YEDI, top ranked university business accelerator from Canada, held intensive business course in Almaty

On February 17-25 Almaty hosted an intensive international business course from York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI), which is the top ranked university business accelerator in the world. The course is designed to give a comprehensive introduction to the Canadian business landscape to help entrepreneurs enter the North American market. The program had participants from multiple countries, and covered topics like business development, finance, communications and Canada's legal system

After this international course, alumni are welcome to apply for the Canadian Start-up Visa, through YEDI. All accepted entrepreneurs become residents of one of YEDI’s Business Acceleration Campuses for a minimum of one year. This is a big advantage because YEDI has the highest success rate in the world for its graduates.

“YEDI operates a unique model, our faculty consists of successful and active entrepreneurs with a strong academic background, and we have deep connections with all levels of the Canadian business ecosystem. For this and many other reasons, our programs are very competitive and this gives us the opportunity to select the best projects” – says Dr. Marat Ressin, YEDI President.

Another element which helps start-ups to succeed is YEDI’s well-equipped Business Acceleration Campuses. YEDI is sector agnostic, which means it works with projects in any industry. For that reason, campuses have a range of facilities including office space, food production, theatre and TV studios, and so on.

Investments

Marat Ressin says that many entrepreneurs often put too much focus on initial investments. In reality, you don’t need to desperately search for funds in the very beginning. “Money will find you if you have a good project. I always say, don’t do business for the sake of business. You have to find a problem that people face, and you have to come up with a way to solve it. I feel like every successful business is social in some way”, - explained Dr. Ressin.

It’s important to mention that YEDI has its own venture capital fund, and in 2019, was accepted into the Canadian Venture Capital Association as a general partner. “It’s like an elite club; all big Canadian VC funds, including government ones, are members of the CVCA. If we invest in a project, we can bring it to the attention of big investors, which are often ready to invest hundreds of millions.” – Marat Ressin.

First start-ups from Kazakhstan

For now, three start-ups from Kazakhstan have graduated from YEDI. One of them, FineFlot, offers to mining companies special equipment which helps to extract more minerals from the ore tailings. YEDI announced that it is investing in this company at the valuation of $40 million CAD. In 2020, after the company will conduct industrial tests, they plan to raise an additional $7 million CAD in investments from Canadian VCs.

For FineFlot the Canadian market is the best possible option, since there are more than 3000 mining companies operating in Canada. FineFlot CEO Aitugan Omarov entered the YEDI program in November, and a few months later his team made connections with the biggest mining companies in Canada. ”YEDI has opened the doors to the market for us. It gets us in touch with the companies we need, and arranges meetings. YEDI is very respected in Canada, so companies are willing to meet. For a Kazakhstan start-up it’s just impossible to reach out to top international companies by oneself”, - says Aitugan Omarov.

Further partnership with Kazakhstan

According to Dr. Ressin, Kazakhstan is a great spot to arrange international courses due to its geographical location, visa policy, and of course hospitality. Nowadays borders become less and less significant as we live in the global world, and Kazakhstan should be an active part of it. YEDI appreciates that partners from Kazakhstan are really proactive. The Suleyman Demirel University team had visited Canadian universities last year, including York University.

“We saw professors with experience in business, which are able to give all necessary competencies to students. We saw successful business accelerators, and suggested to host an international course in Almaty”, - explains Meirbek Mazhitov, SDU President.

Further, YEDI and SDU plan to enhance their partnership. Meirbek Mazhitov mentioned the possible joint development of an MBA program, intensive courses and a business accelerator right here in Kazakhstan.

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