Young Social Entrepreneurs Receive Awards from the University of Central Asia
Six winners of the ‘Change the World Around You!’ social entrepreneurship competition received up to $2,500 each to implement innovative projects in their communities across the Kyrgyz Republic. The winners received their awards at a ceremony at the University of Central Asia (UCA) in Bishkek on 17 January 2014.
The winning projects include a fitness centre for the elderly with diabetes in Bishkek; a wastepaper collection and sorting initiative to reduce waste in Osh; a laundromat for people with disabilities in Bokonbaev village; a bathhouse to improve hygiene among miners in Batken Oblast; a training centre for children with disabilities in Nokat; and a call centre employing the visually impaired in Bishkek.
“There are many people in the Kyrgyz Republic who suffer from diabetes,” said Asel Baidyldaeva, who will create the fitness centre for the elderly, “I want to encourage people to have a healthy lifestyle. More physical activity means less need for insulin. I’ve worked with people with diabetes for over three years. With this funding, I can have an even greater impact.”
The Change the World Around You! competition encourages young people to design and implement social entrepreneurial projects to address challenges in their communities. In November 2013, a series of workshops was conducted throughout the Kyrgyz Republic to encourage applications to the competition. As many as 230 proposals were submitted.
Twenty-one participants were selected to receive “Social Entrepreneurship” training programme from the UCA School of Professional and Continuing Education from 3 to 17 January 2014. The programme included courses on social marketing, business communication and information technology, social entrepreneurship and business planning.
Aigerim Sakieva (right) accepts her grant to implement a wastepaper collection
and sorting initiative in Osh from SPCE Director Gulnara Djunushalieva.
“Before the programme, I hadn’t fully developed my computer skills,” said Aigerim Sakieva, who designed the wastepaper collection initiative in Osh, “Now I see that these skills are necessary for launching my project. I used to hate numbers but now that I know how to use Excel, it’s much easier!”
Following the programme, the finalists presented refined business plans to an independent selection committee. Six winners were selected to receive seed funding to implement their projects.
The award ceremony was attended by Nuraliev Marat Abdykerimovich, Deputy Minister of Labour, Migration and Youth of the Kyrgyz Republic. Each of the twenty-one finalists received a record of achievement and the six winners received their awards.
“Now is the time for our winners to use their new design, technical, business and entrepreneurial skills to help their communities,” said Erdinc Guzel, General Manager, Coca Cola Bishkek Bottlers, Kyrgyzstan, congratulating the participants, “The foundation of social entrepreneurship is a fundamental desire to help people. Social entrepreneurs strive to improve the lives of others, and the well-being of communities in the Kyrgyz Republic is a critical focus of Coca-Cola.”
The competition is in its second cycle. Nine winners from last year’s inaugural Change the World Around You! competition implemented projects ranging from creating employment opportunities for rural students to building wheelchair accessible ramps at public buildings.
|The six winners with SPCE Director Gulnara Djunushalieva and, General Manager, Coca Cola Bishkek Bottlers Erdinc Guzel (centre). From left to right: Samatbek Monoldorov, Nurgul Karaeeva, Valerii Grishin, Aigerim Sakieva, Kuldashev Rustamjon and Asel Baydyldaeva.
“Like last year’s winners, these young entrepreneurs have demonstrated creativity in addressing serious community challenges. They have skillfully integrated what they learnt during the social entrepreneurship training into their project proposals,” said Gulnara Djunushalieva, Director of UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education.
The ‘Change the World!’ contest is implemented by the University of Central Asia with support from the Aga Khan Foundation and in partnership with the International Academy of Business (Kazakhstan). The social entrepreneurship contest and projects are funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation and The Coca-Cola Company under the “Empowering Youth for Socioeconomic Development in the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan” project. Phase I was launched in July 2012 in the Kyrgyz Republic with nine winners receiving grants of up to $3,000 to implement social entrepreneurship projects in their communities. Phase II is currently underway in the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan.