GEM project

Entrepreneurship remains a priority in most economies, and particularly so in Kazakhstan as recognized in the 2050 Strategy document proclaimed by President Nazarbayev. There is widespread evidence that the growth engines of an economy are not large companies, but the many small entrepreneurs who launch their small and medium-sized businesses. NUGSB has recently joined GEM (The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor). GEM is the largest research project on Entrepreneurship in the world. The project assesses across countries the motives and aspirations of (potential) entrepreneurs as well as the attitudes of those around them, i.e. the climate for entrepreneurship in society. Initiated in 1999 as a partnership between London Business School and Babson College, the first study covered 10 countries. Since then nearly 100 ‘National Teams’ from every corner of the globe have participated in the project, which continues to grow annually. NUGSB is now the National Team of Kazakhstan.

The GEM conceptual framework reflects the causal relationships between entrepreneurship and economic development globally. Attitudes, activity, and aspirations are included as factors that lead to innovation, economic growth and job creation. Data collection involves two surveys: 1) the Adult Population Survey (APS) which measures the entrepreneurial activity, attitudes and aspirations of individuals, and 2) the National Experts Survey (NES) that provides insights into the entrepreneurial start-up environment in the economy with regard to nine framework conditions: financing, governmental policies, governmental programs, education and training, research and development transfer, commercial infrastructure, internal market openness, physical infrastructure, cultural and social norms. GEM is unique because, unlike other entrepreneurship data sets that measure newer and smaller firms, GEM studies, at the grassroots level, the behavior of individuals with respect to starting and managing a business. This approach provides a more detailed picture of entrepreneurial activity than is found in official national registry data sets. For more information about GEM please visit The GEM research in Kazakhstan is conducted in collaboration with Economic Research Institute (

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: Kazakhstan 2015/2016 report is based on data collected in the Republic of Kazakhstan in second half of 2015 under the direction of the Graduate School of Business of Nazarbayev University in collaboration with the Economic Research Institute. In 2015 2100 people of 18-64 age were interviewed in 14 regions of Kazakhstan and in Astana and Almaty. Moreover, 36 national experts, selected among professionals who directly or indirectly impact business climate development and represent nine different areas, were interviewed to understand current challenges of entrepreneurship in the republic.
GEM global data suggests that Kazakhstan has major improvements in the entrepreneurship framework compared to the East European and Asia Pacific nations. Experts observe that Kazakhstan has made it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses, lowered the tax burden, created government agencies that facilitate financing for small and growing businesses, and put in place a relatively well-developed and affordable physical, legal and commercial infrastructure for entrepreneurship.
However, Kazakhstan entrepreneurs still face various difficulties regarding both starting and growing new businesses. Experts recommend to improve competitive environment, to increase opportunities to develop entrepreneurial knowledge and skills, to continue war on corruption and enlarge financing possibilities.
An analysis of the data reveals a mostly positive assessment of entrepreneurs as a social stratum. Kazakhstan’s population sees entrepreneurs as successful people with high status in society. More often young people indicate entrepreneurship as career choice. 68,9% respondents in Kazakhstan regards entrepreneurship as new opportunity, and 52,1% believe they have necessary knowledge and skills to start business. The young people aged 25-34 are the most active and represent the largest proportion of potential entrepreneurs. This report also reveals gender aspects of entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan. Research suggests that male entrepreneurs engage into entrepreneurial activity to develop business opportunity, while female entrepreneurs start business out of necessity. The largest proportion of new entrepreneurs develop their business in wholesale and retail (46,6%), agriculture (11,4), healthcare, education, public and social services (17,6%). In terms of regional distribution respondents of North Kazakhstan, Kostanay, West Kazakhstan, South Kazakhstan and Akmola regions are the most positive in assessing their possibilities to start business. Interestingly to note that rural population is more optimistic about engaging in entrepreneurial activity and more confident in their knowledge and skills compared to urban population.

Team Leader – Dr. Dmitry Khanin, Associate Professor of Graduate School of Business, Nazarbayev University
Team members
Graduate School of Business, Nazarbayev University:
Dr. Patrick Duparcq
Dr. Venkat Subramanian
Assel Uvaliyeva
Yerken Turhanbayev
Aiman Yedigeyeva
Bakyt Ospanova
Economic Research Institute:
Nurlan Kulbatyrov
Chingiz Tourez
Dinara Akynbekova
Aizhan Tulepbekova

For more information about GEM Kazakhstan please contact 

GEM-Kazakhstan National Report-2015/2016: National Report 2015/2016

GEM-Kazakhstan National Report-2016/2017: National Report 2016/2017

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Upcoming Events

The next topic of our BUSINESS TALK & COFFEE is: When entrepreneurs are disrupted by their own disruptive technologies? by Prof. Jiyang Dong on November 15 at 6 pm.
Dear applicants, please join to our Facebook live info session "How to submit a strong MBA application" with special guest from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Dan McCleary.
Come to our info-session and get all answers you need to submit strong application!
Dear applicants, Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business invites you to visit the QS World MBA Tour in Bangalore in