Be one of those who have already donated! Getting an educational grant is easier than it sounds


“For many school graduates, not scoring high on UNT and not getting a state grant is a big tragedy. But in fact, even in such a situation, there is a good chance to enter the university for free, having won a grant in one of the many competitions that universities hold. There are only a few important criteria that need to be met – this is greed for knowledge, leadership, smartness and perseverance, ”says AlmasU student Almas Toleubaev.

And he knows what he’s talking about. Indeed, last year  Almas won an educational grant in the field of entrepreneurship as part of the BesTіrek program of the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation. And in this he attended paid courses at the University of the USA (Babson College), winning the “Rocket Pitch” competition organized by the same foundation. He won the victory with the project, which he began to study at the beginning of his studies. This is a kind of online platform for applicants with information about universities and grants, the purpose of which is just to show young people that there are much more opportunities to get a decent education for free than is commonly believed.

 Our editors decided to meet with Almas and talk about his experience in participating in competitions, a trip to the United States and, naturally, about his projects. By the way, we are familiar with Almas from his first year studies. Agree, it’s good for a student who has just moved from Karaganda to Almaty, but is already actively establishing contacts with entrepreneurs, mentors and the media.

Almas, tell me how you applied for a grant at AlmaU? Your experience may be useful to our readers.

 I am from Karaganda, but I had a goal to apply for a grant at one of the Almaty universities. Still participating in the 11th grade, I understood that I have few chances to receive a state grant, since they are allocated very little to economic specialties. Then I began to look for other opportunities and participate in various competitions. As it turned out, there are a lot of them in different universities. But it so happened that I lost everywhere. Somewhere I reached a certain stage, somewhere to the finals, but in the end I dropped out anyway. At the end of the school year, almost before UNT, I saw information about the competition of educational grants in the field of entrepreneurship under the BesTіrek program of the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation. I remember how my parents even dissuaded me: “Why should you spend time on this, the other day you should pass UNT, it’s better to focus on exams.”As a result, I still applied, and as it turned out, out of 100 people, along with 35 of them, I was selected for the second round, to participate in which I had to go to Almaty. Here we have already been divided into teams and given out ideas for projects. The teams had to develop these ideas in two days, then pack and present to the jury. The main thing here was not the project itself, but how you will work in a team, whether you will show leadership qualities and entrepreneurial thinking. And already in the third round there was a selection of fellows. Of the 35 people, six won educational grants for the 2017-2018 academic year at AlmaU. I ended up among them.


Grants of the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation are awarded under two programs – BesTіrek in the field of entrepreneurship and a program for young people with special needs.

Eight people received educational grants for two programs of the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation in 2018. Six of them are winners of the BesTіrek program and two winners of grants for young people with special needs.

Since the beginning of the implementation of the Foundation’s projects and programs since 2007, the total costs of educational programs in support of young talented Kazakhstanis and other projects amounted to more than 720 million tenge.

What specialty are you studying in today? As far as I know, did you end up in some kind of experimental program?

We won an educational grant for the specialty “Management” under the pilot program Minor – entrepreneurship.

In previous years, the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation allocated grants to three universities, but last year, when I entered, the foundation’s council decided that all grants would go to AlmaU. They understood that they needed people who would change the world. And this is an ambitious task, which entrepreneurs can best cope with thanks to their ideas and innovations.


Students of Minor – entrepreneurship actively participate in social projects as volunteers. For example, last year they together with the charity organization “Dos” held a large-scale charity concert, all the funds (more than 1 million tenge) from the organization of which were used to treat the child.

At that time, in my university, however, in my opinion, and in Kazakhstan as a whole, there was no specialty “Entrepreneurship”. Therefore, AlmaU decided to make an experimental specialty. The closest to entrepreneurship was Management, to which we added the second specialty Minor – entrepreneurship.

How is this implemented in practice in the educational process?

 Our classes go with all the students studying in the “Management” discipline, but unlike them, we still have additional pairs in entrepreneurship. These classes are taught to us by a business coach, acting entrepreneurs, mentors, who are attracted to the university. But in general, our program is overseen by the AlmaU Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

And how was the experiment last school year?

I think he succeeded, because this year a separate specialty “Business Administration in the Field of Entrepreneurship” has already been opened at the university. It received 40 people through an educational grant (34 grants were provided by Astana Akimat and 6 by Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation). The specialty is aimed at training specialists with entrepreneurial thinking, capable of creating a business from scratch, developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region.


