Eastern Europe: The Next Silicon Valley?

One key to driving healthier economies in the countries of Eastern Europe, particularly in the former Soviet republics, could be significant investments in Web 2.0 development. Could Eastern Europe foster its own Silicon Valley?

The Soviet Union had its own technology capital once, though you might be surprised to learn it wasn’t located in the Russian Federation.

“Belarus was regarded as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of the former Soviet Union, manufacturing over 50 percent of the computers and components in the former USSR.” said Sergei A. Rachkov, deputy permanent representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus. “Nowadays, [the] software and IT services sector is one of the most successful and fastest growing industries in Belarus.” Rachkov spoke on Wednesday before an audience at an UN conference in New York entitled, “The UN Meets Web 2.0 and ICT Entrepreneurs.”

Although India’s success story garners a lot of attention, countries in Eastern Europe are also turning to IT as a way to upgrade their economies. During the UN’s Web 2.0 conference, representatives of Hungary, Belarus, and Croatia talked up government and private sector initiatives that have helped to lure the likes of Microsoft, IBM, Cisco and SAP to either outsource services from or set up shop on Eastern European turf.

Meanwhile, Rachkov said that, back in 2005, Belarus set up a High Technologies Park. Since then, about 40 domestic and foreign companies — including software developers and exporters — have become residents of the Park, Rachkov said.

Rachkov cited Belarus companies IBA Group and EPAM Systems as two of “the largest and most established European IT outsourcing providers based east of Germany.” These and other companies in Belarus “have world-class project management infrastructure [and] certification, and [they] successfully serve world-renowned clients, including IBM, Colgate-Palmolive, Samsung, Siemens, Alcatel, British Telecom, Ford-Union, and Microsoft,” according to the Belarusian official.

Source: EPAM

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