Build Your Business Contest

The contest has been running for 8 consecutive years and has registered over 60 projects spanning various sectors including technology, agriculture, education and medicine.

It takes place over a period of four months, from the start of the applications and business plan submissions to the announcement of winners and the final awards ceremony.

The winners and runners-up of the contest receive generous non-reimbursable grants, amounting to a total of more than $1.5 million, that allow them to realise their creative ideas and get the right support to grow their early-stage businesses.
Since 2013, apart from the financial aid, hundreds of entrepreneurs have also received advisory assistance, established contacts in their respective industries, gained new experiences, and have been able to take their businesses to new levels.

The contest has led to more and more talented and aspiring businessmen and women looking for ways to address existing social issues with business ideas that seek to make a positive impact on society.
We are proud of the fact that the growing businesses have been subsequently gaining traction domestically, and have also received attention from international organisations, which has paved the way to new collaborations and partnerships.

Success stories & impact

The Build Your Business contest has overseen a multitude of innovative start-ups with many inspiring stories, including a passionate honey-producing business, a maternity clothing brand, a medical AI technology project, and a business aimed at teaching programming to children.

Local honey-producing business – Tamerlan Ahmedjanov

A local honey producer who has been heavily invested in beekeeping since childhood, Tamerlan entered the contest in 2019 at the age of 19, and was able to secure a $30,000 grant. He put the grant towards expanding the number of beehives he uses for his business and consequently increased his honey production levels.
Tamerland said, “My goal is to provide high-quality Kazakh honey to every family in our country, and I will continue working to make this happen.”

Daria – Aselle Jekenova

Aselle dreamt of launching her own maternity clothing brand – an idea which was born during her second pregnancy. She saw a need for comfortable and stylish clothes for expectant mothers and, within a few years, saw the opening of her own stores. After winning $50,000, Aselle was able to build her own production facility that today has enough space for storing raw materials, a workshop, a warehouse for finished products and even a showroom for customers.
Aselle said, “We are very grateful to the organizers of the contest - the Saby Foundation & Aselle Tasmagambetova and Kenes Rakishev personally - for believing in us and giving us the opportunity to keep on developing."

Cerebra – Dosjan Jusupov

This innovative project taps into the medical technology market, using artificial intelligence to help doctors speed up the process of diagnosing different types of strokes. The business has been a success story not only within the framework of the contest but across the whole country and in the international arena, as it received interest from a number of hospitals, government agencies and IT giants – including the likes of Microsoft and IBM.
Dosjan said, "Our case study is a good example of why such contests should take place. I believe it is greatly advantageous for the participants and winners of the contest to participate, as they receive attention from journalists and get covered by the media."
Tamerland said, “My goal is to provide high-quality Kazakh honey to every family in our country, and I will continue working to make this happen.”

ITnation – Adilhan Rahimbekov

A programmer and IT specialist from Pavlodar, Adilhan launched ITnation to address the gap in the level of IT education at public schools by offering programming lessons to children. Adilhan entered his start-up into the contest and was awarded a $20,000 grant.
Adilhan said, “I believe that it is necessary to teach children from an early age, so that in 20 years we can have a pool of excellent specialists who will stay in our country, get good jobs, and receive a good pay. Only with a clear goal for the future will a programmer become a great specialist.”
Aselle said, “We are very grateful to the organizers of the contest - the Saby Foundation & Aselle Tasmagambetova and Kenes Rakishev personally - for believing in us and giving us the opportunity to keep on developing."