50 startups flew to the heart of Azerbaijan, Baku to showcase their latest innovations and pitch their ideas to potential investors in line with ICYF’s 7 pillars which include total economic empowerment of the youth. The successful 3-day culture meets business style mega event was more than just an amalgamation of culture and business as it also served as an open invitation to the world from Azerbaijan as the country opens its doors to businesses and investment especially in the newly liberated regions that are an integral part of Azerbaijan culture and the economy at large. The event, which was organized by the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) and the Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMBDA) of the Republic of Azerbaijan under the patronage of the Ministries of Economy and Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was held under the theme “Towards Enhancing Intra-OIC Investment Opportunities: Investment to Sustain Peace and Development in Karabakh”.
The opening ceremony was attended by high-level delegates and participants with keynote speeches from the ICYF President H.E. Taha Ayhan and the 4th and 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia H.E. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Also speaking at the event Economy Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Mikayil Cabbarov said the following “Azerbaijan is carrying out extensive work for the development of the region liberated from occupation. We would like to see businessmen of friendly countries with us in the development of Karabakh”. World Ethnosport Federation President Bilal Erdogan added the following ” I believe that the entrepreneurs who came to today’s meeting will enable this potential of Karabakh to be revealed and the Islamic world to work in cooperation”.
The opening meeting of the summit, which was held under the auspices of the Azerbaijan Economy and Culture ministries, was attended by the Minister of Economy of Azerbaijan Mikayil Cabbarov, Minister of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan Ferit Gayibov, President of the World Ethnosports Confederation Bilal Erdoğan, Director General of the Islamic History, Art and Culture Research Center (IRCICA) Mahmut Erol Kılıç, President of ICYF. Taha Ayhan, KOBIA President Orhan Mammadov, and many guests attended. President of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş, Deputy Minister of Industry and Technology Çetin Ali Dönmez, President of the Presidency Finance Office Göksel Aşan, President of the Presidency Investment Office Ahmet Burak Dağlıoğlu also attended the meeting.
During his speech, ICYF President Taha Ayhan mentioned that entrepreneurs from OIC member countries had gathered for the revival of the Karabakh lands liberated after 30 years of occupation.
He also said, “We want young people, businessmen, and the Islamic Ummah to show that they stand by the victory of Karabakh. May the victory born of cooperation open the door to new victories. Various steps will be taken towards the creation of a new entrepreneurial ecosystem. Not only for profit but also for the sake of continuity, which takes care of our civilization.”
Ministers, government officials, representatives of international organizations, start-ups, international investors, and youth representatives came together for one purpose, to strengthen young entrepreneurs in the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation by creating platforms for growth and exposure while also providing training.
The 50 start-ups that were in Baku to exhibit their work specialized in food and agriculture technology, green industry, financial technology, games and applications, environment and renewable energy, smart technology, aviation and space technologies, logistics, and smart city technologies.
Among the crucial topics discussed at the summit were the attraction of investments and the sustainable development of the Karabakh region. In this context, the theme of the summit was determined as ‘Towards Increasing Investment Opportunities within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation: Investment to Maintain Peace and Development in Karabakh’.
The summit was also dedicated to Nizami Ganjavi, one of the greatest poets and thinkers of the 12th century. In this context, a panel on ‘Cultural Measurements in Investment Decisions’ was held to discuss the life and writings of the poet who lived 800 years ago and how they are reflected in the modern market economy. The panel also discussed the importance and role of a country’s local culture and how its perception affects investors and businesses when making decisions in a competitive international business environment.