Preparing Youth in Kazakhstan for Business Success
Unemployment in the south of Kazakhstan is among the highest in the country, especially among the nation's youth. The director of the Microcredit Public Foundation Karazhat Nesie saw this as a serious problem facing his community, and decided to work with his organization to do something about it. With the help of the BOTA Foundation's Social Service Program (SSP) grant, the organization provided business trainings to local unemployed and underprivileged youth between 14 and 24 years of age. Workshops were held for nearly 400 youth on marketing, legal considerations, entrepreneurship skills, taxes, and business planning. Following the training, each of the students could apply their skills learned by applying for a 3-12 month loan that would be offered to them at a special rate as a participant of the program. Once the loan was awarded for a successful business model, guidance and support were provided each step of the way as they opened and ran their own small business.
Aliaskar Bekzhigitov, the director of the Microcredit Foundation sees business classes and special loan process as a two way street and advantageous for both parties involved, "There is mutual interest for the youth and the organization. We want them to be successful - when they are successful and come back to us, we are also successful."
The SSP program provides non-government organizations grants to improve social services in Kazakhstan. These grants assist children and youth from impoverished families by focusing on youth in community planning, early childhood development, education, youth livelihood development, and increasing opportunities for disabled youth.
IREX is building the BOTA Foundation by providing senior technical expertise to ensure that over $100 million effectively reaches the poorest of poor in Kazakhstan. BOTA is an independent not-for-profit NGO that improves the lives of children and youth in Kazakhstan through university scholarships, small cash transfers to impoverished mothers, and grants to local NGOs.