The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and BG Kazakhstan signed an agreement to continue the second phase of their support programme for women and young entrepreneurs in the Burlinskiy district of western Kazakhstan in 2014.
The programme, which helps entrepreneurs and start-ups in Aksai and Uralsk in western Kazakhstan, aims to foster sustainable development in the region. The first phase of the programme was launched in 2013 and will conclude in April 2014. It has seen over 80 start-ups and entrepreneurs receive training in business skills. The programme has also helped 4 start-ups to receive micro financing and launch their own firms, held 2 business tours for 13 entrepreneurs to Astana and Almaty, and subsidised consultancy services for 4 local entrepreneurs. Additional training courses have helped strengthen the knowledge of over 15 local management consultants.
Charlotte Ruhe, Director of the EBRD’s Small Business Support team, said: “Our continued partnership with BG Kazakhstan will help entrepreneurs in western Kazakhstan acquire the know-how they need for their businesses to succeed and grow.”
The second phase of the programme will run for 12 months and employ €210,000 in donor funding from BG Kazakhstan to continue this support. Coaching and mentoring services will provide longer-term assistance for 40 new entrepreneurs, while business advisory projects will help existing businesses take the next steps for their development.
“Supporting society is one of BG Group’s business principles, which allow us to ensure that local communities where we operate benefit from our presence on a long-term basis. This initiative is funded from the company’s voluntary social investments, and aims to diversify the local economy through support for self-employment and SME development among young people and women in non-energy sectors. It is also aligned with the national and regional socio-economic development agenda of Kazakhstan,” said Matteo Grassani, Branch Director for BG Kazakhstan.
The EBRD has been helping small and medium-sized firms in the country to access business advice since 1998. To date, it has helped almost 1,000 enterprises, employing over €14 million in donor funding and €6.3 million in cost-sharing contributions from client enterprises.
BG Kazakhstan is part of BG Group, a world leader in natural gas, with a strategy focused on connecting competitively-priced resources to specific, high-value markets. Active in more than 20 countries on five continents, BG Group has a broad portfolio of business interests focused on exploration, production and liquefied natural gas. It combines a deep understanding of gas markets with a proven track record in finding and commercialising reserves.