The event was organised by Fryday Astana representative Merey Mustafina, who manages the networking organisation’s events in Astana. Each month, Fryday invites young professionals to meet at different venues, including restaurants, clubs and lounge bars. The events are designed to be opportunities to both relax with friends as well as to do a bit of after-hours networking, making contacts and sharing ideas. Fryday Astana’s guests are mostly local entrepreneurial Kazakhs, but the event is increasingly popular with the capital’s expatriates.
The Fryday concept, originally founded in Ukraine, has today spread across Europe, Central Asia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Fryday Astana has grown quickly from the original dozen or so curious people the group began with two years ago.
“[There were] a lot more people than usually come at Fryday Astana, with a good mix of expats and locals,” said Edward Surdeanu, an English teacher working for Interpress Astana. “[I] liked the prize and the idea of participating with the business cards and some interesting prizes,” Surdeanu said.
“[It was] well organised and promoted, attracted quite a big number of people. I would have appreciated a Russian and English speech, but that’s because my Russian is still terrible,” he said. The party was a good mix of business and networking, he added, and more relaxed than typical Fryday events.
“Congratulations Fryday Astana! Thank you [Fryday Astana] for uniting Astana’s young professionals [and] becoming the centre of vivacious energy, enthusiasm and certainly networking!” Gulnara Zhakupova, executive MBA programme manager at Nazarbayev University’s business school and co-chair of the Astana Lady’s Club, said in a speech.
“I remember how difficult it was at first to gather the conservative public of Astana,” she continued. “I myself missed a couple of the first events and look at it now: over 300 young professionals gather on a monthly basis to share news, contacts and look for networking ideas.”
“Astana is a young capital and something like Fryday brings the needed flavour to it; networking for young professionals is exactly what Astana lacked for years,” Raushan Makhmutova, a project coordinator for a construction company, said. “On a personal note, these events are always well thought-out; kudos to Merey Mustafina. I have become a regular at Fryday for quite some time and I always encourage my friends to come.”
Fryday has also branched out into Fryday W, a focused weekday meeting for experts from specific sectors. The most recent Fryday W targeted the future IT opportunities in Kazakhstan.