August 27, 2021, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan – Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the winners of a Startup Ecosystem Program 2021 competition, hosted jointly by the USAID Enriching Youth for Tomorrow activity, the USAID Future Growth Initiative, and the Union of Economists of Turkmenistan.
During the three months of the program’s implementation, 127 young entrepreneurs participated in a series of business training, team and individual mentorships, and consulting and coaching sessions. Seven local business development and training firms served as mentors, evaluated young entrepreneurs’ business models, and helped refine their development strategies. At the end of the program, 14 finalists presented their products and business concepts to a panel of judges and seven winners received prizes and an opportunity to participate in a regional contest in Kazakhstan. The tech-enabled cleaning service startup, Valio, founded by Valentina Pogibina and Rovshen Charygeldiyev, won first place thanks to their comprehensive competitive analysis, sound financial projections, and delivery of services to the Ashgabat market.
Addressing the online audience of 150 startups, mentor companies, mentors, potential investors, and jury members, U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan, Matthew S. Klimow congratulated the winners and all the startup participants for successfully turning their ideas into real products and services. “By growing your startups, you are contributing to the growth of your country’s economy, not only in the ICT and technology sectors, but also in more traditional sectors, such as agriculture, food processing and textiles,” said U.S. Ambassador Klimow. In his remarks, the Chairman of the Union of Economists of Turkmenistan, Dr. Yuriy Aronskiy, highlighted the importance of focusing on science, technology, and education as part of Turkmenistan’s economic strategy and the government’s near-term priority.
Key objectives of the Startup Ecosystem Program 2021, held for a second year in a row, include the establishment and strengthening of local startup incubators and accelerators that support young entrepreneurs’ innovative ideas, as well as supporting the emergence of a business mentors’ and venture capitalists’ community in Turkmenistan and across Central Asia.
USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. For more information, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/central-asia-regional.