Shell LiveWIRE Kazakhstan continues to support young and experienced entrepreneurs from western regions of the country and Nur-Sultan through the Business Bilim training program.

Business Bilim (previously called Marathon of Success) is a project that aims to support up-and-coming entrepreneurs and their innovative business ideas. It also supports more experienced entrepreneurs in their quest to expand and create new business ventures. First launched in 2018, the project is a part of the Shell LiveWIRE programme in Kazakhstan delivered in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

This year’s intake comprises 103 participants. Most of them come from West Kazakhstan Region, with others representing Atyrau, Mangystau, Aktobe regions and capital city Nur-Sultan. Business Bilim’s geography reflects its aim to revive entrepreneurial activity and create healthy business communities in parts of the country that are highly dependent on natural resources and the oil and gas sector.

Business Bilim offers 15 weeks of intensive business training on topics such as marketing and sales, IT, finance, and organisational structure. The trainers are experienced industry professionals, able to provide theoretical and practical knowledge. Together with this learning scheme, the participants receive 10 weeks of individual support in developing their business ideas to prepare them for the market. Finally, Business Bilim brings in “trackers” who are coaches and guest business leaders who support startups by streamlining work processes, helping reach stable profit, and scale the company. ‘Trackers’ are skilled entrepreneurs themselves, as well as successful participants of previous seasons of the project.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the project takes place online. The online format provides opportunities to target a wider group of entrepreneurs, specifically from less developed communities that have traditionally lacked similar opportunities due to poor infrastructure and lack of information. Moreover, Business Bilim is available in two local languages, Russian and Kazakh, which broadens the audience even further. Historically, business opportunities have skewed more towards Russian-speaking population.

Along with supporting innovative ideas, Business Bilim focuses on creating mutually beneficial relationships between business professionals. By incorporating group tasks into the training process, the project brings together like-minded people for potential partnerships.

Dinara Sarmanova and Elmira Akhaeva are both entrepreneurs and mothers from Aktobe. They connected through Business Bilim and realised that their businesses – Dinara’s dry cleaning and Elmira’s clothing atelier – have similar clients and therefore partnered to rent a shared space.

With Business Bilim’s diverse group of participants (the youngest ever was just 15 years old), entrepreneurs are bound to find someone who shares their vision.

Business Bilim will run through October 2021. For inquiries, please contact Zhuldyz Galiakpar