November 30, 2015
It’s no news that Silicon Valley, NYС and other major pioneering tech venues are among the world’s largest hosts for masterminds. An everlasting tendency for countries struggling to build their own valley, alley, ground, or any other equivalent of national tech hub or regional startup environment is no news either. The best news is that no matter what sort of perturbations a country suffers from, — there always is a space for great minds fountaining with innovative ideas that change the world for the better.
Let’s consider three locations where some 20 years ago there weren’t a well of tech business opportunities. However, now they are home for quite a generation of first-rate tech experts and inventive entrepreneurs enlarging the ranks of serious market players.
#1 Belarus: Efficient software outsourcing striving for product development?
Still being a sort of off-the-beaten-track destination for many tourists, Belarus is a renowned tech hotspot with excellent engineering culture. Having been baptized by the Western media as the residence of the last living dictatorship in Europe, Belarus nevertheless holds itself out as a welcoming environment for tech establishments.
The launch of a massive tech hub development took place in 2005 when Belarus's Hi-Tech Park (HTP) was established in Minsk. The membership looks exceptionally beneficial for them: the resident companies are exempt from corporate taxes (VAT and profit tax included), let alone customs duties.
Definitely, none of the achievements would have happened without those bright intellects that have been struggling to gain a wide recognition and be square with all the world while competing at the tech market. The success story began with NASDAQ-traded EPAM Systems, Skype-killer Viber, and the world-most famous tank game developer Wargaming. The past couple of years yield a boom of prominent local startups evolving at the international arena winning business contests and attracting attention of VCs and investors. One can mention quite a collection of noteworthy projects by Belarusians or the country’s expats sprung up over the past years: from the offline maps Maps.Me and Kino-Mo 3D display for air projection to SplitMetrics A/B app testing tool, Toothscanner and NWave aimed at the Internet of Things market, PandaDoc document automation software, and WISP SaaS solution for HR purposes. Within a surge of enthusiasm from the challenges, Belarusian authorities have been carefully building the infrastructure for startups support. The initiatives now include a bunch of on-site international conferences and startup crowdfunding.
Kiryl Chykeyuk, Kino-Mo project
And yet there is a peculiarity about having a tech business in Belarus. These days it is more about either service-oriented or foreign offshore companies’ prerogative. The real-world situation is that a newborn business should get ready for a certain administrative red tape and the general absence of low interest credits at the very beginning. That’s why brilliant Belarusian entrepreneurs are often focused on exporting their activities. Another fact is that it’s quite difficult for a startup to grow into a large lucrative business operating on the internal market. The small size of the domestic market, as well as a low paying capacity of Belarusian customers set a serious limitation.
What’s left then? Either to gear your tech product to some offshore market or to jump into the outsourcing business. That’s one of the reasons why Belarus has become an incubator for tech brainpower, and companies offering software development services take the full advantage of the high-quality programming talent available at competitive rates.
Gennady Korotkevich Wins Google Code Jam 2015
To be continued…