UCA Builds Entrepreneurial Capacity and Invests in Social Initiatives in Almaty Region
The University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (UCA-SPCE) is implementing a series of initiatives to help communities in the Republic of Kazakhstan develop entrepreneurial capacity and proactive responses to economic and social challenges.
The initiatives target the Almaty region and augment SPCE’s standard offerings in information technology (IT), accounting and language training. They also support the goals of government programmes, and are based on fruitful partnerships with public and private organisations, including the Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund (DAMU), a foundation created by Presidential Decree to support entrepreneurs in Kazakhstan.
SPCE UCA Implements Business Advisor Project Under National Business Road Map Initiative
In April 2013, SPCE launched its Business Advisory Project to provide residents and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Almaty region with entrepreneurial support and information.
The project is implemented in partnership with DAMU, which is administering many aspects of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Business Road Map (BRM)-2020 Programme: Strengthening Entrepreneurial Capacity. This component of the BRM-2020 includes free support and training for entrepreneurs in priority sectors of the economy. Since its launch in 2009 in the Almaty region, DAMU’s programme has covered 19 districts, reaching 2,700 participants.
"Support for start-up businesses involves teaching the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and providing a standard package of documents required by law to start and run a business; these are critical components of the DAMU programme," explained Reenat Taltusov, DAMU Director, Almaty region.
In April 2013, SPCE partnered with DAMU to serve as the programme’s outreach and training provider in the Almaty region. Under Phase I of the Business Advisor Project, SPCE delivered dozens of outreach workshops and trained over 1,000 people, utilising DAMU materials, including a start-up kit for businesses.
The kit provides legal incorporation guidelines, sample business plans and feasibility studies, and forms to obtain financial credit and market research reports by industry sectors. These materials are complemented by SPCE’s experienced trainers. SPCE business instructors are highly qualified and, in addition to their excellent teaching credentials, have at least three years’ experience running their own business.
This ensures that participants receive both theoretical knowledge and practical advice. Phase II of the Business Advisor Project will be implemented from September to November 2013, and the Project will reach a total of 2,000 learners by the end of the year.
Entrepreneurship Support Centre Opens in Tekeli
In February 2013, UCA-SPCE opened the Tekeli Entrepreneurship Support Centre, in partnership with DAMU’s Monotown Development Programme.
"The Government established the Monotown Development Programme for 2012-2020 to help with the revival of single-industry towns and their sustainable social and economic development. It is part of the national plan outlined in the President's Address to the Republic of Kazakhstan on social and economic modernisation as a key development vector for the nation,” explained Kanibek Aitzhanov, Mayor of Tekeli Town.
Over 70 residents and guests, including prominent financial representatives and entrepreneurs, attended the opening ceremony. In his remarks, Kanat Soultanghazihev, Deputy Chairman of the DAMU Board, said “The Entrepreneurship Support Centre was established to provide information and advice to entrepreneurs and residents so they can get their businesses off the ground and thriving”.
The Centre provides support on starting and running a business, legal considerations, business support programmes and working with financial institutions. Entrepreneurs can obtain information and advice on registering their business, writing business plans, applying for loans, participating in electronic tenders and preparing tax reports. The Centre also offers training seminars on state support for businesses and improving business performance, as well as career guidance for young people.
“The Centre offers entrepreneurs access to information and the expertise and experience of its staff. Much of the information we readily provide can be difficult to obtain, requiring business owners to engage in time consuming research with state bodies, or to rely on the Internet, which is not always accurate or up-to-date,” said Oleg Lyssenko, Administrative Manager, SPCE Tekeli.
Since it opened in February, it has delivered over 350 consultations to 120 entrepreneurs and community members intending to start their own business. Five entrepreneurs have started new businesses using services provided by the Centre, and are enjoying ongoing support.
|Mr Bahytzhan Saghintayev (second from right), First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, visited the SPCE Entrepreneurship Support Centre in April 2013 and met with clients.
SPCE Partnership launches Social Innovations Project
On 31 May 2013, UCA-SPCE launched the Social Innovations Project, in partnership with the British Council, the Multidisciplinary College No. 7 of Astana and the National Medical College of Almaty, with funding from the Chevron Corporation. The project helps young people from disadvantaged groups, such as persons with disabilities, the unemployed and orphans, acquire the information and skills they need to build successful careers and lead healthy social lives. The project reflects the goals the Social Modernisation Programme of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the State Education Development Programme of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020.
“The Social Innovations Project complements the State Education Development Programme. Students, who will soon be contributing members of society, should be involved in the social modernisation of Kazakh society. In addition to education, the development of human capital, through social involvement and commitment, will help put many innovative ideas into practice,” said Ms Raikhan Sissekenova, UCA Manager of Government and Community Relations in Kazakhstan.
Under the project, three hundred college students from across Kazakhstan will attend training sessions on social entrepreneurship and project management at SPCE Learning Centres in Tekeli and Taldykorgan, and organise and participate in social events.
"The training seminars and activities are designed to help participants improve their communication skills, find efficient solutions to problems, and improve their English language and computer skills. It also promotes the development of social consciousness, which is integral to creating a better society,” said Zalkar Kamalov, Deputy Director, SPCE.
Participants will be placed as interns with non-governmental organisations addressing social needs to design and implement their own projects. "Young people need to develop communication and teamwork skills in addition to languages and computer literacy," said Anar Nurbayeva, Deputy Director of the British Council. Social Awareness Days highlighting issues of concern to Kazakh youth are also being organised. Three have already taken place, addressing opportunities for persons with disabilities, alcoholism and HIV/AIDS.
UCA launched the project at an event that was attended by participants, and representatives of the Tekeli Municipal Department of Employment and Social Welfare, the Internal Policy Department of the Tekeli Municipal Council, the British Council and the Chevron Corporation.
|From left to right: Leila Aitmukhanova, Coordinator of the Department of Public and Government Relations in Republic of Kazakhstan, Chevron Corporation; Anar Nurbayeva, British Council Deputy director, Zalkar Kamalov, SPCE Deputy Director, and Raikhan Sissekenova, UCA Manager of Government and Community Relations in Kazakhstan, and Aktolkyn Iskhakova, Specialist from the Department of Employment and Social Welfare speak at the launch of the Social Innovations Project.
|SPCE staff and students at the opening of the Social Innovations Project.
SPCE Delivers Social Management Training
UCA-SPCE, Taldykorgan offered a two-day training for social workers on Social Management: Fundamentals of Social Work for Children with Disabilities. Facilitated by Ms Raikhan Sissekenova, UCA Manager of Government and Community Relations in Kazakhstan, the training was attended by 30 social workers from across the Almaty region. Ms Sissekenova is the founder of Alpamys, a public association working with children with disabilities and brought considerable expertise and experience to the training.
Participants learnt about new models of support for vulnerable populations that are being introduced throughout Kazakhstan. They were introduced to specialised management skills related to working with children with disabilities, and further developed their communication skills. Sessions included participatory activities and discussions on social work terminology and concepts, and techniques of working with children with disabilities.
"I liked working in a team, discussing and building consensus on different issues and approaches. We've learned a lot, not only about the work of social workers in Kazakhstan, but also about the work of our colleagues abroad," said workshop participant GE Chokanova.