This academic year, 48 grants for training at AlmaU in innovative specialties: “Business Administration in the Field of Entrepreneurship” and “Business Analytics and Big Data” became the contribution of Astana City Akimat to the profession of the future. Having mastered new specialties, students will have to work out a grant within 3 years after graduation. This stimulates the development of Astana as “SMART CITY” and one of the country’s most advanced entrepreneurial cities.

Tell me about your project, thanks to which you won the Rocket Pitch competition?

Rocket Pitch is an annual startup competition at AlmaU, organized by the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation and which is still being held among our students studying in the entrepreneurial program. In the first year, they announced that at the end of the school year a competition will be held and the winner will go to Babson College. I participated with a friend. And our project won. We are the only participants who had a working prototype, an understandable business model and even a small team of 4 people.

What is the idea of the project and how was it born?

The goal of our course is to educate us in entrepreneurial thinking and so that already in the learning process, we create our own projects. But it so happened that even before starting to study at the university, I took part in the summer camp at AlmaU – “Young – enterpeneur”, which is held by AlmaU with the support of the akimat of Almaty.

It was a week-long training program, which is an express course on startups. As part of the camp program, a project competition was also held. To participate in it, we formed a team of three people – Alibek Martenov, Azamat Abitaev and I.

It so happened that when choosing a university and looking for opportunities to apply for a grant, we all faced the same problem. It consists in the fact that there is very little information in the public domain, and that which is available is in no way structured. Plus Alibek created a group in vk in the 11th grade under the name “Typical Applicant”. It was a simple group in which the guys exchanged information about who goes where, older students helped applicants with tips on how to take UNT, etc. The group became quite popular and had more than 3,000 subscribers, which is not bad considering that the public was not advertised in any way.

We decided to jointly develop the idea of ​​how to do something more from a group in vk. As a result, we came to the need to create a website or a mobile application, which would contain all the information about all universities in Kazakhstan, about UNT and grants.

As I said, there are a lot of opportunities to win grants, but few people know about this. I have a brother who is himself from the small town of Atbasar. I immediately told him: “There are many options to get a grant, so participate in all contests.” And it so happened that while still in 11th grade, he won grants at three Kazakhstan universities. The brother eventually chose AlmaU from them. So there are many opportunities for free education. And with our project we wanted to solve the problem of the lack of information about them in the public domain.In the camp we were the youngest team, we were only 17-18 years old. Of the 60 teams, only 16 reached the final, but we were among them. Many actually liked the idea, but we did not get a prize. But for us it was a cool experience. The skills we got there helped us a lot in the future.

Did you continue to develop the project further?

Yes, when the training began, we were told – let’s generate ideas. We decided that we already have a cool idea and it needs to be developed.

However, it so happened that Alibek himself moved away from the project a bit, as he had a job. I and Azamat remained in the project, but then we attracted two more people – a designer and a programmer. So we began to independently develop our startup and participate in various competitions. Even won some cash prizes.


The project won first place in the competition “Start Up Night AlmaU”, organized by the AlmaU Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Development, 3rd place in the special competition “Making the Internet Better” within the framework of Enactus Kazakhstan from Beeline Kazakhstan, and was awarded at the Kazan Forum of Young People OIC Entrepreneurs (2018).

Tell us about how you reached the final of the competition of the Kazan Forum of Young Entrepreneurs of OIC Countries?

Of the 600 applications for the finals, about 30 passed, and we were among them. It also provides a weekly training program with pitching to investors at the end. It was cool. Firstly, this is my first flight outside of Kazakhstan, and secondly, for us it was the first pitching experience in English. We did not win prizes and did not receive any investment in the end, but it was a unique experience for us. For example, we had a cool mentor from Skolkovo who pumped us well and helped improve our project. I think this partly helped us to win in Kazakhstan at Rocket Pitch.

Are students looking for opportunities to participate in such contests themselves or is the university informing you?

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Development, which oversees our program, always takes off some information about contests. Plus, I’m looking for it myself, because our project is focused on this. You know, when we were in Kazan, it turned out that they have the same problem as we have in Kazakhstan.I mean the low awareness of young people about such opportunities. They have been holding the forum for the fourth year, but there could have been much more applications. Therefore, it is often not the strongest guys who win in such competitions, but those who realized that they could win a grant due to the lack of much competition.

Let’s talk about a trip to Babson College. What insights did you return to Kazakhstan with and how did this affect your project?

These were weekly entrepreneurship courses, something like a summer camp in a training form, which is held on an annual basis. Every day we attended two lectures of three hours on different topics. Among them are entrepreneurial thinking, design thinking, finance, marketing. All of them were taught with an emphasis on startups. The teachers were professors who possessed information on a large number of cases. And it’s very cool.

As for the second part of the question, during the classes at Babson College, we also had an item called “Startup Growth and the Life Cycle”. One of the teachers told us this thing: “If you have any idea, be prepared for the fact that when you start to implement it, in the end it will never be exactly the same as you conceived it at the beginning. Either this will be a completely different idea, or some small part of the original idea. This will happen under the influence of various circumstances, for example, a better understanding of the market and its needs. ”original idea. This will happen under the influence of various circumstances, for example, a better understanding of the market and its needs. ”

In other words, big famous projects like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter – started with completely different ideas. It also happened to me. Returning to Kazakhstan, we suspended the project. There are many reasons for this, firstly, we had little experience when we started it. Analyzing now, I understand that we have gone a little wrong way. Secondly, we had a weak team, not everyone was completely dedicated to the project. And thirdly, we fell in love with the idea and wanted to do everything at once. If you remember, when we talked in the winter, we had plans not only to fill the site with content, but to realize in it the possibility of electronic submission of documents to universities, etc. But it turned out that the “big elephant” is better to eat in parts. This awareness has come just now. At the moment, after the suspension of the project, I took up its analogue, but with the existing audience.

The new project is called Friends introduced me to its founder. In the process of communication, it turned out that he has a similar project, but also very understandable and with the same mission as These are pages on social networks (Instagram, Facebook, vk, Telegram) that talk about opportunities, grants, scholarships and competitions.

It turned out that this person does not have time and people to develop his project, despite the fact that a large audience has already gathered there. I proposed my candidacy. As you already understood, in fact it is an analogue of, only launched a little earlier and without additional functionality with the submission of documents.

I took up the project and after a while, the founder of the project, completely transferred it to me. This happened about a month ago, but during this time I already had a partner. Alembek himself came to me and offered his candidacy. He told his vision of the project, so we decided to become partners and began to assemble a team. At the moment, there is already an agreement with three guys who also want to join our team.

We are aimed at creating an educational platform, but not by creating a separate site, but by developing our pages on social networks. It seems to me that we already have a good audience – 27 thousand followers on Instagram and 7 thousand in the telegram channel. For them we will prepare content about education, professions, grants abroad and in Kazakhstan. Today, people unknowingly choose their specialties, so we want to talk about the professions in demand of the future.

Alembek himself is also a student, but in addition to our project, Chocofamily has been working in the Rakhmet project in the HR department for a year now. Therefore, we decided to divide the areas of responsibility – he will be engaged in the recruitment and development of the team, and I will expand the audience and partnership. Our business model is now aimed at increasing the audience and further monetization through advertising.

Thus, those projects that I wanted to implement in the first project, I am now implementing in

Thank you for your frankness. Finally give some advice to our readers?

1. Be proactive!

I often see schoolchildren and students who just come to class and then go home. They do not participate in school or student life, do not show any activity and miss many opportunities to express themselves and gain new experience.

2. Do not give up!

It often happens that after losing in one contest, we do not want to participate in the next. This is stupid! Remember how the process of learning to ride a bicycle goes. Even if you fall 9 times, you will definitely go to the 10th.

3. Do not be afraid to make mistakes!

For some reason, in our mentality, failure is always regarded as wrong. Failed the exam – a tragedy, got the top three – also a tragedy. But it’s not right. It’s better to make a mistake faster in order to move on. Participating in various competitions, I realized that in order to win, you do not need to be the smartest, it is important not to give up, learn from mistakes and go all the way.

4. Do not waste your time!

When I was a schoolboy, I read an interview in which the speaker said that schoolchildren and students think that they still have a lot of time ahead, so now you can do nothing, relax, take a walk, and only then do education, self-development, internship, work. But in fact, when they are 25-30 years old, they will no longer be able to easily absorb and perceive information, as before. Therefore, it’s better to read everything in the discipline that is really interesting to you even in school and student time. Read, listen to audio books, watch programs. This is also very important as it seems to me.

Almas, thanks for the interview!

Қайырымдылық жасау! Сделать пожертвование!

(RU) Пожертвование

(RU) Все средства собранные за счет благотворительных пожертвований, будут использованы для выделения дополнительных грантов. До 16 марта 2021 года за взносы, сделанные до 16.00, комиссия составляет 0 тенге!