Business Road Map Encourages Increased Entrepreneurship

ASTANA –The People’s Democratic Party Nur Otan and representatives of the DAMU Fund launched a series of meetings on implementing the Business Road Map 2020 on June 12, during which they called on Astana entrepreneurs to press forward in their activities.

The campaign, launched at the Nazarbayev University, marked the beginning of this year’s business training programme supported by the Business Road Map 2020.

Astana’s entrepreneurs rarely turn to banks for funding for the development of their businesses, making this training especially important for them, said Dauren Sabdenov, director of the Astana DAMU Fund branch, at a meeting with representatives of second-tier banks held before the training.

“To be honest, currently, second-tier banks do not get applications for issuing loans. The state is trying to give you comprehensive assistance. You should use it: help yourselves,” Dauren Sabdenov told the Astana entrepreneurs. “Dear businessmen, please become more active in this regard,” he requested.

The representative of the DAMU Fund attributes the current lack of activity to a lack of awareness on the part of potential programme participants. “Today, we are holding this campaign especially for this reason. I have called on our businessmen to press forward. This year, 600 million tenge was allocated for our city, which is a lot of money. We should use it. If we implement the funds this year in effective ways, in the following years, funding will increase and the city and manufacturers will develop,” he said. According to Sabdenov, in Astana, within the framework of the Business Road Map 2020, no project has so far been funded or launched.

At the training, entrepreneurs heard from experienced trainers, saw positive examples of entrepreneurship in Astana and learned about similar experiences in other countries. They also filled out questionnaires prepared by Duke University in the United States, in cooperation with Nazarbayev University, which intend to identify the problems faced by businesses and find ways to address them.

Morven McLean, a specialist in innovation and organised development, spoke at the training and shared her experience. She said she pays particular attention to strategies of innovation, entrepreneurship, design, organisational culture and human resource development. Whether it is in activities with entrepreneurs, chief managers or other specialists, her approach lies in researching new ideas. She has provided her services in the spheres of healthcare, construction, engineering, asset management, financial services and other areas in Britain, North America, Europe, China, the Middle East and Asia.

Dr. Robert Rosenfeld, another trainer, is a course manager and member of the Duke Corporate Education teaching staff. He is also currently the head of the Centre for Organisational Excellence, a leading institution in management training and the development of leadership qualities. His research includes understanding the processes of global changes and their relationship to overall competitiveness.

“Business activity passes from the stage of doing business to the stage of business growth, and this teaching programme unifies these complex tasks,” he commented.

Ramon O’Callaghan, dean of the higher business school of Nazarbayev University, elaborated on the training programme: “Our professional development programme for chiefs of small and medium enterprises offers businessmen various tools and strategies necessary for assessing new possibilities and determining commercial feasibility. It also instils confidence in the inception of new projects,” he said.

Several examples of positive experiences in the Kazakhstan market were also shown as part of the training programme. The management of the Good Agency spoke about the history and the process of development of their company, which has become one of the leading advertisement agencies in Kazakhstan. Another positive example was the London-Almaty Insurance Company, whose head was looking for ways to develop the insurance company into a highly productive one based on the methods used by large enterprises such as Toyota.

Heads of small and medium enterprises began training under a professional development programme that has been in operation in Astana since 2011. Training is held as part of the state programme, Business Road Map 2020.

This year, the programme involves 420 participants, twice as many as in preceding years. This year’s training started with a three-day module at Nazarbayev University. After completion of this module, there will be a range of webinars with Kazakh experts in the field of legislation, finance and consulting services. Participants will also be provided with a sample for writing a detailed market-technical-economical verification of their business projects. After getting feedback from their teachers, students will make detailed business plans. Entrepreneurs with the best business plans will present their plans to a jury at a ceremony marking the end of their training, which is to take place in October 2013.

Higher-education teaching personnel from Duke University, in cooperation with Nazarbayev University, are taking part in this programme and teaching over the next 5-6 months.