The EBRD's Business Advisory Services (BAS) programme is helping a public relations firm in Kazakhstan develop. The EBRD’s BAS programme is a particularly important means of helping small and medium-sized enterprises - the backbone of a dynamic economy - reach their full potential.
Building a consulting market
“BAS started its operations in Kazakhstan with Japanese donor funding in 2001. Since then, we have initiated over 700 projects,” explains Zhanibek Suleimenov, BAS National Director for Kazakhstan.
“Our work breaks down into two major streams: consulting services for individual enterprises and market development activities, i.e. specific activities that help build professionalism in the consulting markets,” he adds.
The BAS team works on projects across the whole of Kazakhstan from its office in Almaty and four regional offices.
Supporting a dynamic media company
One of the organisations that has benefited from BAS is the Kazakhstan Press Club, a small public relations and media services firm operating out of Almaty and the capital Astana.
The Press Club offers media analysis and monitoring services, training in media relations and communications consulting services. It also organises different media events, explains Assel Karaulova, the company’s president.
“The Kazakhstan Press Club hosts about two events per day which we organise for a wide range of clients, including international companies, NGOs and many other organisations,” says Mrs Karaulova.
“Today, for example, we had a very unusual press conference with a family who just won US $1 million in our national lottery. The money was unveiled live during the event in our press centre.”
Help in tough times
The BAS team helped the Press Club at a time when it needed to develop a clearer vision of its future and to become more commercially oriented.
“As any organisation, we faced certain difficulties in our development so we asked BAS to help us develop a new strategy,” says Mrs Karaulova.
In 2002, BAS facilitated a special three-day brainstorming session where the firm discussed its difficulties and developed a road map, which outlined when and how it would implement changes. Furthermore, the hired consultant provided a full assessment of the company’s situation and how it should improve its strategy.
“The BAS team helped us a lot,” Mrs Karaulova concludes. “As a result of this strategy development, we have been able to improve our business. We hired new people and successfully established a new department.”
By supporting the Kazakhstan Press Club, BAS achieved two important goals: it helped turn a promising young company into a dynamic and successful small enterprise while also supporting the development of independent media services in a transition country.