In his statement at the Astana Economic Forum, Mr. Murat Sartbayev, Director of the Project Management Unit of Fostering Productive Innovation Project said that science and business are uniting in Kazakhstan. He spoke at the panel session “Social development through flexible education and science” and told why inclusive innovation is a modern trend in development of scientific thought in Kazakhstan, reports

Inclusive innovation encompasses development, dissemination and implementation of innovations that can improve living conditions. The concept of inclusive innovation has emerged in developing countries, where the poverty faced by many people deprives them not only of the benefits of scientific and technological progress but also of access to the means to meet their basic needs. Inclusive innovations allow to expand access to high-quality products and services that create and increase opportunities for marginal segments of the population, - the speaker explained.  

It should be noted that one of the important participants of inclusive business is the state. It can act as a customer and consumer of innovative solutions, if R&Ds and innovation meet the social priorities of public policy.

A key aspect of the inclusive business or social entrepreneurship model is that such projects are profit - oriented and remain sustainable and self-sufficient in market conditions. However, we should not confuse this with charity, as an inclusive business model involves primarily commercial benefits. But at the same time, it is aimed at solving socially acute problems of society.

Despite the overall favourable socio-economic situation, there are still vulnerable segments of the population, which are present both in the city and in rural areas. So often, residents of some rural settlements are deprived of elementary material benefits such as clean drinking water, quality medical services and education. Another problem is integration of people with disabilities into normal functioning of society and ensuring their work, despite the work of supporting centers for these people, - Murat Sartbayev said.

Currently, Fostering Productive Innovation Project of Kazakhstan and the World Bank is implementing the Inclusive Innovation Consortia Grant Program which aims to unite science and business, create and implement innovation projects with direct social impact. Through implementation of this grant program, Kazakhstan will be able to increase the rating of inclusive development index, which will increase general GIC (Global Competitiveness Index) rating of Kazakhstan.

Before launch of the program, a lot of work was done with the study of international experience and involvement of leading international experts. Surveys and interviews were conducted among representatives of the main stakeholders of the grant program – relevant ministries and their subordinate organizations, NCE "Atameken", representatives of civil society, international organizations, business, education and science. In addition to analytical work, a lot of work has been done in remote rural areas of Kazakhstan, - the speaker said. 

Applications for the call were accepted only in electronic form through a specially created electronic portal to ensure absolute transparency of the process and minimize the human factor.

Priority areas of the grant program: education, health, information and communication technologies, environmental protection, renewable energy sources, agriculture, rational use of resources.

This grant program is a pilot and implemented for the first time in Kazakhstan. It is important to note that it is fully correlated with strategic objectives of the state. Currently, selection of winners of the Inclusive Innovation Consortia Grant Program has been completed. 95 applications were submitted, 9 of which were selected. Co-financing from business is 15%. The projects are aimed at solving social problems in the field of medicine and health care, agriculture, adaptation of people with special needs.


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