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Baku hosts seminar on “Building an Innovation Ecosystem”




A seminar on “Building an Innovation Ecosystem” kicked off  in Baku on October 19.


The event was attended by Vice-President of  Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva, head of  Department of Youth Policy and Sport Issues of the Presidential Administration, Assistant to the First Vice-President Yusif Mammadaliyev, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies  Ramin Guluzade, Minister of Education  Mikail Jabbarov, Deputy Minister of Economy Sevinj Hasanova, MPs of the Milli Majlis, government officials  and representatives of the private sector.


The purpose of the seminar is to support relevant public and private bodies in the preparation of a joint action plan for the creation of an innovation ecosystem.


Speaking at the event, Education Minister Mikail Jabbarov noted that cooperation with the world’s leading educational institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley,  Stanford University, company Global Innovation Catalyst in the field of human capital development will create new opportunities for the system of higher education in our country. Stressing the importance of human capital as one of the main goals of the Strategic Roadmaps for Economic Development approved by President Ilham Aliyev and the State Strategy for the Development of Education in the Republic of Azerbaijan, the minister said that this event will serve to develop strategies for looking into the future and innovation.


Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade in his speech noted that the development of information and communication technologies is always in the focus of attention of President Ilham Aliyev. The minister said that the state has achieved a number of successes in ensuring the comprehensive development of the economy, including the dynamic development of high technologies. Clear evidence of that is the creation of Sumgait Technological Park, High Technologies  Park,  State Fund for the Development of Information Technologies  and Mingachevir Technologies  Park.


Ramin Guluzade said that the State Fund for the Development of Information Technologies operates in three directions  to support innovative ideas in the field of information and communication technologies. This means the allocation of grants to startup projects, granting concessional loans to business projects that turn into business and act as an investor in a number of projects. Over 750 projects have been submitted for five grant competitions held so far by the Fund. 112 of them are declared winners. More than 30 projects are being implemented in the Park of High Technologies. In this direction, the ministry creates an innovation center, which will have a very positive impact on the development of the existing ecosystem. The goal is to supply  ICT products and services to the world market under the brand “Made in Azerbaijan”. The involvement of local investors in startup projects in the country’s  ICT sector is also among the priorities. For this purpose, work is underway to create a Club of IT investors. Ramin Guluzade said that other projects related to ICT sector in universities are also supported and by way of example, he noted the cooperation with ADA University.


Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Economy Sevinj Hasanova drew attention of participants  to the sustainable reforms conducted under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev. She noted that the economic potential created as a result of this, minimized the impact of shocks arising from negative processes occurring in the world economy, created the opportunity for the economy to adapt to new conditions. Innovation and economic ecosystem plays a big role in achieving strategic goals in the economic sphere. Sevinj Hasanova said that the formation of an innovation ecosystem is a multifaceted process, which creates an opportunity for entrepreneurs, research centers and other organizations  to  cooperate effectively.


After the speeches, Kamran Elahian, the founder and chairman of Global Innovation Catalyst, made a presentation on the topic “From Fossil Economy to Innovation Economy”.


Then professor of the University of California Berkeley Gregory La Blanc held a seminar on “Startup Ecosystem: Basics of Silicon Valley and the role of government.”


Participants will prepare a three-year action plan for building a knowledge-based and innovative economy based on the transformation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the three-day seminar. Within the framework of the seminar, trainings and discussions, as well as panel discussion of venture investors  will be organized on the topics of venture financing, education of the entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial culture.


Vice-President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation  Leyla Aliyeva  met with the participants of the seminar, which was organized  by Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of  Transport, Communications  and High Technologies, National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan  and Baku Engineering University.