Saturday, July 21, 2018

Startup Tour stops in Almaty

Two biomedical development teams successfully pitched their innovations to modernize cattle rearing at the Skolkovo Foundation's Startup Tour stop in Almaty, Kazakhstan, last week.

The goal of the Startup Tour, which is Russia’s largest innovations roadshow, is to encourage innovation in various communities throughout Russia and the former Soviet Union.

There are five categories in the competition: innovations for children, industrial technology, IT, biomedical technology and efficient-energy technology. The creators of the top projects from each city are invited to a pitch contest to be held at the Startup Village in Moscow. 

First prize for the Almaty stop was awarded to the Genome Evaluation of Dairy Cattle project, which uses an algorithm that determines which cattle are best for producing dairy or meat. The algorithm can determine this when the cows are as young as 6 months old.

“Currently there exists no other way to assess breeding quality of cattle in Kazakhstan – our project can have a major impact on the agricultural industry,” Rashi Uskenov, the leader of the project, said.

Second place was awarded to Himkast, which consists of a team of scientists who have created a chemical castration method. This method is less painful for the cattle. It is also five times cheaper than traditional castration methods. Additionally, the injection increases the animals’ appetites, which fattens them faster for beef purposes.

“Kazakhstan possesses serious export potential in the dairy and meat sectors,” Alexey Strygin, project analyst for the Biomedical Cluster at Skolkovo and a jury member, said. “However, in order to reach this potential, it is imperative to boost productivity by pushing the technological frontiers; to go beyond existing production systems. These two technologies have the potential to do just that.”