British Magazine Names Minsk Europe’s Next Silicon Valley

Now and then Minsk gets the title of the city that one day may become Europe’s next Silicon Valley. And it happened again, London-based online magazine The Calvert Journal put it first on its list of Startup cities in 2019.

The magazine that explores the New East notes that despite a heavy dose of autocracy and bureaucracy the country’s startups are punching well above their weight.

“The Belarusian education system has always put a heavy emphasis on science, but with local opportunities lacking, a generation of well-versed programmers have been pushed to go it alone with their own projects.

Companies such as Microsoft have been busy snapping up local startups for years now, with big names such as World of Tanks, MSQRD and Viber all hailing from Minsk. Interest isn’t just coming from the West, either.

Hi-Tech Park, the country’s government-backed startup hub, recently announced new partnership with South Korean officials, while smaller companies from China, Norway, Israel, Great Britain, Austria, Cyprus, France, and Russia have also set up shop on campus.

Read also: How Belarus tech savvy paves way to foreign investors and new markets – Forbes

It’s this new momentum that the government now hopes to capitalise on with the imaginatively-named IT Decree 2.0.

While companies registered with Hi-Tech Park already benefit from a special tax regime, the newly-launched initiative promises to simplify business regulations for tech firms, and relax rules on international work permits.

It could well work. Between January and September 2018, some 200 companies registered with Hi-Tech Park — more than all the businesses who joined the hub in the 12 years since it was first founded.

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The magazine names just three startups from Belarus at easily prove Belarus with Minsk at the helm may become the world’s next Silicon Valley. Check them out below.

Wannaby is a mobile AR platform to try on shoes, jewellery and apparel before making a purchase. All you need to do is point your phone’s camera at your own hands of feet, and watch as an image of the item is computer-generated to match.

NeoSound transforms sound and speech into data that shows what the speaker might be feeling. The software aims to free up time spent monitoring calls in a bid to boost customer satisfaction.

Lung Passport listens to your chest and flags up potential problems. Best for those who want to keep on top of their health.