To increase the competitiveness of Turkmenistan’s economy, USAID supported a start-up ecosystem program, Stephen Guice, Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy in Ashgabat told Trend.
"The program worked with six local mentor companies that offer startup incubation and acceleration services. These mentor companies hosted a total of 122 entrepreneurs and helped develop their innovative business ideas and products. In addition, USAID created a platform that assists aspiring entrepreneurs in understanding startup entrepreneurship and to master skills through learning, practicing, and collaboration," said Guice.
Also, to raise awareness about the importance of international standards and to train a pool of local experts, since 2017 USAID supported over 20 ISO training sessions and export promotion webinars for hundreds of representatives from local consulting companies and food producers in Turkmenistan.
"This two-prong approach generated a demand for the first local private certification body (Hil TM), which is owned and managed by a local businesswoman, thus breaking the monopoly of a foreign certification body and expanding certification services to the private sector. This private food safety lab has international accreditation in ISO 17025 and its test results are recognized abroad. The laboratory also created nine new jobs, the majority of which are held by women," he added.
In addition, Guice said that USAID Enables Turkmen Exporters to Access New Markets. Thus, Since 2019, USAID has partnered with Ter Önüm, a Turkmen company specializing in wholesale import and export. USAID provided Ter Onum with training and support to arrange for and send a trial shipment of melons to Austria.
"The shipment was immensely successful, all the melons were sold in just three days after hitting the shelves. Thanks to the skills gained through that trial, in August 2020, Ter Önüm shipped a consignment of 8.5 tons of melon to a wholesaler in Dubai without any support from USAID," he said, adding that USAID’s assistance to develop the private sector and increase its competitiveness is bearing fruit, boosting exports, and expanding access to new markets for Turkmen products, thus diversifying Turkmenistan’s economy.
Furthermore, USAID supports Turkmenistan’s economy to meet local market needs and increase commercial ties with western countries.
"USAID co-invested in the automation of Shaylan’s (a company, operating large warehouses and a fleet of refrigerated trucks) logistics management by utilizing cutting-edge Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. The ERP systems will help not only increase the company’s annual revenues by 30 percent but also be available as a service for logistics companies across the country. Through this intervention, USAID is introducing new and modern technologies to strengthen supply chains that will enable Turkmenistan to increase its exports and diversify its economy," concluded Guice.
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