National experts assisting young entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up projects under the Startup Ecosystem program

Intensive activities continue to be carried out under the pilot “Startup Ecosystem” program, implemented by the National Public Association “Union of Economists of Turkmenistan” with the support of two projects of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), USAID Enriching Youth for Tomorrow Project, implemented in Turkmenistan by JA Worldwide and USAID’s Future Growth Initiative, implemented by the Palladium Group. After successful completion of the Academy stage, mentoring companies selected more than 50 young startuppers – semi-finalists of the program – for acceleration stage of start-up projects, which includes webinars, online trainings, consultations and mentoring.

During acceleration stage of the Startup Ecosystem program, international business consultants along with national experts of the USAID/JA Worldwide ”Enriching Youth for Tomorrow” program provide consulting assistance to start-up teams. These consultations are provided to support mentoring companies that deal directly with their mentored startuppers. This work is carried out remotely, including in the form of webinars and individual consultations.

Two webinars in Turkmen and Russian languages ​​dedicated to “Legal bases of entrepreneurial activity” were successfully held on August 12th and 13th, 2020. The webinars covered such issues as legal framework of entrepreneurship in Turkmenistan, processes and procedures for registering a small and medium-sized enterprise, licensing and certification issues, legal relations between an entrepreneur and employees, some taxation issues and much more. A total of 54 residents of mentoring companies attended these webinars.

The webinars were hosted by Vepa Ashirov, legal consultant and trainer in business law. Vepa has more than seven years of teaching experience in legal disciplines in higher educational institutions of Turkmenistan and the School of Entrepreneurship of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan. He completed his postgraduate studies in civil law and is the author of several scientific articles.

More online events were successfully held within the framework of the acceleration stage on August 17th-18th – webinars on “E-commerce – the present and future of effective trade” in Turkmen and Russian languages. As a result of the webinars, participants found out about the development trends and opportunities of e-commerce, learned how to create and promote their online store, minimizing the risk of mistakes and financial losses, got acquainted with SMM marketing technologies, payment systems and many other aspects of e-commerce. Special attention during the webinars was paid to the importance of providing logistics in e-commerce. A total of 46 residents of the mentoring companies – members of start-up teams – took part in these webinars.

The webinars were moderated by Azat Seitmuhamedov, founder and director of Arzuw NEWS information agency. He is also the founder of one of the largest online stores in Turkmenistan, Wabrum.com, and has extensive experience in e-commerce and email marketing consulting.

On August 15th, 22nd and 29th, 2020, regular online consultations on business planning with residents of the Startup Ecosystem program were held. The consultations dealt with such issue as business plan development, various formats of business plans were considered, and in online sessions the participants gained knowledge about methods and tools for determining the competitive environment and how to assess their advantages in comparison with those who are already on the market. The startuppers were also consulted on product market promotion.

Online consultations were lead by Sabina Ismailova, a business planning expert and business coach. Sabina has been in active in consulting since 2006, including activities in the field of audit of financial statements, financial analysis, creation of business plans and financial forecasts. She collaborates with more than 60 local and foreign companies, as well as international organizations and projects.

At present, national experts continue to provide support to startuppers via individual consultations, assisting start-up entrepreneurs to qualitatively create their projects.