by startups must be accessible and not based on myths that are impossible to be realized,” Musayeva said.

As she noted, for modern startups, especially startups in the field of technology, the era of dependence on local markets and development only in the conditions of the local market is over.

“According to statistics, more than 80 percent of technology startups become participants in the international market from the moment they are founded. Therefore, serious work needs to be done so that national startups come out and are introduced to the international market, which the Enterprise Azerbaijan portal provides to young startups," she concluded.

Furthermore, she added that it is necessary to conduct a proper assessment of both domestic and foreign markets and its audience in order to achieve the goal of entering global markets, as well as conduct appropriate research.

Additionally, Musayeva said that it is essential to consider a competition plan because the technology sector is rapidly developing and is one of the most competitive ones where constant improvement and innovation are required.

Musayeva also added that Azerbaijan has great prospects for the development of the digital and startup ecosystem. According to her, it is essential to support Azerbaijani startups in market analysis in order to achieve high performance, as well as project ideas.

"It is also important to pay close attention to protection of the rights of investors and entrepreneurs, as well as ventures, support and financing of ventures from the state. I also consider that the process needs to be simplified for entrepreneurs and scientific researchers to join global markets," she said.

She pointed out that the sectors of education, medicine, economics, ecology and the social sector have great potential for development.

"According to statistics, projects in the fields of education, tourism and the social sector prevail in Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, recent trends also show an increase in the number of projects in the fields of technology, in particular financial technologies," Musayeva said.