EBRD launches Fast Track programme to boost Kazakh women’s economic empowerment  

ASTANA – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in cooperation with the Ernst & Young company announced the 15 women-led enterprises that will participate in their Fast Track accelerated programme targeting businesses with growth potential, the EBRD press service reported Feb. 27.

The project was launched as part of the EBRD’s Women in Business programme, which promotes gender equality and the sustainable development of women’s entrepreneurship in the country.

“Women’s entrepreneurship plays a key role in job creation and in stimulating Kazakhstan’s economic growth… The Fast Track targeted support programme aims to bring enterprises with growth potential to a new level. The selected companies represent various sectors of the economy, including light industry, medicine, education and tourism. The companies are located in Almaty, Astana, Kokshetau, Kostanai, Shymkent and Semei,” reads the release.

Participants in the new project include Dulatov Kostanai Engineering and Economic University, Vienna, Actual Optic, Ecomed, KazSPO-n, Happy Cake, Smart Imperium, AGF Group, Touroperator Kompas, Mimioriki, Arsha, Top Cleaning Service, Doctor Dent, Stone House companies and the Georgievsky pump equipment plant.

Fast Track will provide participants with the opportunity over nine months starting from March to share experiences, to learn the world’s best practices for promoting women’s entrepreneurship, to choose from different types of consulting services and business coaching and to expand their business contacts.

The entrepreneurs will take part in group trainings and individual coaching sessions in financial and personnel management, marketing and sales, strategic and operational planning, organisational development, risk management and other areas.

During the individual sessions, Ernst & Young will help the enterprises identify the challenges in developing a roadmap of initiatives to increase growth areas. The company will monitor the enterprises to further increase their potential.

Enterprises with an annual turnover of between $567,012 to $56 million, with up to 250 employees and that had been operating for two years in Kazakhstan were eligible for the project. Excluded from eligibility were companies in the tobacco and alcohol industries, financial and insurance institutions and gambling business; all others were welcome to apply.

Overall, the bank has provided $92 million in equivalent local currency and five lines of credit of $64.6 million. More than $2.7 million was allocated for nonfinancial services including consulting, business coaching, mentoring and market development activities as part of the Women in Business programme in 2018. 

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