The results of the panel discussion on entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan, held at NUGSB

On February 25, 2022, a panel discussion on entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan was held at Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business. The panel session was attended by Deputy General Director of QazTrade, Nurlan Kulbatyrov, Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan, Rustam Zhursunov, Director of the Department of Entrepreneurship Development Policy of the Ministry of National Economy of Kazakhstan, Eric Dzhambulov, Head of KPMG Strategic and Operational Consulting Group in Central Asia, Bolat Mynbayev, as well as representatives of SMEs and professors of the NU GSB.

Nurlan Kulbatyrov presented the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2021/2022 global report and briefly told the story of GEM. Nurlan noted that according to the Index of the National Business Context, Kazakhstan is at an above average level, 4.8 points.

Yerken Turganbayev, the Administrative Director of the NU GSB, shared key conclusions from the GEM National Report "Kazakhstan 2020-2021". He noted that entrepreneurial activity in Kazakhstan at the early stages increased in 2020 compared to previous years. According to the indicator of termination of activity, 26.8% of enterprises closed due to the pandemic. It was noted that it is important to create framework conditions for our entrepreneurs to enter the international market. The average indicator of Kazakhstan in the category of state programs was close to the average indicator of GEM (20th place out of 45 countries), Yerken noted.

Professor Shumaila Yousafzai, told about the new Nazarbayev University Research Center of Entrepreneurship (NURCE). The purpose of which is to cooperate with entrepreneurs and influence policy at the legislative level. Digital technologies have significantly changed the business environment in many aspects, including investing, Professor Akemu Akpeki Onajomo Paul noted.

In his speech, Rustam Zhursunov, the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan, spoke about the measures of state support to entrepreneurs during the pandemic. According to him, more than 20% of entrepreneurs were on the verge of closure. Rustam provided statistical data on the number of entrepreneurs in Kazakhstan, and also spoke about the measures necessary to support entrepreneurs. According to him, 1,357,000 business entities are registered in Kazakhstan, 1,200 of them are large businesses, 8,200 are medium-sized businesses, the rest are small businesses. He stressed that it is necessary to focus public policy on the policy of growth and strengthening of business, as well as to review measures of financial and non-financial support for business.
Eric Dzhambulov, Director of the Department of Entrepreneurship Development Policy of the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, stressed that the concept of transition from small to medium-sized businesses is important, and it is also necessary to stimulate SMEs to enter foreign markets. He also noted that it is necessary to reduce the administrative burden on SMEs and the development of women's entrepreneurship.

Bolat Mynbayev, Head of KPMG's Strategic and Operational Advisory Group in Central Asia, noted some limitations of entrepreneurship development in Kazakhstan - access to financing, promotion of alternative financing instruments, excessive presence of the state. "Access to finance is still a problem. To date, the share of liquidity in banks is maximum, while the loan portfolio has greatly narrowed”- he said.

Assem Kenzhebek, CEO of Biotech Karal, shared her business experience. According to her, a huge problem is the price of money and the lack of qualifications of young entrepreneurs. Assem believes that the reason for the insufficient development of small and medium-sized businesses in Kazakhstan is the lack of expertise and understanding of the route from idea to money, as well as the lack of communication skills with investors.

Daniyar Uteshev, CEO of Aktau-Azimut Ltd, a graduate of the FTMBA program, stressed that there is a lack of financial education and knowledge of the basics of financial instruments among entrepreneurs.

In general, the panel discussion was very productive. Problematic issues on the part of entrepreneurs were voiced, as well as further plans of the state to support small and medium-sized businesses.
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