A Generation of Creative Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs have been hailed as "drivers of innovation" or "agents of change". I've always admired the tenacity and creativity of those individuals or small group of people who try to see the world in another light and build something that fills gaps in our world.

I think sometimes we're quick to associate entrepreneurs with the founders of large companies and yet we don't see right away how entrepreneurs are also "agents of change" in developing regions of the world. In big and small ways, entrepreneurs are shaping the landscape of Uzbekistan in positive ways.

An entrepreneur founds a kindergarten (preschool)

What I saw in Uzbekistan was a new generation of courageous and hard-working people who were seeing entrepreneurship as a way to support their family, create new jobs for their community and meeting a need or a demand through their business.

Of course, entrepreneurship is not a smooth path — particularly in developing countries, where funding and mentorship are scarce. Individuals in two cities, Termez and Samarkand, could attest to the personal and external barriers that they often came across as they tried to build their dreams. Entrepreneurs require assistance at the individual level — with technical training, market research and financing — but also at a higher level with specific regards to policies and institutions to support the growth of small and medium enterprises.

Entrepreneur returns from Europe after exhibiting his products at a convention

The two biggest hurdles were funding and mentorship. It seemed that both were critical pieces to make their ideas into tangible reality. Thanks to an EU-funded project called Management Training Programme, individuals who wanted to start an entrepreneurial endeavour found support through training, mentorship, and the opportunity to go abroad to further their learning.

Partnership with Chamber of Commerce is vital (pictured is Chamber of Commerce of Samarkand)

I really saw how entrepreneurs can impact society in a positive way through their determination and creativity. I'm excited to see the business and societal landscape evolve as more and more individuals pursue their dreams and find a way to chart their own path.

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