On November 24 an important event for Social Entrepreneurship was held in Astana – the first “Central Asian Kuryltai of Social Entrepreneurs 2023” supported by “Social Development Fund” Corporate Fund of Nazarbayev University. Bringing together more than 200 social entrepreneurs as well as the Nazarbayev University graduates, this event became a platform for the exchange of experiences and ideas.
One of the examples of successful social entrepreneurship among NU graduates is Maulen Akhmetov, Founder of “Kunde” Cafe at the University campus. “Kunde” provides not only delicious food, but it is also a place of work for people with mental disabilities. Last year, Maulen received a grant of 5 million tenge from the Social Development Fund that allowed him to expand his business and make it even more sustainable. Maulen shared the story of his journey, the values he promotes and the impact his project makes in the lives of people with special needs, helping them socialize and lead an active lifestyle to the Kuryltai participants.
Anjan Ghosh, Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business also took an active part at the Kuryltai. He shared his research experience and understanding of social impact, and information about the activities of the University and the Social Development Fund in the field of social entrepreneurship.
A special attention at the Kuryltai was drawn to “Impact Bazaar”, where the social entrepreneurs from various regions of Kazakhstan presented their products and services. Among the presented projects were the Fund’s grantees: “Ozim” Project – a mobile application for parents of children with special needs, “Oiko” Project – production of Kazakhstani environmentally friendly household chemicals.
During the forum, the grantees of the Social Development Fund shared their experience of successful social entrepreneurial projects and talked about innovative approaches to solving social problems through social entrepreneurship, and mechanisms for financing social initiatives.
It is also important to highlight that Kuryltai brought together more than 200 social entrepreneurs, leaders of social entrepreneurship from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, representatives of government bodies, public entities, opinion leaders, and civil activists who seek their goals and objectives in promoting and popularizing social entrepreneurship through creation of favorable ecosystem and necessary infrastructure in Central Asia, as well as the development of mechanisms for effective professional interaction between social entrepreneurs.
Kuryltai was an initiative of the Kazakhstan Association of Social Innovators (ASI) that includes Fund’s grantees – Aliya Sabitova, who received the Social Development Fund’s grant for “Up&Go” Development Project Center and Gulmira Parmysheva, Member of Project Team with the grant for the development of “Kishkentai” Project, production of Kazakh toys that contribute to the development of children with special needs. The event was supported by the Ministry of National Economy of Kazakhstan, deputies of Central Asian countries, Akimat of Astana, “Social Development Fund” Corporate Fund of Nazarbayev University, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), Coca-Cola Company. The mentioned event showed the importance and value of the involvement of the community of students and alumni of Nazarbayev University in social entrepreneurship, in creating jobs, favorable ecosystems, and interaction with society.