Founding Members

Talant Sultanov

Talant Sultanov is the Chair and Co-Founder of the Kyrgyz Internet Society and an expert at
the Taza Koom Center for Strategic Initiatives in Bishkek. He has worked in the Kyrgyz
government as the Adviser to the Prime Minister, as the Coordinator of the Taza Koom
National Digital Transformation Program, and as the Director of the National Institute for
Strategic Studies. Talant has worked in the past in the World Bank Almaty and Washington
Offices. His other positions include the CFO of the American University of Central Asia in
Bishkek, the Head of a Project Finance Unit at Kazkommertsbank in Almaty, and a Scholarship
Coordinator at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco. Additionally, he served on boards of
the Kyrgyz National TV and Radio Corporation, the Business Council of the Kyrgyz Parliament,
the Bank of Asia, and Humo Microcredit Foundation in Tajikistan. Talant holds a Master’s
degree in International Finance from Columbia University’s School of International and Public
Affairs (2006) and a Bachelor’s degree (Summa Cum Laude) in International Relations from San
Francisco State University (1999). He has also received executive education at the Harvard
Kennedy School and NESA (2016).

Bermet Imanalieva has been research officer at National Institute for Strategic Studies of
Kyrgyz Republic over the last four years. She worked as Policy Adviser in different international
organizations located in Bishkek. Ms. Imanalieva holds PhD from Academy of Management
under the President of Kyrgyz Republic (2014), fellowship from Central European University
(2012), and BA in World Economy from kyrgy2 Russian Slavie University (2008).


Ermek Niyazov has been a Board Member of the Bank of Asia since 2012 and a Board Member
of Shoro, a leader in the national beverage industry, since 2015. From 2013-2015, he served as a
Vice President and Commercial Director of KyrgyzTelecom, the incumbent operator in the
Kyrgyz Republic. Mr. Niyazov has been in finance and marketing for most of his career working
for such ICT companies as Oracle Corporation, Beeline, Cisco Systems, and others. He is a well-
known and self-made entrepreneur who has initiated several start-ups in Kyrgyzstan, most of
which are still in operation. From 2011-2012, Mr. Niyazov served as the Chairman of the Bishkek
Business Club, a business association that promotes and supports the business community of
Bishkek. He was also President of the Rotary Club of Bishkek for the 2012-2013 term. Mr.
Niyazov holds a BA from the American University in Central Asia (1998)

Aziz Soltobaev is an expert promoting tech entrepreneurship, fostering the digital economy,
and building country-level capacity (infrastructure, legal framework, community). He has
worked as the Policy Adviser to the Office of President, Office of the Prime Minister, as the
Vice PM,as the Minister of Education, in the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Office of
Mayor. He is also the co-author of Vision of Bishkek city development 2014-2018, co-author of
National Digital Transformation Strategy “TazaKoom”, contributor to National Sustainable
Development Strategy “Vision 2018-2040”, member of working groups on issues related to
Internet, connectivity, and digital entrepreneurship. Aziz holds a BA in Economics from the
American University of Central Asia in Bishkek (1999) and is active in the AUCA Alumni


Azis Abakirov is the owner and founder of “Unique Technologies” IT company, one of the
most successful software development companies in Kyrgyzstan, established in 2003. Mr.
Abakirov is also an active member of the Bishkek Business Club where he facilitates
communication and networking among the business leaders of Kyrgyzstan. In addition, Mr.
Abakirov was elected as Chairman of the Supervisory Board at the Ministry of Transportation
and Communication, as well as the Chairman of the Kyrgyz Software and Services Developers
Association. Mr. Abakirov holds a BA in Oriental Studies from the Kyrgyz National University in
Bishkek (2002).