Private Sector Development
Small and Medium Enterprise Development
In October 2006, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Kazakhstan Small Business Development Project. This four-year jointly-funded by USAID and Government of Kazakhstan initiative aims to provide direct consultation and capacity development to design, and implement SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) development programs through and with Kazakh counterpart institutions in order to promote sound economic development for the country of Kazakhstan.
The project will work to: a) Increase the Government of Kazakhstan’s knowledge of international best practices and lessons learned in implementing SME support programs, b) Transfer capacity to the Government of Kazakhstan and indigenous institutions, both public and private sector, to manage and evaluate entrepreneurship development programs, and c) Promote a sound development of a network of small business service providers to foster growth of SMEs.
Under the USAID Enterprise Development Project (EDP) and its predecessor, the SME Development Project, Pragma provided tailored, one-on-one services to agribusiness clients in Central Asia, ranging from a dairy in the Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan to a food packaging company in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Pragma’s Enterprise Improvement (EI) activities targeted small and medium-sized enterprises that would not otherwise have access to such expertise. The project had 14 Enterprise Development Centers in the region, which were structured like western consulting firms. The overall impact of this integrated program in Central Asia was measured in terms of the increase in sales revenue and productivity for a portfolio of clients assisted by EDP Enterprise Improvement services. Additional technical advice was provided byexperienced volunteer business advisors from the United States through a series of subcontracts with various private volunteer organizations. During the fourth year of the EDP contract, concluding August 2006, EDP delivered Enterprise Improvement services to 696 SME client firms (559 new clients and 137 existing clients who received renewed EI services) throughout Central Asia. Cumulatively EDP provided EI services to 1,957 SME client firms (1,677 new clients and 280 existing clients who received renewed EI services).
Moreover, other SMEs were also impacted through project trainings, trade promotion, and quality management activities. In most cases our clients were small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. This is especially true in the rural areas of the Ferghana Valley.
Pragma specializes in the delivery of targeted, results-driven training services that contribute to sustainable development worldwide. Pragma training uses a best practices approach that involves stakeholders, local training partners, and clients in all aspects of strategic planning, assessment, training design, institutional development and facilitation, monitoring and evaluation, and follow-up.
We believe that strengthening human resources is critical to fostering a country’s economic growth. As such, training and business education have been integral parts of virtually all Pragma programs since its inception in 1977. We have trained client personnel in managerial, professional, and technical skills—as part of participant training programs or as part of in-service, on-the-job professional courses designed specifically to the needs of partner institutions. These training efforts improve performance, enhance technology transfer, and build leadership skills and confidence—elements fundamental to institution building. In Central Asia, Pragma delivered courses in Agribusiness Planning, Agribusiness Marketing, Taxation and Agribusiness, and Strategic Management for Agribusinesses. From July 2000 to July 2004, Pragma trained over 12,800 professionals in Central Asia in short courses on business. Of these professionals, 60 percent were women.
Through USAID/Philippines, Pragma provided training for rural enterprise owners and employees from a select number of priority regions in the Philippines. Pragma trained 2,250 employees and owners of micro, small, and medium enterprises to improve their production and marketing skills, and managed to exceed the original training target of 1,800 participants. Pragma worked with Regional Project Advisory Committees (RPAC) to implement the program. These committees were composed of private and public sector representatives from the local communities who provided advice, guidance, and support for the project. As a result of the program, Pragma upgraded the human resource base of 764 business organizations in the designated regions.
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