Business Growth Initiative

USAID assists apparel firms to improve their productivity
USAID assists apparel firms to improve their productivity
USAID/Kyrgyz Republic

Duration:  August 2014 – June 2018

Budget: $20.2 million

Implementing Partner:  Deloitte Consulting, Inc.

Key Partners:  Kyrgyz apparel, tour-ism and construction materials firms, business associations, consulting firms and NGOs, Government Minis-tries and Agencies

Activity Locations: Nationwide

The four-year project strengthens competitiveness of Kyrgyz businesses by providing firm, sector-level sales and technical assistance.

MAJOR FOCUS AREAS

USAID’s Business Growth Initiative project works with individual firms and stakeholders in the apparel, tourism and construction materials sectors to improve access to markets, increase sales, expand product offerings, and improve productivity, quality controls and financial management to help them be competitive in both domestic and international markets. It also seeks to improve access to working capital and equipment finance for value chain firms and provides matching capital to help private-sector partners invest in their businesses by upgrading their production equipment and facilities, management capacities and product and service offerings. 

EXPECTED RESULTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

APPAREL

  • Promoted Kyrgyz manufacturers to new buyers resulting in eight firms signing export contracts worth $3 million with several fashion retailers.
  • Generated requests from retailers for more than 400 sample garments and price quotations.  These requests are a critical precursor to obtaining actual sales contracts.
  • Undertook sales missions to eleven fashion retailers in Europe and hosted buying missions from eight fashion retailers, each with over 300 stores.
  • Completed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) assessments of twelve apparel firms, five of which completed over 50 percent of corrective actions.
  • Co-invested with two apparel firms to open Apparel Innovation Centers in Bishkek and Osh to provide smaller apparel workshops access to modern pattern-making, cutting, and embroidery services.
  • Provided equipment expansion grants to three top apparel firms, which is expected to create more than 450 new jobs.

TOURISM

  • Assisted four tourism destinations in forming Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) with local stakeholders to develop and execute strategies and activities to deliver better tourism experiences to visitors.
  • Created or designed a total of 38 new experiential tourism products offered by five destinations, which were delivered to more than 2,000 tourists in summer 2017 and resulted in a combined increase of revenues of more than $30,000 to service providers. DMOs brought in revenues of $2,200 from organizing and delivering these tour products for more than 600 tourists. Many of these tour products, however, were not introduced until the end of the summer season.
  • Completed and launched DMO websites for four destinations – Karakol, Jyrgalan, and South Shore and Osh – targeting a growing market of independent travelers to Kyrygyzstan.
  • Identified, mapped and marketed 45 new trekking trails in six regions of Kyrgyzstan, with plans for nine more by summer 2018, for a total of 2,790 kilometers of trails.
  • Assisted five destinations in delivering seven cultural festivals for tourists in 2017, which attracted more than 2,000 tourists.
  • Hosted a familiarization trip to Kyrgyzstan for 31 international social media travel influencers, who created 96 blog posts, 47 YouTube videos, and 2,309 social media posts that generated more than 750,000 interactions with targeted travelers. Nearly 10 million potential travelers viewed social media content about Kyrgyzstan.
  • Worked with the Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA) to bring six international adventure tour operators to Kyrgyzstan to train and mentor 55 local tour operators and DMOs.
  • Conducted training for 39 cultural tour guides, 31 of which passed rigorous examination to become certified by the World Federation of Tour Guides Associations (WFTGA), and 18 of which passed the training-of-trainers course examination to be certified WFTGA national trainers in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Assisted the Kyrgyz Mountain Guides Association (KMGA) to become internationally certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) and Kyrgyzstan to become a full member in the association.
  • Sponsored Kyrgyz tourism exhibitors in London, Berlin, Madrid, Istanbul, Moscow, Almaty and Tashkent, that greatly increased awareness of Kyrgyzstan and generated more than 500 new contracts for Kyrgyz tour operators.
  • Registered 38 new guest houses and yurt camps on Booking.com to enable independent travelers to book accommodations directly online.
  • Launched the Bishkek City Walking Tour audio guide in July, delivered through the izi.TRAVEL online application, which has been downloaded nearly 6,000 times and played nearly 1,000 times in English, Turkish and Russian. 
  • Installed 215 directional signs to tourist destinations across the country and four pedestrian maps for tourists in both Osh and Karakol.
  • Conducted a capacity development program for 17 museums throughout Kyrgyzstan to strengthen their contribution to enhance tourist experiences.
  • As a result of these activities, visitors to DMO-member guest houses increased on average 48% from 2016 to 2017, revenues increased 40% and employment increased 5%.

CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS

  • Helped Kyrgyz decorative stone producers form a new business association with 20 members to promote export market access, branding and quality standards.
  • Identified opportunities to promote and develop new export markets for value-added Kyrgyz decorative stone with a focus on Central Asian and Middle Eastern markets.

Last updated: May 07, 2018

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