CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform and Partners Launch AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge to Source and Scale-up Solutions for Climate-Resilient Agriculture in Uzbekistan and Central Asia
Rome, 23 June 2023 – The AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge has been launched, powered by CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform as part of the CGIAR’s Regional Integrated Initiative, Fragility to Resilience in Central and West Asia and North Africa (F2R-CWANA).
AgriTech4Uzbekistan aims to support purpose-driven entrepreneurs, researchers, and CGIAR scientists in effectively bringing their agri-tech solutions to farmers and value-chain actors. Through a structured market-driven program, this project provides business training, mentorship, technical assistance, and connections to accelerate and fund science-based innovations that can make agriculture in Uzbekistan more sustainable, efficient, and resilient to climate change while contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. The project was co-designed with CGIAR centers ICARDA, IWMI, and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, and is being implemented in collaboration with IT Park, innoWIUT Entrepreneur’s Lab of Westminster International University in Tashkent, the Agency of Innovative Development under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan through the AKIS Center, the United Nations Development Programme Uzbekistan, Indorama, and the Uzbekistan Venture Capital Association.
Are you or someone you know developing an agri-tech solution applicable to Uzbekistan’s agriculture sector?
Applications are open until 9 July 2023
AgriTech4Uzbekistan is a global call open to innovators who are developing agri-food and climate-tech solutions applicable to the agriculture sector in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. It targets solutions that address a real market need in Uzbekistan and fall under at least one of the five priority areas including, digital agriculture and precision farming, capacity building, water management and irrigation systems, financial services, and supply chain management.
The call welcomes innovations at all maturity stages, however only early-stage solutions with a Minimum-Viable-Product (MVP) or Proof-of-Concept (POC) will qualify for the boot camp and acceleration program. Innovations at the growth stage and beyond with a sustainable business model will be invited to pitch at the final demo day to investors, industry experts, and the media, and will not compete for AgriTech4Uzbekistan awards.
Over the duration of AgriTech4Uzbekistan, selected candidates will be provided with a comprehensive range of resources and connections to help them build sustainable business models, develop an actionable pathway to scale, and strengthen the scientific validity of solutions, accelerating their growth. The top 12 teams will embark on a fully sponsored acceleration program combining business-oriented training, technical assistance, and on-the-ground experimentation with farmers and value chain actors in Uzbekistan. Winners with a proven sustainable business model and scaling plan will receive an equity-free grant of up to $30K.
Read more about the project offering, here.
Since 2016, the Government of Uzbekistan has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting innovative technologies, addressing climate change, and promoting green growth. The Government has established innovation development centers, business and technology incubators, and accelerators to foster the emergence of new start-ups. The support extends to research and scientific institutions, leading to a rise in the number of affiliated research institutions. State funding has played a vital role in facilitating this growth and highlighting the government’s active involvement in promoting innovation, research, and development. Although the innovation ecosystem is still in its early stages, efforts are underway to establish mechanisms that fully support emerging technologies. This requires robust public policies, a focus on knowledge and talent, and sufficient resources for innovation. By promoting collaboration, investments, education, and supportive policies, Uzbekistan aims to cultivate a climate-smart, sustainable, and profitable agriculture sector that empowers women, youth, and rural communities.
In this context, AgriTech4Uzbekistan recognizes the promising markets in Central Asia, positioning itself to enhance national and regional innovation ecosystems while striving to meet the highest international standards in the space. The project aims to create a conducive environment for scouting, accelerating, and funding agri-tech solutions that positively contribute to agriculture in Uzbekistan and the broader Central Asian region.
“Uzbekistan has one of the most vibrant and fast-growing economies in the region, and the opportunities offered by AgriTech4Uzbekistan will be highly beneficial for local innovation ecosystem to flourish and advance in the agri-food sector”, Gairat Ganiev – Director of the AKIS Center under the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan.
Launching AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge
On 22 June, the online Kick-Off Event gathered key stakeholders, including public sector players, scientists, practitioners, business experts, and innovators, to emphasize the importance of fostering connections between pioneering research, technology, and entrepreneurship with the aim of facilitating the transition of agri-tech solutions from lab to market in Uzbekistan and Central Asia.
Watch the recording of the kick-off event
The panel discussion offered valuable insights on unlocking the potential of agri-tech for agricultural transformation and sustainable development in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. By examining the present state of the innovation ecosystem, identifying barriers and facilitators for scaling up innovations, and outlining a roadmap for the future, the discussion highlighted important considerations and strategies for driving agricultural innovation and fostering sustainable development in the region.
“AgriTech4Uzbekistan comes at a time when scientific innovation and entrepreneurship are being recognized as drivers to contribute towards solving complex global challenges affecting agriculture and food systems. This project serves as a platform to scout, connect, and support talented entrepreneurs and scientists, including CGIAR researchers, who are revolutionizing the industry with their innovative solutions”, Gianpiero Menza – Senior Manager, Partnerships & Innovative Finance at CGIAR/Alliance.
Speakers of the Kick-Off Event included Gairat Ganiev – Director of the AKIS Center under the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, Michael Baum – Deputy Director General for Research at CGIAR/ICARDA and Lead of CGIAR F2R-CWANA, Gianpiero Menza – Senior Manager, Partnerships & Innovative Finance at CGIAR/Alliance, Maha Al Zu’bi – Regional Researcher at CGIAR/IWMI and Co-Lead of CGIAR F2R-CWANA, Rhiannon Crichton – Proposal Development Officer at CGIAR/ICARDA, Oyture Anarbekov – Country Manager and Researcher at CGIAR IWMI, Sarvar Djalalov – Director at innoWIUT Entrepreneur’s Lab of Westminster International University in Tashkent, Hrvoje Ivan Horvat – Lead Technical Specialist, at UNDP Uzbekistan, Dora Atadjanova – Founder at Dalatek, Josh Thomas – Co-founder and CEO at Pastoral, and Jahongir Kagirov – Head of Start-up Ecosystem Development Department at IT Park. The event was moderated by Claudia Zaccari – Junior Analyst at CGIAR/Alliance.
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The Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) is a venture space that builds on CGIAR’s legacy in Research and Innovation to co-design, accelerate and fund science-driven technologies to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. A4IP explores innovative partnership models to bridge research products from lab to market, creating demand for CGIAR science and strengthening its role in the innovation ecosystem, all while funding the most visionary teams to leverage their scientific creativity. Learn More
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