7 surprising facts you never knew about Belarus tech sector
2014-06-10, by Diana
Belarus has a growing technology sector (as recently shown by its per capita exports). For companies that need to expand their software development and technology resources, Belarus might be a great choice for a remote team. But the country’s per capita exports aren’t the only cool thing about the Belarusian tech sector. Here’s 7 more things you probably didn’t know about this Eastern European country.
1. Belarus has always been at the forefront of innovation.
As early as 1517, Belarus was one of the first nations in Europe to have its own printed Bible. Francysk Skaryna was one of the first people to print books. He printed them in Prague in Old Belarusian language.
2. Belarus was the “Silicon Valley” of the former USSR
Under the Soviet rule, Belarus was considered to be the “Silicon Valley”, because it used to manufacture over 50% of computers and computer parts of the USSR. Since 1960s, Belarus has also become a software development hub and is responsible for coining the term “programmnoe obespechenie” or “software” in Russian.
3. Belarus has gained global recognition for its IT and software development outsourcing services
Belarus is becoming known worldwide for its IT and software development capabilities. In 2011, the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) named Belarus 5th best outsourcing location, ahead of regional giants like Russia (18) and Ukraine (23). In 2012, it was one of Tholons’ top emerging outsourcing destinations and was included in Gartner’s Top 30 Offshore locations.
4. Tech companies in Belarus get a nice tax break
High Tech Park Belarus offers some of the best tax benefits in Europe for tech companies. IT companies are exempt from all corporate taxes, including VAT, profit, real estate and land taxes. The government-led initiative has tremendously helped the IT sector. “As a result of the government’s commitment to regulatory changes and reforms to the investment framework, foreign direct investment increased 54% to US$14.3 billion in 2012,” says Singapore Business Federation council member Piyush Gupta.
5. Belarus has one of the most educated populations that chooses to study technology
For every 10,000 people, there are 467 students in Belarus – 5th in the world after USA, Russia, Poland, and Finland. And one fourth of all students in Belarus choose to study technology and engineering.
6. Belarusian developers killed Skype
Said to be the “Skype killers of Belarus”, Belarusian developers created a new communication app. Viber offers a mobile platform that works on any mobile device and allows free calls and messaging.
7. Belarus is great for entrepreneurs
According to the World Bank, it is easier to start a new business in Belarus than in the U.S. Belarus ranks as the 15th best country in the world for the easiness of starting a business.
For more information about Belarus IT sector, download this white paper.
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Title image courtesy of Anna Rubaylova via Flickr.
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