Today, Uzbekistan is confidently advancing in the development of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector. To support domestic IT companies, the IT Park, a Technological Park of Software Products and Information Technologies, has been established. This park offers essential conditions for the development and promotion of innovative and competitive products from their inception to successful entry into international markets. Additionally, the organization is implementing several significant educational, social, and other initiatives.
Since the inception of IT Park and the country’s focus on digitalization, the IT industry has become a key driver of economic development. Under the “Digital Uzbekistan – 2030” strategy, the country faces ambitious tasks for complete transformation. The main goal of the IT sector is to increase the volume of export services to five billion dollars annually. Favorable conditions are being created to attract foreign companies and train qualified personnel, including special state programs and incentives for IT companies.
Experts from IT Park note that the industry employs over 100,000 people, and the market is nearing the one billion dollar mark. The annual export volume of IT services is expected to reach 300 million dollars.
More than ten thousand schools across the country are equipped with high-speed internet. The digital education ecosystem formed by the “English Speaking Nation” and “IT-Nation” projects allows students to start their path in the field from school. Around 60 specialized universities operate in the country. Tashkent University of Information Technologies named after Muhammad al-Khwarizmi (and its six branches in the regions), as well as Inha, Amity, and others, prepare more than 29,000 professionals annually in fields such as artificial intelligence, data science, information security, engineering, and more.
The number of private educational institutions – residents of IT Park, due to state incentives and preferences, has grown to 305. They offer over 400 educational courses, which have already been completed by over 15,000 people. In collaboration with EPAM Systems, IT Park University was created, where about 400 students are currently studying.
In recent years, the government of Uzbekistan has implemented significant reforms to improve the business environment and stimulate economic growth. These include liberalization of the foreign exchange market, tax reform, and simplification of business procedures. Additionally, the state provides comprehensive support to IT companies. Thanks to such conditions and incentives, about 1600 companies (including those with foreign capital) have obtained resident status in IT Park Uzbekistan, including large organizations (East Games, iTransition, Epam Systems, Data Orchestra, AER-CA, Qulix, AMC Bridge, and others).
Cooperation as a Guarantee of International Success
It is well-known that cooperation leads to in-demand projects that cater to the needs of various groups of people, achieving global success.
For example, the OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan, in cooperation with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and with the support of IT Park, organized an incubation program for IT startups in Fergana this year, aimed at supporting business projects at an early stage of development.
The program lasted a month and brought together 15 IT projects. The training was focused on young entrepreneurs from the Fergana Valley, who are developing innovative solutions to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of businesses in various fields, including agrotech. Participants were given access to office space, equipment, and other resources, as well as an extensive training system and mentoring support from leading experts in agriculture, technology, and business.
Another example of fruitful collaboration is the signing of a memorandum of mutual cooperation in the field of financial literacy between IT Park and the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The document aims to expand mutually beneficial cooperation in the development of financial education. In the future, joint efforts of the two organizations are expected to help increase the country’s digital financial literacy. The agreement plans to develop educational online materials on the safe and efficient use of digital technologies and services.
The two organizations also agreed to conduct joint educational courses, webinars, seminars, and round tables on financial literacy issues.
This year, the national Technological Park represented Uzbekistan on the international stage. For example, the annual international forum Digital Almaty was held in Almaty. This is one of the largest tech events in Central Asia, featuring representatives from business, international experts, the IT community, government agencies, and the media.
At the event, the director of IT Park, Farhod Ibragimov, beginning with the history of the organization’s foundation, spoke about projects aimed at supporting startups and developing education, including in the regions. Over the years, IT Park has turned into a major regional hub. The importance of regional collaboration was noted. A proposal was made to combine efforts to create a single office for Central Asian countries in Silicon Valley.
- Visiting the USA, we were surprised that few people knew about the countries of Central Asia, – emphasized F. Ibragimov in his speech. – We need to unite and enter the global market. This will help attract foreign investment. We must interest foreign investors and companies in opening offices not only in central cities but also in the regions.
Remarkably, this idea is already being implemented. In California, a conference “Uzbekistan – the new outsourcing hub of Central Asia” was held, organized by the Ministry of Digital Technologies, IT Park, and Silkroad Innovation Hub. The aim of the event is to develop fruitful ties between Uzbekistan and the IT industry of the USA. Participation in it allowed establishing new contacts with leading representatives of the industry, innovators, and other companies.
Projects and Achievements
Investing in Uzbekistan’s IT sector attracts the attention of not only local enterprises but also international companies. Proof of this is the opening of another educational institution with the participation of foreign partners.
Thus, in November 2021, during the visit of the IT Park delegation to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, a joint decision was made to create an international IT academy in Tashkent. To implement joint projects, a ceremony was held in the capital’s IT Park this year to open the international IT academy NextGen Academy. The institution is a partner of international vendors in training, among which are Python Institute, JS Institute, Cisco Academy, allowing it to offer students high-quality training according to the best programs and issue an international standard certificate.
The Academy aims to prepare highly qualified IT specialists who can successfully compete in the global labor market. Moreover, NextGen Academy uses internal developments that help maintain the quality of education. The main language of instruction is English, and the teachers are local IT specialists who have passed exams in accordance with international standards.
By the way, this year a financing ICT education organization – IT Knowledge Development Center (IT Bilim) and its platform (bilgi.uz) were launched. IT Bilim allocates targeted loans for the development of activities (for educational residents of IT Park) and training in IT specialties (for all comers).
The platform was created to localize in a single electronic space all project participants: youth wishing to gain knowledge in the IT field, including those in need of financial support; educational institutions; job seekers and the funding organization itself. The electronic platform presents a database of educational institutions and courses. Among other features of the portal are quick registration of candidates for training, prompt checking of their solvency (scoring) and approval of the application, control of timely payment for training, and much more.
It should be noted that professional education can be different. In the modern world, it is no longer necessary to study offline to acquire certain skills and a world-recognized diploma (especially when it comes to ICT). Therefore, today there is a growing interest in the country in acquiring useful knowledge online. Thus, the resident company of IT Park Software Wizards has launched an online course to train QA testers.
The initiative aims to prepare a new generation of specialists. The courses are free and conducted in English. The training includes both theoretical and practical lessons, ensuring graduates’ readiness to solve real tasks.
After several open lectures, entrance exams were held, which helped identify the most motivated and ready-to-learn candidates. The final stage – the graduation exam – took place on December 1. Students received certificates confirming their competence in the market.
Another similar initiative is the launch of a new domestic online course platform Uzbekcoders.uz, initiated by IT Park in collaboration with Coursera. Students of the platform receive:
- A certificate in demand on the international market;
- Knowledge necessary for starting a career or advancing it;
- The opportunity to participate in competitions with valuable prizes, conferences with leading specialists;
- The right to an interest-free loan in case of successful completion of any course;
- The possibility of reimbursing up to 50 percent of the amount spent on the course;
- Annual access to more than 10,000 courses.
To address issues more quickly this year, IT Park launched a contact center. Now, by calling the short number 1345, you can get any information about the organization’s activities.
Thus, interested parties can learn more about the residency program, educational opportunities from IT Park, incubation and acceleration programs for startup projects, and more. Contact center specialists will consult subscribers on all directions of the organization’s activities. The opening of a single support line has reduced the load on offices and improved the quality of customer service.