The first MIT Global Startup Lab (GSL) Azerbaijan Demo Day supported by SOCAR AQS took place at ADA University. 29 most talented students in Azerbaijan out of more than 100 applicants have been shortlisted by the MIT selection committee to participate in the 7-week Intensive Course in summer 2018.
The program included Azerbaijani students studying abroad as well as talented students of ADA University, Khazar University, Baku Engineering University, Baku High Oil School, Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University, Baku State University, Azerbaijan State Economic University and National Aviation Academy. Speaking at the demo day, Ramin Isayev, General Director of SOCAR AQS, congratulated the students on successful completion of the MIT GSL Azerbaijan program.
"As you know, SOCAR AQS has signed an agreement on establishing the MIT-Azerbaijan Fund jointly with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the world's leading universities. MIT is the place where many scientific discoveries are made. It is not a coincidence that we have launched the Global Startup Lab of this leading science and research center in Azerbaijan as a pilot project. This project is a special one as it promotes innovation in Azerbaijan and contributes to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This project has brought together various universities, startup centers, and accelerators at a national level. The knowledge and experience you have received during this program will be the turning point for you to transform your idea into the business, provide innovative services and acquire new customers. I hope that you will be able to raise your ideas up to the regional and global scale in the future.”
Vice Rector of ADA University Fariz Ismayilzade wished the program graduates more success in the future. “It is a great pleasure to see the ever-increasing success of Azerbaijani youth. Today teams have presented very innovative startup ideas for the country's young entrepreneurial environment. The MIT GSL Azerbaijan plays a key role in turning these ideas into reality. ADA University has supported this Lab to contribute to transformation of innovative ideas into startups and then startups into successful companies.”
Representatives of government agencies, local and international companies, universities and mass media participated in the MIT GSL Azerbaijan's Demo Day.
During the 7-week Intensive Program, students have been studying about the MIT's disciplined entrepreneurship platform as well as software engineering and developments skills. Participants also met with the representatives of local startup ecosystems and accelerators operating in Azerbaijan. Participants have developed functioning products or minimum viable products as part of the MIT GSL Program supported by SOCAR AQS. The Demo Day provided MIT GSL Azerbaijan teams with the opportunity to present their products to potential investors.
29 students got together in 6 teams and developed ideas ranging from tutoring to data mining, from travel guiding to peer-to-peer ridesharing, from learning through games to coding support. They have presented their startup ideas, milestones, and products including 5 (five) web platforms and 1 (one) mobile application to the Demo Day judges comprising representatives of global and local startup and entrepreneurship eco-system. The evaluation of startups took places according to the criteria of critical business thinking, effective business model selection, marketing strategy, quality and functionality of the products developed, team presentation skills, and question and answer performance.
3 (three) teams won totally AZN 12,000 for further development of their startup ideas (1st place AZN 5,000, 2nd place 4,000 AZN and 3rd place 3000 AZN). As a result of the judges' decision, the 1st place was awarded to the team Dataforest, 2nd place to the Locals Around and 3rd place to the MasterMe. The startup teams were awarded additional prizes and gifts by various accelerators and startup centers.
At the end of the event, all participants who successfully completed the program were awarded MIT GSL program participation certificates.
The objective of the MIT GSL Program executed with the support of SOCAR AQS and MISTI Program of MIT is to contribute to the development of innovative entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem (new technology and innovative ideas based on mobile/web application) through intensive world class and on-the-job training on innovative entrepreneurship and software development. SOCAR AQS, as a national oil and gas drilling company, supports initiatives and programs aimed at contributing to the transformation of oil capital into human capital. SOCAR AQS annually implement the Summer Internship Program for the 3rd- and 4th-year students as well as master's degree students.
SOCAR AQS, as a national oil and gas drilling company, supports initiatives and programs aimed at contributing to the transformation of oil capital into human capital. SOCAR AQS annually implements the Summer Internship Program for the 3rd- and 4th-year students as well as master's degree students. SOCAR AQS has established Student Scholarship for students studying in oil and gas faculties.
SOCAR AQS's shareholders are SOCAR and Nobel Oil Services.