The people behind an Uzbek Halal digital investment platform have set up a funding initiative to finance promising start-ups in the Republic.
Known as IMAN VC, the initiative was rolled out by digital investment platform IMAN Invest, which is part of Islamic fintech group IMAN which also offers Shariah compliant payment services.
“We all know that many business ideas remain as ideas due to insufficiently developed environment of financing start-ups in Uzbekistan. In order to improve this environment and help start-ups both financially, and with knowledge and experience, we launched the IMAN VC project,” IMAN Invest posted on its social media. It is hoped that IMAN VC would enhance the Central Asian country’s culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Now accepting applications, qualifying start-ups will be eligible to investments of between US$500 and US$100,000. The first 1,000 start-up founders will be invited to join the Founders Club, providing them access to consultation and expertise from IMAN.
Although Uzbekistan is seen as one of Central Asia’s leading start-up ecosystems, the Republic’s start-up industry is still nascent.
“Access to finance remains a central challenge for a start-up. There are hardly any business angel and VC [venture capital] activities in Uzbekistan,” according to Enpact Data Lab’s Start-up Ecosystem Report Tashkent. “Most start-ups either rely on government funds that are backed with high equity demands and extended government control or on loans with high interest rates and collateral requirements. Alternative sources of funding such as crowdfunding miss the legal basis to date.”
IMAN Invest’s latest initiative follows its recent partnership with telecommunications company Beeline as well as its acceptance to the 500 Global Flagship Accelerator Program in Silicon Valley.