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BUILDING A DREAM UNLOCKING BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN KYRGYZSTAN

A FAMOUS MILK

A road to Bolot and Jenishgul's home in Kochkor district, Naryn province

For the past 12 years, Bolot and his wife Jenishgul have been slowly and painstakingly building a cheese business in their home village.

They are from Kochkor, a region famous in Kyrgyzstan for the quality of its milk. They are the only cheese manufacturer in the region, so many dairy farmers rely on them to buy their product.

"The milk here is perfect for making cheese, but until we started our business, nobody was buying milk from farmers, there just was no market for that."

DREAMING BIG

Although Bolot and Jenishgul's cheeses were a hit in local markets, their production was small and limited to what they were able to make in their home.

Eager to meet the growing demand for their cheese, they set off on a journey to build a modern factory.

In 2013, they managed to buy an old building in the neighboring village. This allowed them to add two more types of cheese to the product line: mozzarella and "chechil" - a dry, smoked cheese hugely popular in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

ROADBLOCKS

Unfortunately for them, the growth of their business was too slow to generate enough cash to buy the modern equipment they needed. They sought a bank loan, but because they own too little, they were unsuccessful.

Chechil cheese production is labor intensive.

This is the harsh reality for aspiring entrepreneurs across the Kyrgyz Republic. Because they don't have enough collateral (house, car, building, etc.) to guarantee their loan, banks often refuse them.

This affects 6 in 10 enterprises in the country.

This is so common that it is believed to be one of the main impediments to economic development in the country.

UNLOCKING GROWTH

To address this problem, in 2010-2011 USAID supported the Kyrgyz Government to introduce a new financial instrument and in 2015-2016 to improve the Law on Guarantee Funds, which was designed to help small and medium businesses to gain access to financial resources by providing guarantees on loans and regulations to facilitate lending. To date, the Joint Stock Company Guarantee Fund and four municipal Guarantee Funds have issued over 1,075 guarantees, which have helped to create 1, 614 new jobs and maintain about 6,000 existing jobs in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The idea behind the Guarantee Fund is simple: when serious and promising entrepreneurs like Bolot and Jenishgul do not have enough in collateral to secure a loan, banks can ask the Guarantee Fund to back the loan for them and guarantee repayment.

It is through this mechanism that Bolot and Jenishgul have received three much-needed loans since 2017.

Kamchibek, a representative of the JSC Guarantee Fund, visits Bolot and Jenishgul regularly to see how the implementation of their business plan is progressing.

"Thanks to the Guarantee Fund, we have received three loans since 2017. Now, we have a business plan: we purchased new equipment and started building a new plant without stopping the production of cheese."

This unlocked the road to realizing their dream of building a modern factory. They even launched their own brand: "Maibulak".

TOWARDS A BRIGHT FUTURE

Work underway on the factory.

The first cheese production plant is being built in Kochkor district.

About 20 people now work full time there, and hundreds of dairy farmers are earning a livelihood supplying their milk to the factory.

Colleagues in the shop work as one close-knit family.

"We have a great inner confidence that we are doing a good job, helping people! Our production gives people work and gives hope and confidence in the future."

The future looks bright for Bolot and Jenishgul. They are more confident than ever that if they keep up with the hard work, they will soon make their dreams come true.

Jyrgal Isakov works as a milk collector and builder, and his wife Gulnazir Monkonova works as a cheese production technologist.

"We are satisfied with the work in the cheese production workshop. We earn enough to support our family"

Aizada Abakirova is single and is raising four children. She knows the entire cheese production process.

"I am pleased that they pay on time and give time off for family needs. We are fed twice a day, and when I stay late at work, they take me home."

Aibek Nurlan uulu, 23 years old, works as a builder.

"I like this job. For me, it is now a priority to gain experience and learn all the nuances of running and managing a business."

The USAID Collaborative Governance Program fosters effective collaboration between civil society, and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.

This publication is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through a grant from the USAID Collaborative Governance Program implemented by East-West Management Institute, Inc. The contents are the sole responsibility of the East West Management Institute, Inc. and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, and the United States Government.

Created By
Фатима Касмахунова
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Credits:

Руфат Эргешов

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