UNDP launches new initiatives to develop women’s entrepreneurship in Uzbekistan

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TASHKENT (TCA) — The project of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan and UNDP ‘Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase-III)’ has launched a new component to expand legal and economic opportunities for the development of women’s entrepreneurships in Uzbekistan, UNDP in Uzbekistan reported.

Small business, accounting for 56.9% of the country’s GDP, provides employment for 78.1% of the population of Uzbekistan. Private sector significantly contributes to the development of innovation, technology, and infrastructure – important areas for improving the quality of people lives. Stimulating business development, engaging youth in private sector to ensure economic growth and employment is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN member states including Uzbekistan which has committed to implement the SDGs.

Women’s entrepreneurships are still an important and untapped source of economic growth. Businesswomen on a par with businessmen can create new jobs for themselves and others, and provide society with different solutions to management and business organization.

Engaged in entrepreneurship, women gain greater access to financial and other resources necessary for business, influence decision-making process, and develop and fulfill their potential. At the same time, women’s income-generating activities contribute to strengthening households’ sustainability, raising living standards, developing a successful socially responsible business, producing environmentally friendly products, and contribute to the country’s food and environmental security.

Development of women’s business leads to reducing the burden on the state budget and increasing its revenues. A research in the area of women’s entrepreneurships reveals that women tend to invest in the well-being of their families (children’s health, food, education) more often than men, and carry out entrepreneurial activities in labor-intensive industries recruiting more workers and positively affecting employment.

Uzbekistan’s almost equal ratio of men (49.7%) and women (50.3%) populations provide for a significant potential for the development of women’s entrepreneurships. As found by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan, the total number of businesswomen is about 52 thousand, or 10% of all business entities.

The ‘Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase-III)’ project plans to develop a program of measures to improve women’s conditions by enabling them to start a business. The program will include trainings, elaboration and dissemination of business models for businesswomen in rural areas, provision of standard business plans, creation of opportunities for obtaining bank loans by pledging movable property.

To provide job opportunities for graduates from lyceums and colleges, women and youth, and to improve or acquire extra professional skills demanded by the labour market, the project will develop special programs and methodological materials to conduct free trainings.

Earlier, the project used the financial support provided by the South African Sasol company to support the ‘Urganch Milliy Tikuvchilik’ enterprise run by Ms. Farogat Saidullaeva. The new facilities of the expanded enterprise helped train 200 girls with disabilities in sewing skills. This small enterprise which follows the principles of a socially responsible business is an example of a successful inclusive business model where girls and women with hearing impairments work and receive financial support, and fulfill their potential.

Another positive example of the joint project’s initiatives in supporting women’s entrepreneurial endeavors was the opening of a garment design center in Namangan. As interns, girls improve their skills of modeling and clothes design which are in demand in the market. These skills enable them to find a decent job or start their own businesses.

The project also engaged women in setting up high-density apple orchards. About 600 farmers, including women from the Kashkadarya, Samarkand, Ferghana, Andijan, Namangan and Tashkent regions were trained on how to grow apples in modern high-density orchards in Uzbekistan based on the developed manual. Participants learned about cultivating apple trees, introducing modern technologies in agriculture and achieving better yields through intensive farming technologies.

Sergey Kwan

TCA