Well informed means forearmed: DAMU Entrepreneurship Development Fund is creating centers for businesspeople's capacity building

ASTANA. July 23. KAZINFORM - Since the previous autumn in our country there have been opened business service centers (BSC) at the initiative of Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund. The main objective, which sets the foundation by starting this project, is to provide for all those who have a business or only thinks about its creation, the possibilities in the "single window" to get free education and advice on various aspects of conducting business.

The establishment of such advisory bodies is an important component of the implemented by Damu Fund concept for developing centers of competence of entrepreneurs. In accordance with this principle, there has been introduced a three-tier system for giving comprehensive services to entrepreneurs at regional towns, monotowns and districts. On how the concept has been worked out, on difficult journey from its inception to realization, tells "Kazinform" the Managing Director of Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund Gabit Lesbekov.

- On the issue of improving the capacity building of the business sector the Fund has been working for a long time. We believe this trend is very important for business actualization. Our experts conducted research that showed that entrepreneurs do not always need financial support from the government in the form of soft loans, subsidies, grants. Much more important for them is getting some knowledge to start a business, make it successful, to work using scientific approach, rather than through trial and error. By making learning the basics of business start-ups, providing opportunity to receive advice, the government, in turn, would have demonstrated its interest in progress of the SME (small and medium enterprise) segment, understanding its importance to the economy of the country. We started work towards formation of a professional approach to business back in 2007. Then the concept was developed, within which it was supposed to organize special training centers for businesses, providing them with consulting services. We plan to open similar centers in all regions, it has been assumed that they will become independent organizations to support the business sector. This issue was discussed at the level of regional administrations, the government, but for various reasons, primarily near the crisis in the financial sector, the project had to be postponed, and, all the more, it required significant financial investment - about KZT 4 billion only for the initial stage.

- One of the tasks of the centers along with free teaching the basics of business is providing consulting services. Is this issue actual for the businesses?

- At the current level of coverage consulting services leave much to be desired. This market is not saturated to the full, even in large cities, and in the outermost regions, it is practically not available. In addition, there is a financial aspect. These services are generally provided on a paid basis, and entrepreneurs in the areas and regional centers, especially small businesses, can not afford them. Centers to support entrepreneurs are to fill this gap: the consultants will provide complete information about the programs of state support business programs of Damu Fund, terms and conditions for participation in these programs will help entrepreneurs prepare the necessary documents and will provide services in support of their business processes.

- How many entrepreneurs have already asked for advice in support centers?

- At the regional level 6377 small and medium-sized businesses and individuals have applied to the centers, and the amount of advice provided exceeds 8,000. In our opinion, this is a good result, especially given the fact that virtually BSCs have not worked for a long time, and in only two cities they began to function last year. In monotowns for advice addressed more than 5,800 small and medium businesses and individuals, and provided have been more than 7,000 consultations. In the mobile support centers operating in 14 regions 2800 SMEs and individuals have asked their questions, and 3,000 consultations have been given. It may seem that it is not too much, but it is necessary to take into account that the actual mobile centers started to efficiently work only since May 1, prior to which organizational procedures had been carried out. If the same trend continues, then we can assume it will be possible to achieve good coverage. Damu Fund has adopted the strategy of development for the decade, and consulting support for business is one of the main points of the program.

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