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Last Friday Get in the Ring for the first time landed in Kazakhstan! Out of 26 applications we selected 13 companies for a full day of training and networking. This time we gave the event a special twist by focusing on the topic of sustainability. Winner of the day Green Evolution convinced the jury champions with their enthusiastic pitch about their biologically degradable bags and the impact they aim to make in the Central Asia region.

Sustainability in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan, a country that is famous for its large reserves of oil might not be the first country you think of when you start looking for startups related to sustainability. However with the EXPO 2017 focused on future energy, the country is showing it’s awareness for the need for more sustainable businesses. Also at our first edition of Get in the Ring in Kazakhstan we saw a lot of interesting startups that are aiming to create a more sustainable world.

The winner
Adilzhan Siddiq, founder of Green Evolution convinced the jury champions and audience of his vision and the impact he is aiming to make with his product biopack. Green Evolution developed a biologically degradable polymer bag. That’s not all, additionally they are aiming to create more products with the same technique, such as disposable gloves. Not only brought Adilzhan his vision across, he also showed already impressive results. In the first year Green Evolution have been able to produce and sell almost 5 million bags that are able to decompose within 100 days. All of this in a region where plastic bags are not regulated and people not yet have to pay for plastic bags. The next step for them is to raise additional funding so they can scale up their production, built their own laboratory and even provide educational programs in the region.

The event day
Green Evolution was not the only startup that convinced the jury. Also the other startups were a true example of sustainable businesses. According to the initiative taker of the event and champion jury Marc Zwaaneveld, the quality and diversity of the startups was inspiring to see:

“Of course the startups are early-stage and still have a long way to go, however you can see that the topic of sustainability is alive in Kazakhstan”.

During the day the startups received pitch training from our Director Jochem Cuppen and more insights on sustainability from Marc Zwaaneveld, the former CEO of Van Gansewinkel a leading Dutch waste management company and Lisette Heijke. They were supported by Broos Bakens from EY and Martijn Rutten from accelerator HightechXL.

The event was concluded with battles between the most promising startups. The companies that made it to the stage are: RVS (producing furniture from waste materials), Steppe Energy (creating a vertical wind turbine), VVS Engineering (a pendulum based technology to pump water and generate energy in remote areas), ASM Print (a garage 3D printer that can print metal) and ZIMA (reducing cleaning needs for office building with drying technique for shoes).

Get in the Ring Astana Sustainability was made possible through a collaboration between Get in the Ring, MOST Business Incubator, HightechXL, EY and Silk Road Sustainability Tour.