17 first-time entrepreneurs to obtain grants to start businesses of their own

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The Eurasian Foundation of Central Asia (EFCA) has summed up the results of the business ideas competition organized under the Youth Mean Business Project supported by Kumtor Gold Company. This project is designed to increase the potential of young people willing to translate their business ideas into life.

For months have a group of young Issyk-Kul residents studied the fundamentals of business-doing and improved their projects with the help of mentors, experienced consultants and successful business people active in Kyrgyzstan.

“Initially, Kumtor Gold Company and we were working on a different project, Youth Banks, which targeted social projects with young people focusing primarily on their communities’ social woes. But then we discovered that leadership qualities and business skills should also be inculcated in young people. These young people would obtain a chance to earn more and get quality education. Thus, we decided to launch another project, Youth Business, which is thought to help young Issyk-Kulers acquire new knowledge and funds to implement their business ideas. This has become possible largely due to Kumtor Gold Company,” said Dinara Musabekova, Executive Director, EFCA.
Rodney Stuparyk, Vice President, Risk Management, Compliance and Sustainable Development, KGC, in his turn, highlighted the fact that the company seeks to encourage young people so as to help them contribute to the sustainable development of their own communities and the Issyk-Kul region at large by creating more jobs and generating fresh business ideas.

“With the help of potential investors and mentors, all finalists have produced smart business plans. Even during the Start-Up Weekend, I was pleasantly surprised at seeing such a variety of ideas offered by young people as they involved poultry factories, car wash, LEGO bricks production, hothouses, mushrooms growing, and even soap production projects! I am really impressed by their innovative and bold ideas. Hopefully, all the projects that are to obtain grants from Kumtor Gold Company, will be successfully translated into life!” he said.

Obtaining financial aid, however, is not the sole aim of the project. Various trainings have been organized for the competition participants where the young people have learned more about business planning, marketing, pricing, promotion of goods and services, etc.
Initially, applications were submitted by 350 young people of whom about 60 could then proceed with learning business basics. The list of finalists included 45 people. The competition’s results were summed up during Investor’s Day which was marked in Bishkek last weekend. The young people were given one minute to describe their projects to investors and get them interested. Next, they provided more detailed presentations.

Azamat Attokurov, Executive Director, Institute of Management Consultants, and one of the mentors, explained the rules according to which the winners were selected.

“There were 45 finalists who arrived in Bishkek to present their business plans. All their ideas were found to be excellent and practicable but, regrettably, the grant fund is limited and, thus, only the smartest were recognized as winners. What the jury assessed in the first place is business practicability, the number of jobs they provided, innovative ideas, and financial estimates. Thus, all the participants were rated according to these parameters,” he said.

The mentors, represented by business people prominent in Kyrgyzstan, selected 17 top projects and gave their authors certificates entitling them to Kumtor Gold Company’s grants. Also, the winners will share the $150,000 prize fund.

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