Image: UNDP Uzbekistan

2 September, Nukus, Karakaplakstan - Over the course of pandemic, the world is shaping the future through digital business. As economies recover, it is essential to cast an eye on the future landscape, considering which changes wrought by the crisis will constitute a “next normal.” In fact, COVID-19 pandemic offers advancement for digital entrepreneurs and also offers for others to follow the footsteps of active digital entrepreneurs. 

Within UNDP-UNFPA Joint Programme ‘Building the resilience of local communities against health, environmental and economic insecurities in the Aral Sea region, funded by the Government of Japan, UNDP attracted Mr. Hiroshi Kaneko, an International Specialist from Japan on Income Generation issues, to hold series of workshops on digitalization, particularly the use of E-Commerce, FinTech and Social Media.

Over the last four months 12 workshops in Bozatau, Karauzyak and Chimbay districts welcomed a total of 166 participants, where 89 of them were female.

Risgul from Karauzyak district has started her business since 2019 and makes Karakalpak design poaches and mattresses with three co-workers. She also teaches sewing to 15 youth and manages to support local people with disabilities.

- My dream is to open a store and sell sewing items globally. After learning the digital solutions, I found out that digital platforms are the right way to my dream. Now the cultures and traditions of different people, especially Japanese, became so close that helped to broaden my vision and horizon, - says Risgul Toreeva.

And in Bozatau district, Qonisbay Karimbaev runs agri-business selling seeds in his native district. The seminar also allowed the young man to take a different look at his activities and assess growth opportunities.

- The digitalization workshop was insightful since it made me aware of the importance of digital solutions and encouraged me to participate in the global platform. I dream to create eco-friendly products to improve the severe climate condition in Karakalpakstan, - says Qonisbay hoping to learn ideas and methods to effectively advocate the notion.

The participants have learnt the benefits of commercial applications and the importance of business strategies. Important to highlight, that youth, especially women, in business development have demonstrated noticeable potential. Some of the participants showed their interest in digital solutions by creating an account of OLX (a local online marketplace) and Facebook to advertise their products and practice developing their business further.

For example, Alima Rzamuratova bakes and sells bread in Bozatau, and she wants to expand her business by finding customers in the neighboring districts.

- The digitalization workshop motivated me in the understanding of e-commerce; what I should sell and how to find customers on online shopping sites. Indeed, I have created my own OLX account, and now I am preparing for the e-business, - says Alima, the participant of our workshop held in Bozatau district. - I have already drafted a business plan and now going to purchase a car for delivery that will help me to achieve my goal to scale up my business in the future.

UNDP handed over a certificate of achievements to some of the active entrepreneurs. It is expected their business activities become success models in the target districts and give hopes and aspirations to other local entrepreneurs. The new programme is under consideration to elaborate the digitalization approach, which focuses on building skills in digital tools. It is responding to the voice of the participants who claim that they need more opportunities to learn digital solutions. 

UNDP assists in improving efficiency and implementation of innovations in agriculture of Karakalpakstan, promoting smart and digital communities with favourable infrastructure for empowering youth, women, as well as vulnerable groups of people, including people with disabilities, families headed by women, labour migrants, etc.

For more information, please contact Malika Musaeva, UNDP communications specialist, at +99893 501 4943 or malika.musaeva@undp.org.

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