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Estonia Helps Develop Belarusian Start-Ups

14.11.2013

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping the Garage48 foundation to create a support system for developing Belarusian start-ups.

According to Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Garage48 has had many successful experiences with training and developing a support system for entrepreneurs in Estonia and other countries. “Supporting entrepreneurs and creating a contact network for them with the private sectors of Estonia and other countries will help Belarus to open itself up more and take advantage of opportunities offered by external markets,” said Foreign Minister Paet. “Undertakings such as Garage48 are a good example of how interstate cooperation is taking place at the grassroots level,” added Paet.

The Garage48 foundation project, which began in August and will last for two years, is directed toward creating and developing a support system for Belarusian start-ups. By relying on its own international experience and skill in organizing events for start-ups, Garage48 would like to support and assist local collaboration partner COO BEL.BIZ to establish a sustainable and competitive start-up support system in Belarus.

5 start-up development weekends will be carried out during the course of the project. The initiative is directed toward IT professionals to help them go from an idea to a first prototype in 48 hours. The objectives are to direct possible beneficiaries toward an entrepreneurial mentality, offer interested individuals the opportunity to create teams and exchange ideas, and provide intensive and rapid education about product development and operational leadership in start-ups. Teams for already developed projects have the goal of offering consultation, advice, and contacts for finding the necessary investment and acquiring potential clients on the international market.
The expected amount of participants is around 500. Almost 1,500 people will participate in training programmes and conferences, in which Garage48 will take part as a consultant and mentor by sharing its international experience.

The first collaborative event between Garage48 and BEL.BIZ, the Garage48 Minsk 2013 development weekend, took place in March of this year as a pilot project. That was the first step to completing the two-year series of Garage48 development weekend events and opening the start-up HUB. Over 70 participants from Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania took part in the event.

Garage48 is an IT and business-oriented development weekend format that was created in the beginning of 2010 in Estonia. Since then, Garage48 has organised more than 23 events in Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Finland, and 5 African states.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supporting the Garage48 project with 75,000 Euros from this year’s development and humanitarian aid resources.    

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