Our Work

Business Connections Project


The Business Connections Project helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kazakhstan to modernize and become more capable and competitive. It does this by supporting new business initiatives, improving the entrepreneurial sector, and supporting export-oriented industries.

IESC developed locally appropriate course curriculums and leveraged an existing Kazakhstani academic institution to deliver crosscutting business training courses.

At the heart of the project are business development tours to the United States for delegations across a variety of sectors. The tours included industry-specific training, business meetings, roundtable seminars, and trade shows.

In partnership with the Entrepreneurship Development Fund (similar to the U.S. Small Business Administration), IESC overhauled the fund’s web resource portal, which is a valuable resource for growing businesses and entrepreneurs.

Activities And Approaches

To achieve its goals in Kazakhstan, IESC’s undertook activities in three distinct, but interrelated areas:


  • $15 million in closed business deals
  • $3 million in sales through Kazakh-to-Kazakh business connections
  • 79% of business development tour participants adopted new practices based on what they learned
  • 82% increase in web traffic to business resource portal

Funder: USAID
Administrator: Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance
Project Duration: 2011-2014
Award: $5.1 million


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