Ainura Sagyn

Co-Founder and CEO at Tazar
"I want to be part of a community of ambitious, strong, and smart women"

In Kyrgyzstan, Ainura Sagyn has created the Tazar app, bringing together waste producers and recyclers; established the women’s online magazine sheisnomad.com, and set up coding training programs for young women.

Ainura won the inDriver Award for creating a sustainable business and making a significant contribution to the development of the women’s community in Central Asia.

Ainura Sagyn's Principles

I have the opportunity to impact the recycling and environmental sector in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia. It’s within my power to address the garbage problem by teaching environmentally conscious behavior. Over time, we will introduce robotic systems capable of identifying different types of waste for sorting at waste processing facilities and further recycling. This is going to be an important innovation — and that inspires me. Currently in Kyrgyzstan, all waste products are sorted by humans.

Tazar in facts and figures
>6,200
>app downloads
11
employees on staff
>20
tonnes of waste removed since 2020 thanks to the app
>47
companies partnering with Tazar

I want to be part of a community of ambitious, strong, and smart women. They are heading in the same direction as me. They have submitted 116 applications for the Aurora Tech Award. Each of them is a superstar in their industry, region, country, or university. You can learn a lot from each of them. There is this saying that goes like this, "Tech is always changing, but if you have a network that helps you change with it, you’re set."

Performance at a new level across a wide variety of companies is a result of these awards for women. Participants can develop new skills and new contacts for future success. The most important thing is to show that startups founded by women from Central Asia or any Russian-speaking country can bring positive change.

About discrimination

You have to get married early, before you reach the age of 23 — in Talas, a small town in northern Kyrgyzstan where I grew up, this is a common belief shared by most girls. By now I could have been a housewife with four or five children. Many local girls have to fight tooth and nail for every opportunity to study and work. Many of them don’t have a computer at home or at school. Which means they have far fewer opportunities to become a software programmer or an IT entrepreneur. So it wasn’t easy for me, a girl who was interested in IT. Still in some regions, technology is one of the boldest ambitions to be adopted.

I have seen with my own eyes how technology can make life better and bring people together. Among other things, it is able to overcome gender stereotypes. For work and study, I have travelled to many countries, conferences and universities in Europe, Asia, and the Silicon Valley.

About the business of waste collection

So far, along with the other woman co-founder, we’ve invested our salaries and scholarships into the startup. We are not natural-born entrepreneurs or marketing professionals. We don’t have enough investment capital.

We had to step outside our comfort zone to make the Tazar project work and take off. We have been new to pitching, building contacts with companies involved in collecting and processing waste materials, and locating partners. We have followed the example of other successful startups in Central Asia. There are many more ideas that we have yet to implement.

We are able to change people’s attitudes and contribute to the development of the environment. To do this, we need to create a functional Tazar-based service. This will make the app a positive factor in social change. Just reducing the amount of garbage is too easy a task to accomplish.

We will use the prize money to buy electrical porters for collecting recyclable waste materials. This will serve as a great example for other companies to transition to renewable technologies in their operations and businesses. Such a move can positively impact the way people think and behave.