57th SPICE Meeting 90th ICECE Work Group event

Shymkent, Kazakhstan
10 – 15 Sep 2002

The SPICE activities in Kazakhstan were an intensive work program: a visit to Al-Farabi National Kazakh University to discuss the development of a technology park, a two-days pre-conference training seminar (23 participants) "Technology transfer and access to New Markets" and the second annual conference of KABIC, the Kazakh Association of Business Incubation and Innovation Centers: "Development of Innovative Business in Kazakhstan: the Role of Business and Innovation Centers in Technology Transfer" with 100 participants. A meeting with GTZ, the German organization for technical cooperation, talks with representatives of Soros and Eurasia foundations, a visit to the Business Incubator SodBi in Shymkent to develop advice for its strategic development and the official "Grand Opening" of the SodBi Business Incubator completed the program. No time for a "formal" SPICE meeting, but SPICE Girls & Boys (Franz Dietrich, Yerik Dukenbayev, Heinz Fiedler, Barbara Harley, Polad Kuliyev and Krzysztof Zasiadly) met frequently at many occasions with old and new friends and partners. In a way this was a six days SPICE meeting. The most important outcome is the experience that business incubators in Kazakhstan have developed very much during the last two years. As the training seminar and the conference showed, the level of knowledge and experience is already high - taking the short development time into account. This combined with the enthusiasm and engagement of the Kazakh "incubation people" is an excellent basis for future development. But, if this sounds like "the work is done", this understanding would be far from realty. The first incubators in Kazakhstan are working, but many more are in preparation and need support. Diversification of business incubator concepts (no, low, high-tech) has to take place, management skill of incubator staff and young entrepreneurs have to be developed, the instruments of regional economic development promotion to be implemented, a system of technology transfer to be drafted and the concept of technology / science parks to be disseminated. Of course this "to-do-list" is not complete. It just shows that there still is much need for action and support.