Winners Announced for Social Entrepreneurship Competition
Six winners were awarded grants up to US$3,000 to implement innovative community development projects across Kyrgyzstan on January 15th 2018 in Bishkek. “I want my region and hometown to be developed and the Change the World Around You! contest and entrepreneurship programme has really helped me to be one step closer to my dream,” said Faruh Mirsayitov, who is planning to launch a social shop with low-cost essential food products in Osh.
The University of Central Asia (UCA) School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) received over 800 applications from young people (18 to 31 years of age) in Kyrgyzstan for its fourth Change the World Around You! competition. In January, the strongest 20 community initiatives in Kyrgyzstan were selected and finalists participated in a 12-day entrepreneurship programme in Bishkek, providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills to further develop their business ideas.
Dr Gulnara Dzhunushalieva, Director of UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education with the six winners. From L to R: Guzel Kerimkulova (Bishkek), Faruh Mirsayitov (Osh), Abai Zakiryaev (Issyk-Kul), Dr Gulnara Dzhunushalieva, Saltanat Alieva (Bishkek), Almanbet kyzy Aigerim (Talas), Nursultan Karabaev (Batken).
Other winning projects include the production of functional, voice correcting prostheses (Bishkek); the opening of a printing center where people with disabilities can work (Talas), an energy-efficient green house and training for farmers and unemployed young people (Issyk-Kul); and a kindergarten for migrant and poor families (Batken).
“We learned a lot, and it was exactly what I needed,” said Guzel Kerimkulova, finalist from Bishkek who is creating a business to prepare clothing boxes and supplies for families with premature babies.
All 34 awardees of the three previous phases have successfully implemented their business-plans. They currently work in areas such as wastepaper collection to provide school textbooks, eco-friendly purses made by individuals with impaired hearing, construction of a children’s playground in Batken, a kindergarten in Karakol, and a call-center for visually impaired individuals.
“Since 2012, UCA’s SPCE has implemented a Social Entrepreneurship youth training programme in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. With an increased capacity of university’s instructors to teach ‘Social Entrepreneurship’, as an elective course, 12 universities and colleges have joined the initiative since 2017. This will enable more youth to participate and further contribute to the development of communities in the region,” said Dr Gulnara Dzhunushalieva, Director of UCA’s SPCE, remarking after the event.
The Change the World Around You! contest is part of the Empowerment of Youth for Socio-Economic Development of the Country project. It is being implemented by UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education and is funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation and the Coca-Cola Company.
“All the youth projects were so interesting, and all the proposed ideas were unbelievably great. I am happy we can help provide such an opportunity to the youth. Our country may be small, but we can provide big opportunities,” said Aiperi Emilbekova, Coca-Cola representative and member of the selection commission.
The University of Central Asia was founded in 2000 as a private, not for profit, secular university through an International Treaty signed by the Presidents of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan; ratified by their respective parliaments, and registered with the United Nations. The Presidents are the Patrons of the University, and His Highness is the Chancellor. UCA’s mission is to promote the social and economic development of Central Asia, particularly its mountain communities, by offering an internationally recognised standard of higher education, and enabling the peoples of the region to preserve their rich cultural heritage as assets for the future. UCA brings with it the broader commitment and partnership of the Aga Khan Development Network.