Astana, Kazakhstan, 4th July - The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has launched its first ever Transformers Roadshow at the Astana Islamic Economy Forum in Kazakhstan - a science, technology and innovation competition in which innovators are invited to pitch concepts supporting one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Hosted by the Astana International Finance Center (AIFC), the launch was marked with an opening ceremony led by: Dr Bandar M.H. Hajjar, President of the IsDB; Shigeo Katsu, President of Nazarbayev University; and Yerkin Sadykov, Acting Chairman, Committee of Science, Republic of Kazakhstan.

Transformers acknowledges the crucial need to give people the tools to build a sustainable future and offers entrants the chance to win a $3,000 prize to further develop their ideas. It follows the IsDB’s recently launched Engage platform - an online ecosystem for innovators seeking market opportunities. The platform, which is the first of its kind, is supported by Transform, a $500m fund for innovation and technology.

In further connecting entrepreneurs with investors, influencers and mentors, the Transformers Roadshow serves as an essential platform to accelerate science, technology and innovation-led initiatives across the IsDB’s Member Countries and Muslim communities, as they are continuously recognized as strategic drivers of economic growth.

Speaking at the launch, President of the IsDB, Dr Bandar M.H. Hajjar said: “With Kazkahstan emerging as a growing Islamic finance market, we are delighted to be launching the first leg of our roadshow here with the AIFC’s support. An extension of the IsDB’s Transform Fund, it helps us to identify innovators who are seeking funding, business partners and advice for their unique ideas.”

Over 150 entrepreneurs across the Central Asia region entered the competition, and finalists were invited to participate in a series of engaging masterclasses, seminars and workshops ahead of pitching. The sessions focused on: the benefits of creating a global ecosystem; generating interest in ideas and enterprises among impact investors; and how science, technology and innovation can solve social and health challenges across the developing world. Masterclass experts included: Dr. Hayat Sindi, Senior Advisor to the President IsDB, Science Technology and Innovation; Dr. Fil Randazzo, Founder and CEO, Leverage Science; and Mr. Alex Johnston, Board Director Pitch@Palace and Web Foundation.


The winners of the Transformers Roadshow were announced in a ceremony today:

  • Z. Kerimkulov and N. Shodorova – their project called Egistic focuses on the creation of a geo information and analytical system to support farmers and decision-makers in the development of the agricultural sector in Kazakhstan.
  • R. Rakymbay, A. Taukenov and S. Satayev - developed a project on Smart Farming. It aims to create a sustainable and technologically driven solution to address the above challenges and ensure that a wide variety of plants are grown using accurate, live and digitally driven data.
  • K. Tuleishinpitched a venture on Smart Halal Finance, which will aim to make its impact on reaching the UN sustainable development goals, particularly in the area of the quality education.


As the Islamic Development Bank understands the importance of sharing expertise and investing in training and skills to add to the value chains of their member countries, the Bank led a number of additional workshops at the Astana Islamic Economy Forum. Dr Hayat Sindi, Senior Advisor to the IsDB President, participated in a panel session celebrating the success of modern women in finance & technology, while highlighting the increasing demand for gender equality in the sector.