Kyrgyz Women Expand Small Businesses

Gulnaz Baiturova at a 2015  textiles trade fair in Bishkek
Gulnaz Baiturova at a 2015 textiles trade fair in Bishkek
Anna Kuznetsova
Entrepreneurs learn process of growth, gain access to credit
“Before joining the program, I mostly relied on my intuition, without keeping records or analyzing my work. My business wasn't under control at all.”

July 2015—For women business owners in the Kyrgyz Republic looking to expand their ventures, the process recently became clearer and the goal more within reach.

Gulnaz Baiturova started her tailoring business, Inesse, in 2012. Although the business was steady, Baiturova felt she needed a solid plan so her enterprise could grow. She made a few attempts to develop a business plan by herself, but without much experience and guidance, she failed to complete it.

“I tried to write a business plan but only did so partially, with the rest of the plan still in my mind, without a clear description,” says Baiturova. Her main customers are women and children and her main products are evening and casual dresses, blouses, skirts and pants.

In 2013, Baiturova, along with 750 other women entrepreneurs working in the garment production, tourism and agro-processing sectors across the country, joined USAID’s Women’s Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises (WLSME) program implemented by ACDI/VOCA.

Baiturova started her WLSME journey by attending a training on business plan development. She immediately adopted many of the practices discussed such as business mapping and maintaining accurate records of her income and expenses.

The training inspired her to test her new skills in the Business Plan Competition—which she won. As the winner, Baiturova received individual support from local consultants to improve document production processes, bookkeeping systems, analysis of her company’s financial and production data, and to further fine-tune both short- and long-term strategic plans. USAID also helped Baiturova develop a clear company vision and mission, and a solid marketing and sales plan.

“Before joining the WLSME program, I mostly relied on my intuition, without keeping records or analyzing my work. My business wasn't under control at all,” confesses Baiturova.

In 2014, Baiturova, along with 48 program participants, was invited to display her products at an annual textile trade fair that brings together over 100 garment businesses from across the country. At the fair, Baiturova joined the Kyrgyz Republic’s association of light industry enterprises, Legprom, which allows her to take part in many trade fairs and exhibitions and to be well-informed about upcoming opportunities in the textile sector.

At the 2015 Legprom trade fair, Baiturova signed a long-term contract for manufacturing children’s clothes, a significant growth opportunity for her business. “I think we would never have signed that agreement had I not participated in this trade fair,” she says. “Thanks to the WLSME program for providing such opportunities. During the program, I really grew as an entrepreneur.”

Since 2013, USAID’s WLSME program has helped to build the business management skills of women entrepreneurs in the areas of marketing, business planning, financial planning, human resource management, and contracts and negotiations. Women can also participate in an ongoing Business Plan Competition to receive tailored technical advice and training, take part in exchange visits and mentorship programs, and receive microgrants to upgrade their businesses.

Through the program, which ends in 2015, participants can also access a customized woman entrepreneur credit product of Bai Tushum Microfinance Banking Group that offers low interest rates and favorable payment conditions.


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