Supporting Central Asian SMEs in realizing their e-commerce potential

Supporting Central Asian SMEs in realizing their e-commerce potential

7 April 2022
ITC News

As part of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project funded by the European Union, ITC  just launched its e-commerce enterprise training in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan with the support of QazTrade, the Union of Artisans of Kazakhstan, the Investment promotion and protection agency of the Kyrgyz Republic, and the IT Park and Hunarmand Association of Uzbekistan. 

40 advisors have been selected in these 3 Central Asian countries to work with up to 200 SMEs from the handicraft, textile and agribusiness sectors to help them sell through new online channels. 

The chosen advisors will receive in depth training from the ITC ecomConnect team with the support of national e-commerce experts. They will then individually mentor a pool of businesses, which they will follow through the different stages of e-commerce development from market research and e-commerce strategy to digitization of content, selection of an online channel, using online payment solutions, developing a digital marketing strategy and understanding logistics for e-commerce. 

As stated by Ms. Saltanat Abdykerimova, one of the advisors benefitting from this project:

'My participation in the e-commerce component will not only allow me to deepen my experience, but it will also give me an opportunity to help kyrgyz companies follow international trends and be more competitive in the global markets. 

Following the launch of this foundation phase, beneficiary SMEs will further benefit from several e-labs to provide specific support to the most advanced companies. The e-labs combine testing, measuring and learning. By testing different online channels and digital marketing techniques, and measuring the performance, the more advanced companies can develop their e-commerce strategy and share lessons learned with beginners.

With the project 'Ready4Trade Central Asia', the European Union (EU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are joining forces to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of Central Asia by boosting intra-regional and international trade in the region. Beneficiaries of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project include governments, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular women led enterprises, and Business Support Organizations (BSOs). The project operates in 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.