UCA News - Issue 110

Date: 27 December 2011
Other languages: Русский язык |

Future of entrepreneurship in Southern Kyrgyz Republic debated at UCA Forum in Osh

The University of Central Asia’s, School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) convened a Forum on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development in Southern Kyrgyzstan on 16 December 2011. Held at Osh State Social University, the Forum brought together 34 academics from Osh, Batken and Jalalabad oblasts to discuss factors enabling or impeding the growth of entrepreneurship.

Following the June 2010 events in the Kyrgyz Republic, entrepreneurship has become a critical focal point for intervention, given its significant potential to trigger economic development in the south of the country. However, southern entrepreneurs face numerous obstacles moving forward, including limited access to financial products and a challenging business environment. While these problems existed prior to the devastation of June 2010, the environment of instability and uncertainty has compounded the costs of doing business for many micro and small business owners.

Forum participants were welcomed by SPCE’s Director Gulnara Djunushalieva, and Idris Kenjaev, Rector of Osh State  UniversityForum participants were welcomed by SPCE’s Director Gulnara Djunushalieva, and Idris Kenjaev, Rector of Osh State Social University. With this context in mind, the Forum featured presentations by researchers on entrepreneurship and economic development in the south, and recommendations for growth.

The following papers were presented:

  • “Emergence and development of small and medium business in the Kyrgyz Republic” – Amankul Zulpukarov, Jalalabad State University
  • “Entrepreneurship in Osh: conditions, problems, suggestions” – Abdurakhit Nizamiev, Osh State Social University
  • “Modernization of small and medium business in South Kyrgyz Republic”. – Gulzat Tashkulova, University of Economics and Entrepreneurship, Jalalabad 
  • "Problems and perspectives of the consumer market in South Kyrgyz Republic” – Ainura Jusupalieva, Osh Technical University
  • “Creating an innovative regional network for effective development of entrepreneurship in South Kyrgyz Republic” – Mariya Kochkorbaeva, University of Economics and Entrepreneurship, Jalalabad

Attendees were welcomed by SPCE’s Director Gulnara Djunushalieva, and Idris Kenjaev, Rector of Osh State Social University. Djunushalieva emphasized the importance of engaging the academic community in a dialogue on economic development. “Today’s Forum brings together educational leaders from the south, whose ideas represent an important contribution to regional dialogue on socio-economic development. The event presents an excellent opportunity to share new ideas that can, in turn, spark innovative solutions to help expand entrepreneurship in the south.”

Gulzat Tashkulova from the University of Economics and Entrepreneurship discusses modernizing small and medium businessesGulzat Tashkulova from the University of Economics and Entrepreneurship discusses modernizing small and medium businessesIn a discussion following the presentations, Forum participants raised important issues affecting the growth entrepreneurship in the south, such as improved markets and availability of goods, barriers to the growth of small and medium businesses, and strategies for improving the link between universities, their graduates, and the business community.

Concluding remarks were delivered by Dr Duishon Shamatov, UCA Senior Research Fellow, who encouraged participants to further reflect on the questions underlying many of the problems set forth in the presentations. “What concrete steps can be taken to create a stable and supportive environment for small businesses, allowing them to build more long-term plans? How can public authorities be partners in development rather than obstacle to business development? We have many ideas on what needs to be accomplished, but these and other questions must now be addressed in order to generate tangible solutions.” UCA hopes to hold additional sessions of the Forum in Osh in 2012.

The Forum also featured a presentation of the UCA report Giving Entrepreneurs a Voice in the Future of Southern Kyrgyzstan. Based on interviews with over 125 entrepreneurs from the southern oblasts of Batken, Jalalabat, and Osh, the report captures entrepreneurs’ perspectives on opportunities and barriers to business development, and deals with issues such as access to finance, cross-border trade, skills shortages, the regulatory frameworks and problems with the enabling business environment.

UCA originally released the report at a Roundtable in Bishkek in July 2011, which brought together 75 members of the business, diplomatic, international, and academic communities. The event featured a panel of  three of the entrepreneurs originally interviewed for the report, as well as guest speaker Mr Zhantoro Satybaldiev, then-Director General of the State Directorate on Reconstruction for Osh and Jalalabat Oblasts and currently head of the President’s Administration of the Kyrgyz Republic,  Research and production of the report was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Roundtable in Bishkek and the Forum in Osh are two of several UCA initiatives focused on the promotion of entrepreneurship and economic development in Southern Kyrgyzstan. Through UCA's School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE), UCA has provided training in the areas of microfinance, entrepreneurship, and professional and vocational training in cooperation with state institutions. In addition to existing locations in Naryn and Bishkek, UCA plans to launch an SPCE Learning Centre in Osh in 2012.

Photos of the Osh Forum are available at: http://www.ucentralasia.org/PhotoGalleries/Album/12

Relevant links:
UCA - USAID convene Roundtable on Entrepreneurship in Southern Kyrgyzstan; “Giving Entrepreneurs a Voice in the Future of Southern Kyrgyzstan” report released on 12 July 2011.
Report in English, Russian and Kyrgyz: http://www.ucentralasia.org/Resources/Item/190