Sun 08 2021 11:56:23

Tashkent, Uzbekistan ( -- On 30 July, the British Council and the London Metropolitan University held an awards ceremony for the winners of the Big Idea Challenge, a business competition that is part of  the Creative Spark programme. The finalists presented their projects in the format of video pitches in four categories: climate change, social development, creativity and digital technologies.

Among the more than 500 competitors from Uzbekistan, Dilmurod Rakhmatov and Sharofzhon Kurbonov from the Practical Center for Implementation of Innovative Projects were awarded the first prize by the judges for their “Super Donor” project, which helps patients quickly find a blood donor using a specially developed app. 

The People’s Choice award was won by Boburbek Abduvaliyev from the Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry, whose “Green Nature” project aims to provides the technology necessary to create biodegradable paper bags that could replace plastic bags that are harmful for the environment.  

British Ambassador Tim Torlot attended the award ceremony and praised the many inspiring and creative proposals. Citing the clear business potential he saw, he told the competitors, "Don't stop creating! Those wonderful brains that you all have can take these ideas and turn them into real projects. Whether you succeed or you fail, keep being creative and keep those creative sparks flying.”

The Big Idea Challenge gives young people from Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine the opportunity to develop their own business ideas and entrepreneurial skills. This year, 578 people from Uzbekistan submitted 89 creative business projects. And over the past two years, more than 920 new business ideas have been presented and supported by 110 higher education institutions and creative institutes. Members of the public can have their say too— more than 122,000 people have voted for the projects they find most compelling since the launch of the challenge. 

"We are happy to welcome the participants and winners of the Big Idea Challenge to Uzbekistan in the year of the British Council's 25th anniversary celebrations in Uzbekistan. The BIC, an innovative initiative under the Creative Spark project, provides opportunities and mentorship to enable students and young entrepreneurs to develop and present their business ideas, which aim at economic or social development,” stated Jamilya Gulyamova, Acting Director of the British Council in Uzbekistan.

“This project is an excellent example of fruitful cooperation between Uzbek and UK universities to ensure the quality and relevance of education and its compliance with new requirements of the modern labour market,” she added.

"In Uzbekistan, over 60% of the population is young people and the Big Idea Challenge provided an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to start their own creative businesses and make a meaningful contribution to social development in our country," said Saidazim Fazilov, an art director and lecturer at MDIS University in Tashkent, who served as a jury member of the Big Idea Challenge.

The winning projects in the four categories were also announced:

Winner in the Climate Change category - Green Nature project

Winner in the category Creative - Road to the Old City 

Winner in the Digital category - MyMed app 

Winner in the Social Development category - Super Donor

The winner of the Big Idea Challenge in Uzbekistan will receive £2,000 in grant funding for their project, and all the winners in the four categories will be enrolled in a Startup Sprint course. Winners will also benefit from individual support from mentors from London Metropolitan University, a leading British university. 

The British Council launched the Creative Spark programme in 2018. Since then, it has supported thousands of students, graduates and young entrepreneurs to break new ground with innovative business ideas. Another of the primary aims of the programme is to foster collaboration that can develop the creative economy in countries where there is great potential and where youth unemployment is a key issue. To do this, the British Council provides funding to higher education instutions and creative institutions to develop partnerships between British institutions and institutions in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.


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