Submitted by Ieva Arnite on 14 July 2022

Uzbekistan (1)

A country that is able to turn every meeting into a solemn and widely covered event in the media. Although at the beginning of the digitalization path, Uzbekistan's state institutions and companies were ready to listen and cooperate with Latvian IT companies in order to promote faster digital development in their country.

At the end of April, eight members of the Latvian IT cluster went on a trade mission to Uzbekistan organized by project AUMENTA. The aim of the mission was to get to know the new market, making new contacts and cooperation opportunities. Several of the companies have already concluded the first cooperation agreements with Uzbek companies or institutions.

“The trip to Uzbekistan opened up a number of different business development opportunities for us”, tells Imants Felsbergs from Corporte Solutions. “Both in the direction of exporting our IT products and importing IT development services. We are currently working hard in both directions and hopefully the result will be very soon. In May 26, the first cooperation memorandum was signed with an Uzbek IT company on the distribution of the IT product "CloudStudy" on the Uzbek market. The main takeaway from the trip to Uzbekistan is that there are still countries that are still experiencing rapid IT development and there always are good opportunities to be in the right place at the right time. – Imants Felsbergs, Corporate Solutions.

During the mission, companies had the opportunity to meet with several high-ranking officials. During the first day, the companies met with Latvian Ambassador to Uzbekistan Reini Trokš and Uzbekistan's IT Minister Sherzod Shermatov (The Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Uzbekistan), who emphasized that he sees Latvia as a window to Europe. The minister expressed interest in cooperating in the field of BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) - offering labor in the IT, accounting and customer service sectors who could work online.

During the mission, the 1st UZBEKISTAN BIOECONOMIC FORUM took place in the Uzbek city of Samarkand. As part of it, Latvian IT cluster export project manager and project AUMENTA partner Ira Raciņa talked about the creation of European Digital Innovation Centers and their goals, citing specific examples of how such initiatives help cooperation between education, business and leading public administration spheres.

A meeting was also held with the head of the Assembly of Economy Uzbekistan Muhtor Umarov who offers to train IT students especially for the requirements of European companies or to help with solutions specially suitable for each company, so that they can more easily enter the Uzbekistan market.

Here are more reflections on how the trade mission was seen from the Latvian companies point of view:

Company Catchsmart CEO Svetlana El Zuni admits: "Without the involvement of the Latvian IT cluster in this AUMENTA project trade mission, it would have been difficult to arrange meetings with such high-ranking officials and institutions as we met during this trade mission, for example, meeting with the vice mayor of the capital Tashkent."

Company Squalio representative Linda Krasavina: “Our company was not previously associated with Uzbekistan, so our expectations here were minimal, mostly we did not know what to expect - only what we heard from our partners. We were warned that this market is not yet so mature for our service, which we verified on the spot. However, it is also worth adding that there are several companies that are "European" minded, so it would be very valuable to start cooperation with them at the moment. Mission was helpful in starting to establish Squalio as the first SAM (Software asset management) messenger and leading expert in the market. During the trip, we learned from the IT minister of Uzbekistan that Uzbekistan's global strategy is very much focused on the digitization of the country, and we definitely see Squalio's contribution to this long-term plan."

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