Small Business and Income Creation “Bai Alai” Program in Alai and Chon- Alai (hereinafter referred to as the “Project”) is funded by the Government of Switzerland through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by Helvetas Kyrgyzstan in cooperation with the Aga Khan Foundation (ACF) in Kyrgyzstan, as well as with the Mountain Communities Development Support Program in the Kyrgyz Republic (MCDSP KG) as leading co-coordinator.
The project operates in the Alai and Chon-Alai region of Osh oblast, bordering Tajikistan and China. The total population of two regions is about 100,000 people.
The goal of the Project is to increase the economic integration of household production in Alai and Chon-Alai trough increasing income and (in particular) women and youth employment (including self-employment) (i) by rising the productivity and sales of producers and small businesses in selected sectors and (ii) creating new initiatives led by women and youth and enlargement the turnover of existing ones.
Project achievement strategy:
Main directions of the project in phase II will be:
Support the development of the animal breeding (cattle), beekeeping, handicraft and tourism sectors, with the aim of systematically improving these sectors and increasing income for the poor segments of population.
2) Assist the development of business consulting services and improvement of the access to financial services for emerging farm and non-farm small and micro enterprises including new businesses led by youth and women.
3)Strengthening the capacity of market participants in enhancing the regulatory framework.
The underlying approach of the Project is the MSD (Market Systems Development), which provides a framework for achieving sustainable and scaled-up impact by facilitating systemic change driven by market participants. By building the capacity of market participants and setting incentives, the Project will support market participants in developing sustainable solutions to address key constraints in each of the selected subsectors.
The main target group of the Project is a multitude of established small businesses and entrepreneurial households, including farms operating in the sectors in which the Project is involved. The Secondary target group is all market participants, whether private or public, who engage in innovative business models to provide support services or regulatory functions that increase the productivity of the sector and ultimately benefit the primary target group in terms of higher incomes and job creation. Thus, members of the primary target group make a positive systemic change in such a way that benefits are created not only for themselves, but also for small businesses and farms.
In Phase 2 the Bai Alai Program will focus on such cross-cutting components as:
Business development services:
In its first phase the Project focused on strengthening the participation of youth and women in the local economy:
1) assisting in the creation of new micro and small enterprises targeted at youth and women;
2) increased sales and employment in existing businesses;
3) assistance to the development of the Alai Business Women Association (ABWA). Economic inclusion, empowerment and participation of women and youth are essential for improving the livelihoods of the population of Alai and Chon-Alai regions.
Based on the results of Phase I, the Project will facilitate the establishment and strengthening of linkages between relevant Business Development Service (BDS) providers in the region. In addition, the Project will build the capacity of local mentors to provide advisory services focused on local fee-based services for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. Also, the advocacy component of the Project will ensure that local authorities create mechanisms to unleash the full potential of private entrepreneurs to support the long-term development of the region.
Improving access to financial products:
The focus of the Bai Alai Program in the financial sector will be concentrated on financing business start-ups in four selected sectors. Also, the program will actively explore synergies with other ongoing Financial Access Projects in Alai and Chon Alai regions. Leading large firms play an important role in supply chain finance because they tend to have better access to financial services and therefore can channel finance to their suppliers. As the Bai Alai program will work closely with leading firms in all four sectors, there is a great potential to expand access to finance for manufacturers and small businesses as suppliers of these leading firms. Therefore, the program will build connections between leading firms and financial service providers in order to finance the value chain.
Gender, Social Equality (GSE) and Youth
The project is designed to maximize the involvement and profit of youth and women. The selection of the value chain was carried out with a gender perspective. In the two selected livestock value chains like cattle and beekeeping, roles and responsibilities are not always clearly attributed to specific family members. In order to use women and youth cost-effectively and integrate them into market systems, the Project will actively engage women and youth and provide support. In addition, Helvetas and the Aga Khan Foundation continue using the core principles of the GSR, including the empowerment of women and youth. The Project’s actions on gender and social equality are based on seven main principles:
Striving to include the marginalized and the disadvantaged:
Sensitiveness to local culture while respecting human rights
Recognizing needs and listening to the views of both men and women
Partnerships based on shared values
Strengthening gender equality and diversity in the internal organization of the Project
Improving skills and knowledge during monitoring and evaluation