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USAID Kazakhstan Small Business Development Project

The Kazakhstan Small Business Development Project (KSBD) aims to build the capacity of both the public and private sectors to support the development of competitive Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by increasing their access to business knowledge, skills and information. KSBD focuses particular attention on assisting SME development in the lesser-developed territories of Kazakhstan.

KSBD began in October 2006. This four-year $8.9 million project is jointly-funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the GOK.
Project Goals 
KSBD works specifically to improve SME’s access to business knowledge, skills and information through two components:
• Component 1: Build GOK capacity to support SMEs. As Kazakhstan’s wealth increases and donors begin to reduce their programs, the GOK wants to continue providing support to the development of SME competitiveness and economic growth using international best practices and market-based solutions. KSBD coordinates closely in this regard with the USAID Business Environment Improvement (BEI) Project.
• Component 2: Build Business Service Provider (BSP) capacity to support SMEs. For SMEs to improve it is necessary for BSPs, such as consultants and trainers, to be able to cost effectively provide services to SMEs on a commercially sustainable basis. KSBD assists BSPs towards this goal by drawing from the 6-year work of two previous USAID projects: the SME Development (SMED) and the Enterprise Development Projects (EDP).
Component 1: Build GOK capacity to support SME development using international best practices
Activities:
• SME Institutional Capacity Building.  KSBD assists GOK institutions to use international best practices and effective institutional models and systems to promote long-term SME development. KSBD is currently working closely with the Small Business Development Fund under the Kazyna Holding Company to develop its capacity to support SMEs.
• Study Tours.  KSBD arranges Study Tours for Kazakh mixed public and private sector delegations to visit and learn from countries with successful and innovative SME support programs. KSBD has sent delegations to Poland and Bulgaria.
• Targeted Work Shops.  KSBD invites international experts to Kazakhstan to meet with public and private sector leaders to exchange ideas and experiences related to effectively promoting SME development and competitiveness.
• Working Groups.  KSBD participates on three public/private sector Working Groups under the Ministry of Industry and Trade aimed at supporting SME development.
• Improved data provision (GEM).  KSBD has supported the partnership of Innovative University of Eurasia/Pavlodar and Brif Research Group/Almaty successfully to complete Kazakhstan’s first participation in the annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring (GEM) survey.
Component 2: Build the capacity of SME Business Service Providers (BSPs)
Activities:
• Certification program for SME consultants. Using models from the UK and Japan, as well as the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI), KSBD is building a nation-wide consultant certification that will provide competent and credible SME consultants.
• Support for a professional association of consultants. KSBD is supporting the development of a professional association to support the consulting profession in Kazakhstan.
• Institutional capacity building and network support for BSPs. KSBD is applying training and the SME tool-kit to improve the performance and efficiency of BSPs.  KSBD is working with BSPs and other donors to create a regional internet-based network for BSPs, SMEs and other stakeholders in SME development.
• Recruiting private sector support. KSBD is actively seeking the support of businesses in Kazakhstan to develop the SME sector. KSBD has already been working with ExxonMobil to train women in business in the Astana area.
• Knowledge transfer. Besides the training tool-kits, KSBD regularly updates the SME Navigator on its website.
In addition, KSBD has a web-based initiative, the SME Navigator, that combine support for the GOK and private sector stakeholders in SME development.
SME Navigator
This bi-weekly updated service provides both government and private sector stakeholders in SME development internet links to SME policies and services.
KSBD distributes updates in Russian and English to 250 businesses associations, GOK agencies and individuals and features the following categories of information:
• International internet SME Sources
• SME Support Organizations
• Sources into Economic and Business Theory
• International Awards and Opportunities
• Conferences, Meetings, International Study tours