Kendrick White From Us on Why He Came to Tashkent and How He Plans to Develop Technology Sector in Uzbekistan

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By Akhtamova Amina

Kendrick White is a specialist with 30 years of experience in technology commercialization. He recently came to Uzbekistan with his team to develop and coordinate government programs under the MUNIS project. The MUNIS project is implemented by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the support and funding of the World Bank.

Profile

I was born in Boston, raised in Florida. I worked in Chicago for several years and got an MBA there from Northwestern University. In 1992, I moved to Russia, Nizhny Novgorod, where I worked as an economist and developed a program for the development of small and medium-sized businesses in the region. In 1998, I was hired by the EBRD to manage Russia’s first venture capital fund. The fund successfully invested all the money and raise significant profit. Since then I have built a career in Russia as an expert in technology commercialization and venture capital investment. 1.5 years ago I moved to Kazakhstan and headed the Technology Commercialization Center in Almaty, at Almaty Management University.

On the implementation of programs within the framework of the MUNIS project

My team and I were invited to Tashkent to develop and monitor the implementation of two innovative programs under the MUNIS project with a total funding of $10 million, namely “Research Commercialization Program” (RCP) and “Business Investments in R&D” (BIRD).

The RCP, or Research Commercialization Program, aims to build proof-of-concept and small-scale prototyping systems. The RCP Investment Fund is dedicated to research in the early stages of commercialization. Scientists need funding to prove that their scientific concept can translate into an real product that will be demanded by the industry.

 

The BIRD program, in its turn, is a grant-based R&D support system for small/medium enterprises and independent inventors with R&D-intensive ideas. BIRD funds will be donated to researchers to build prototypes based on already proven concepts. Investors don’t want to invest in research and development only, this should be done by the government. But, investors need to see that there really will be a product that can be applied in business and industry.

Thus, the ultimate goal of our programs is to connect science with entrepreneurship and help scientists understand how they can earn money from their developments and discoveries.

About technology sector in Uzbekistan

Over the past five years, a fundamental ecosystem has been created in Uzbekistan for the development of IT business and the start-up industry: modernized technology parks have been launched, new technological universities have been opened.

 

At this stage, over the next two years, we need to create additional infrastructure in the country so that scientists can assess the commercial value of their technologies.

 

Large industry needs fundamental science. We want to facilitate the development of DeepTech – the development of deep technological developments that enterprises in Uzbekistan could use to create new products. This will bring the country to the next level of development: Uzbekistan will take another step towards the transition from a resource-based economy to an innovative one.

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