StartupBlink 2022 review: which Central Eurasian countries fell in the Index

12 August, 2022

 

The StartupBlink research centre has released the Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2022. Since 2017 the project has been reviewing the state of the startup economy, describing their growth dynamics and main trends.

This year's report assesses the startup ecosystems of 1,000 cities and 100 countries. Among the countries in the Central Eurasia region, the report features 9 startup ecosystems: Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan. However, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are not yet included in the world's top 100 ecosystems. We have reviewed the report and prepared a summary of those countries in our region that, for one reason or another, have moved down a few rungs in the ranking. 

Moldova – 88 position 

Moldova dropped sharply by 11 places to number 88 from number 64 in 2020. This is the second year in a row that the Eastern European country has seen a significant drop.

Moldova is a European country with a high concentration of talent, the report notes. Besides, the public sector, despite limited resources, managed to create 7 free economic zones and 8 industrial parks, as well as tax exemptions and free trade agreements with several countries.

Regarding technological infrastructure and digitalization, Moldova is gaining momentum. The country currently has an Innovation Technology Park Moldova, as well as platforms such as Invest Moldova and Startup Moldova to inform and stimulate participants in the startup ecosystem.

Among well-known startups that are scalable, the researchers single out Fagura Fagura, a project for p2p lending, XOR recruiting software and Planable Planable, a collaborative platform for marketing experts.

Belarus – 70 place

This year, Belarus dropped 3 places to 70th place, retaining its 18th position in Eastern Europe. Since 2017, Belarus has been dropping its position every year. The potential of the startup ecosytem remains unrealised.

Belarus used to be an example of a country in relative isolation, but still managed to leave a positive mark on the global startup ecosystem, largely due to the exceptional quality of local developers, IT professionals and a well-thought-out ecosystem development policy. 

However, recent years have brought political instability leading to international isolation, which has created an extremely difficult environment for local entrepreneurs. As a result, Belarus has a huge gap between its true potential and its current performance, which is exacerbated by the exodus of the most talented IT specialists to other European countries.

Notable startups in the ecosystem include RocketData, which enables users to take control of their online brand; Amasty, which helps businesses around the world develop e-commerce tools; and Verv, which offers people a healthy lifestyle.

Ukraine – 50 place

Because of the consequences of warfare, Ukraine dropped significantly – by 16 places – but managed to remain in the global top 50, ranking 50th.

The authors of the report note that one of the main challenges that the Ukrainian startup ecosystem will face is, oddly enough, unprecedented support from other European countries, allowing Ukrainians to live and work in their countries for long periods of time. This help is much needed during times of war, but today it is unclear whether or not the developers who have relocated will return to the country after the onset of peace.

In 2019, Ukraine created the Startup Fund and developed a Strategic Framework until 2025. The Strategy aimed to support startups at the early stages of development through funding and increased access to support services, as well as to strengthen globally competitive incubation and acceleration programmes. More than 200 start-ups have been beneficiaries of this fund.

Examples of impressive startups created in Ukraine are Grammarly, Gitlab and Ahrefs - all of which have a large number of users around the world. The main reason for Ukraine's success is the talent of its developers, who are in demand by many foreign companies working both remotely and in local development centres.

Russia – 29 place

Russia has fallen 12 places this year after recent events. The authors of the survey summarise that Russia is a textbook case of huge but unrealised potential due to events beyond the control of talented entrepreneurs.

Against the backdrop of a difficult geopolitical situation, Russian start-up ecosystems may find themselves even more isolated. In addition, recent developments increase the risk of a serious brain drain of Russia's most talented entrepreneurs and IT professionals. Creating a Russian startup aimed at international sales is becoming increasingly difficult amid the disconnection from the global financial system due to sanctions imposed on the country and its banking system.

However, several advantages of the Russian startup ecosystem are also noted. First, Russia has a sufficiently large market, which allows startup founders to generate substantial income by creating high-quality technologies exclusively for Russian buyers. Secondly, the public sector, meanwhile, has succeeded in creating corporate accelerators with a high degree of involvement. The largest of these is the Skolkovo Technology Centre.

Well-known startups and ecosystem champions: UserX – an app that records users' actions in video format; Ivi – a video-on-demand platform that brings the traditional TV experience online with a free video player; and Uchi.ru – offers online courses for students.

World-renowned companies include the social network Badoo, global cybersecurity company Kaspersky and Yandex.

Here is the article about the countries which improved their startup ecosystems parameters.

 

 

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