TechMinsk, an acceleration and education hub for the local tech ecosystem, has raised its very first fund this year; it’s also a first for the country of Belarus.

Funded mainly from local angel investors, TechMinsk will invest in the most promising local startups, up to $50,000 for up to eight percent equity. The startups then enter a ten-week acceleration program that covers every facet of launching a business, from product-market fit to company culture, through hands-on activities and mentorship.

In an added boost to the homegrown effort, the organisation has also secured a partnership with Google Launchpad, Google’s global acceleration program, wherein Google experts share specific expertise and technology with AI-first startups. The first batch of TechMinsk-funded projects are all built on AI but otherwise span a range of sectors: digital health, design, SaaS, travel, and areas of education and entertainment.

Google isn’t the only form of “outside” support, however. TechMinsk is also supported by the US Agency for International Development, which helped establish the organisation back in 2013.

The first batch of startups kicked off the acceleration program last week and will present their businesses at a final “demo day” event on December 10. TechMinsk aims to run two batches per year; the next one will start spring 2020.

Tania Marinich, a TechMinsk founding partner said: “I’m very happy we raised the first ever acceleration fund in Belarus from local wealthy individuals and angels and completed the necessary registration process in just four months. This first fund in Belarus will support Belarus founders on their journeys to create successful scalable ventures, and help develop the startup and venture ecosystem in the country and region.”

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