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Last Friday, Get in the Ring landed in Kazakhstan for the first time! 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 biodegradable 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. Yet with the EXPO 2017 focusing on future energy, the country shows awareness for the need for more sustainable businesses. We also saw lots of interesting startups in Kazakhstan 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 are able to decompose within 100 days. That’s not all, additionally they are aiming to create more products with the same technique, such as disposable gloves. Adilzhan not only brought his vision across, but showed already impressive results.

In the first year, Green Evolution produced and sold almost 5 million bags. All this happened where plastic bags were not regulated and people not yet have to pay for plastic bags. The next step is to raise additional funding. This will allow them to scale up production, build 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. The initiative taker of the event and champion jury Marc Zwaaneveld was inspired seeing the quality and diversity of the startups.

“Of course the startups are early-stage and still have a long way to go. But 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 marked an end 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.