Startup Pantheons is a category of special entities that are taken into consideration in the StartupBlink Global Startup Ecosystem Index. The other categories include unicorns, exits and global startup influencers. The report also contains forecasts and information for Azerbaijan as follows:
As per the report, Azerbaijan has improved by 4 positions to rank 85th in the StartupBlink Global Startup Ecosystem Index, and 6th in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) region. Baku, the only ranked city in Azerbaijan, has increased 12 spots to 443rd globally, entering the top 450. It is the 31st highest ranking city in the CAREC business region (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation), and the 6th highest ranking non-Chinese city in this region. In response to the results of the Index, Ulvi Mehdiyev, the Chairman of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, said: “Azerbaijan has always been known as the Land of Fire. Today, thanks to our young talents and successful startups, we are confidently moving forward to be recognized as the Country of Innovations.”
Azerbaijan Startup Ecosystem Overview:
Situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Azerbaijan is working on making the country attractive to entrepreneurs and startup founders, and on transforming and digitizing its economy in order to disconnect from its oil dependency. The Social Innovation Lab (Sil.), an entrepreneurship center, is aiming to create the first unicorn in Azerbaijan by 2025, as well as to help raise 50 tech startups every year. This is an ambitious goal for a country with a relatively small market size, but we love ambitious goals.
There are some notable ecosystem stakeholders that have helped shape the narrative of the startup scene. For instance, Azerbaijan has initiated the Azerbaijan 500 ASAN Startup Program, aimed at innovating and developing the country’s budding startup ecosystem through online events. Moreover, the public sector signaled its support by establishing INNOLAND, an incubator, accelerator, and research center as well as a Hi-tech Park (HTP). The State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan (ASAN) has been an important initiator of projects. Under ASAN, a collaboration with the Asian Development Bank was started in 2021, with a goal of boosting innovation in Baku and other cities. Another notable initiative is the Future Skills Project which will be implemented by ASAN together with 4 of the country’s universities. It is also a positive sign to see the private sector supplement the need for funding, networking, and accelerators with initiatives such as the NEXT STEP Innovation Center and SUP VC. More initiatives like these will be needed to help grow entrepreneurship, increase networking opportunities between national and international startup developers, and encourage private investment.