Nurturing Entrepreneurship in Tajikistan

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The Government of Tajikistan aims to expand productive employment, increase agricultural production and market access, and raise rural incomes. In line with this mission, the joint Aga Khan Foundation and Aga Khan Economic Fund for Development initiative, Accelerate Prosperity (AP), inspires and funds entrepreneurs to improve the quality of their products and enter new markets. It offers incubation, acceleration programmes and investment and post-investment technical assistance to startups, creating social, environmental and economic growth.

By the end of 2022, Accelerate Prosperity had invested almost $5m in 292 small- and medium-sized enterprises. Over 1,600 projects have been incubated and almost 350 accelerated countrywide, creating jobs for nearly 1,000 people, half of whom are women.

Meet some of the entrepreneurs who have used AP’s investment and training.

Abdugaffor grows and processes fruits and vegetables.

Abdugaffor grows and processes fruits and vegetables.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Abdugaffor Najmiddinov, of Kisht, Khatlon, grows tomatoes and potatoes. He also produces juices and jams from local fruits and vegetables such as anzur onion, yellow and red cherry, mulberry and hawthorn. “The residents of our village get their harvest from the dehkan (family) farms and sell them for a very low price in the local market. I decided to process them and provide the locals with employment. This helps raise the price and generates more profit for local producers.”

”To improve the quality and volume of production, ease the physical labour work and satisfy the market needs to operate internationally, modern equipment is necessary. Therefore, we requested an investment loan from AP to buy this equipment. The investment has been very successful for our business. In previous years, we produced only three varieties, with six or seven thousand boxes, and now we produce 25-30 thousand boxes with nine types of products.”

The investment has been very successful for our business. In previous years, we produced only three varieties, with six or seven thousand boxes, and now we produce 25-30 thousand boxes with nine types of products.

Greenhouses help with adaptation to climate change.

Greenhouses help with adaptation to climate change. 

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

“Because of climate change, with either constant rain or drought for consecutive years, we have to adjust our production strategy. Greenhouses allow us to grow the crops earlier.”

Processing enables local producers to increase their profit

Processing enables local producers to increase their profit.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

“Our main goal is to improve the quality of life in our household, and in our village. By processing in our workshop, we employ 15 workers (10 women and five men), who are improving the quality of life for their families, and we intend to increase the number of employees to 20 personnel.”

BO/BO offers businesses new online technologies.

BO/BO offers businesses new online technologies.

BO/BO web studio

Nasim Abdullahodzhaev from Dushanbe has been developing innovative IT projects since his first year of university, beginning with an online bookshop. In 2018, Nasim created BO/BO, a digital marketing studio which helps businesses build an online presence, create websites and integrate Customer Relationship Management platforms. “Our mission is to create more innovative companies by introducing new technologies to businesses.”

Nasim spent part of the AP loan to buy new computers for his staff.

Nasim spent part of the AP loan to buy new computers for his staff.

BO / BO web studio

As BO/BO continued to grow, he looked for ways to create a better working environment for his employees. The interest on bank loans was too high, so he turned to AP, which offers risk-tolerant, subsidised loans as well as one-to-one mentorship and technical assistance. “We were introduced to financial modelling and how to design it properly. We analysed the cost of goods sold and understood how to price our service properly.” Nasim received an investment of $12,000 to purchase computers, tablets and professional photography and videography equipment. He expects to repay the loan earlier than scheduled.

The acceleration programme and investment have helped create new jobs

The acceleration programme and investment have helped create new jobs.

BO/BO web studio

“Thanks to the acceleration programme and the investment we secured, we have increased our performance indicators, which has a direct impact on the work of our customers. We were also able to create seven additional jobs. The number of our clients has increased to over 200 companies in one calendar year, and we have assisted more than 20 construction companies with full digitalisation. The average bill for the services provided has doubled. BO/BO has now entered the cloud technology market, becoming the leader in sales of the cloud version of Bitrix 24 in Tajikistan.”

Source: AKDN News