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Naryn Centre for Entrepreneurship to Create Jobs for Youth

With the objective of creating job opportunities in mountain communities, the University of Central Asia (UCA), with generous support from The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), inaugurated a dedicated Centre for Entrepreneurship (NCE) on 13 November 2021 in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan.

Within the framework of the project "Local Impact: A Transformative Partnership in Asia and Africa", UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education has established a holistic facility in Naryn to conduct intense entrepreneurship and business development training and launch business incubation and mentoring programmes, with a focus on serving local communities - particularly the youth.

“NCE’s objective is far more than just teaching students the concepts of critical thinking and problem solving. The Centre will help instill entrepreneurial culture among the youth of Kyrgyzstan, and hope to extend our reach to the marginalized youth of rural communities. Instead of young people worrying about being hired, NCE will help them create jobs,” said Jomart Hudaibergenov, Manager of NCE.

Observing the need to provide jobs in the mountainous region of Naryn, Azizullah Baig, Regional Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Manager at AKF said, “During our interactions with the business communities, we observed that not many youngsters enter into businesses due to lack of entrepreneurial skills and self-confidence. Therefore, a vast majority of youth opt for salaried employment, which itself is a big challenge with limited job opportunities in the region. The Local Impact project and NCE seeks to work with youth and encourage them towards creating self-employment opportunities.”

Sharing a similar goal with UCA to help establish sustainable business models in the country, the Economic Development Office Director of USAID, Joshua Templeton, said, “USAID’s key interest is to improve the livelihoods of the people of Kyrgyzstan and the most important resource of this country is the creativity and ability of its people to start their businesses and create jobs. With this Centre, we are helping to improve the capacity of people to establish businesses and make lives better for everyone in the community.”

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At the ribbon cutting ceremony of NCE. L to R – Altaaf Hasham (Management and Programme Liaison Officer, AKDN Kyrgyzstan), Joshua Templeton (USAID), Prof Sohail Naqvi (Rector, UCA) and Elmira Sadykova (Deputy Governor, Naryn).

The Centre for Entrepreneurship will deliver Expert Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation programmes to teach students advanced business concepts, including leadership and management, along with providing them with a workspace, mentorship support, and networking opportunities.

"I along with my son and grandson have attended many entrepreneurship courses at the School of Professional and Continuing Education, and subsequently received loans from KICB to establish our business. Our greenhouse produce is now available in local markets and much of our success has been due to support provided by the Aga Khan institutions," said Kalyikul Ysyraliev, a SPCE Alumnus.

Highlighting the importance of NCE in Kyrgyzstan and UCA’s active involvement in promoting entrepreneurship over the years, Prof Sohail Naqvi, Rector of UCA, said, “Every young person has something very precious – their ideas. However, these ideas need support and NCE is here to turn these dreams into reality. UCA being an educational institution supports ventures of entrepreneurship because knowledge needs pathways for practical results.”