USAID Enterprise Competitiveness Project

Speeches Shim

The project is expected to create 19,000 new jobs
The project is expected to create 19,000 new jobs
Olivier LeBlanc

USAID Enterprise Competitiveness Project works with small and medium businesses to increase their competitiveness, help them access new markets, and mobilize investments to create more jobs and increase incomes of Kyrgyzstani households.

Duration: August 15, 2018 – August 15, 2023

Funding level: $22.7 million

Implementing Partner: ACDI/VOCA

Key Partners: CrossBoundary, Village Capital, Nathan Associates

Activity Locations: Nationwide with a focus on Naryn, Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken oblasts


The project prioritizes regions with the highest levels of poverty and unemployment, including Batken, Jalal-Abad, Naryn, and Osh. It focuses on sectors that can grow faster and create more jobs, such as agriculture, apparel, manufacturing, education, and IT.

There are four main ways, the project helps to develop businesses:

  • By providing grants to businesses, to help them expand and access new markets.
  • By providing technical advice on management, organizational, financial, and marketing issues to improve human and social capital of small and medium businesses. The Project prioritizes support for enterprises owned or managed by women and youth.  
  • By establishing partnerships with financial institutions, such as banks and investment funds, to improve access to more affordable finance for small- and medium-sized enterprises with less emphasis on collateral.
  • By funding research, to identify problems that prevent businesses from growing and develop solutions to enable growth.


  • The project partnered with 86 companies and co-invested in expanding their businesses. With project support companies expanded their production and reached new markets. As a result, they generated 5,734 new permanent jobs since August 2018. For example, the Cool Bros Company opened the largest apparel factory in Batken oblast. The new factory created more than 500 jobs, mostly for local women.
  • The Project worked with Engels Farm, Tien Shan Mission Society and Eldan Atalyk processing company to establish stable soybean and corn supply chains impacting the lives of more than 550 farmer households. 
  • 70 start-ups graduated from the Business Acceleration Program that helped them find ways to grow faster. Most of these businesses are owned or led by women and young people. 12 best participants received small grants up to $10,000 from USAID and two companies are negotiating investment deals.
  • 27 young professionals successfully completed internships at the project’s partner enterprises as part of the Youth Internship Program. 19 interns were offered permanent jobs in the companies.
  • 957 enterprises received $30.8 million in funding from private financial institutions like Highland Capital, AV Frontiers, BT Innovations, 996 Impact Circle, Accelerate Prosperity, Bakai Bank and Halyk Bank. The project worked with these institutions to arrange these new investments. The Project supported the development of new financial products like mezzanine and equity financing that did not exist in Kyrgyzstan before.
  • The project supported Bakai Bank in obtaining an international credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service, making it the only local bank in the country with such rating. This will help raise Kyrgyzstan’s profile on international capital markets and expand access of small- and medium-sized enterprises to affordable financial resources.
  • The project worked with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to improve policies and regulations that help businesses grow. For example, the project partnered with the Council for Business Development and Entrepreneurship to improve the administration of state social insurance contributions and the Tax Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. President of the Kyrgyz Republic signed a series of amendments into laws. In the long-term these amendments will reduce the tax and reporting burden on small and medium enterprises, strengthen the Kyrgyz Republic’s tax collection abilities and increase social insurance contributions.
  • The Project worked with the local JIA Business Association to develop the policies on revising fire safety measures in construction which were adopted on June 26, 2020. The new regulations stipulate the exact amount of space between buildings for fire safety. Earlier regulation would provide only a range which left a lot of room for negotiation and corruption. This legislation is expected to reduce corruption, decrease costs for businesses and make construction safer.

Last updated: April 27, 2021

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