Shell LiveWIRE Kazakhstan, in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), is targeting young entrepreneurs in West Kazakhstan as well as those in the capital city, Astana.

During 2018, around 100 entrepreneurs will benefit from the programme, which will help to develop their business skills, increase their market competitiveness and boost the performance of their companies. Established SMEs, as well as new start-ups, will receive professional advice in a variety of areas including: marketing; finance; production; communications; quality management; energy efficiency; and, environmental management. In addition to training, entrepreneurs receive one month’s coaching, and established entrepreneurs wishing to improve their businesses can receive subsidised consultancy services, with Shell meeting half of the costs.

Welcoming the launch of Shell LiveWIRE Kazakhstan in Uralsk, Olivier Lazare, Vice President and Country Chair, Shell Kazakhstan, said, “Shell is committed to support Kazakhstan in its goal to become one of the top 30 most developed economies. Through the Shell LiveWIRE programme, aimed at fostering a favourable entrepreneurial environment, we contribute to achieving this goal.”

Between 2013-2016, EBRD worked with Shell on a livelihood enhancement programme in Burlin District, an area around the Karachaganak field, delivering training to 150 potential entrepreneurs and 120 existing entrepreneurs on various business development topics.

Commenting on the role of EBRD in the new Shell LiveWIRE Kazakhstan programme, Holger Wiefel, Regional Head SME Finance & Development Group, EBRD, said, “The EBRD is very pleased to continue its successful partnership with Shell. Local small and medium sized businesses are vital for the domestic economy, and we are happy to support their sustainable development. We have been previously implementing a programme in the Burlinskyi district but we are now expanding the geography of this important undertaking.”

Outlining the importance and potential of the new programme, Zhuldyz Galiakpar, Social Performance Advisor, Shell Kazakhstan, said, “We are delighted that the Shell LiveWIRE programme, designed for young entrepreneurs in West Kazakhstan, supports the Government’s enterprise development efforts and will enable a more balanced development in the region through economic diversification.

“We also hope that the programme will help spark local innovative ideas and enterprises, creating a vibrant community of entrepreneurs.”

The EBRD has been supporting SMEs in Kazakhstan since 1998, with more than 2,200 advisory projects enabling businesses to access the know-how they need to grow. To date, the EBRD has invested over US $8.7bn in the economy of Kazakhstan.