How USAID Helps Turkmen Companies Promote Exports
In October-November 2021, USAID hosted a two-month online export skill development course for 25 consultants from Turkmenistan.
The training aimed at the export system development within the private sector and increasing the export capacity of Turkmen companies covered a wide range of topics.
The consultants were trained in such areas as export strategies, compliance standards and certification, payment methods, risk analysis and mitigation, and the basics of intellectual property laws.
The two-month training equipped participating consultants with the skills needed to assess a company's readiness to export, develop an export and marketing plan, and conduct practical partner search activities and negotiations in various markets.
On December 16, 2021, in the conference hall of the Archabil Hotel, USAID awarded the participants with course completion certificates.
By providing local consultants with the necessary export skills and increasing the number of ISO auditors on the Turkmen market, USAID promotes exports of Turkmen products, resulting in increased revenue, job creation, and greater investor interest in local companies.
– For us, the training was not only interesting, but also very useful,” said Maral Seyitniyazova, director of the “Orlan” company.
In the market of Turkmenistan, our company is better known as a consultant in the field of recruiting qualified personnel and implementing strategies, but now, partly due to the impact of the pandemic, the development of e-commerce and exports has become especially relevant.
“Orlan” is a co-organizer of the USAID's Future Growth Initiative in launching the “Handmade Export 2021” business incubator program, started on May 8, 2021, where we help our needlewomen enter the international market.
Based on the results of a long, two-month training, we have learned to prepare companies for export in stages, to research the market that will be most interesting for clients. Search for customers and partners. What legal or regulatory issues you need to pay attention to.
We also got acquainted with the possible risks, and most importantly, we learned how to assess them in advance in order to take timely measures to prevent or reduce the adverse impact.
These are all those tools that are already possible to use in practice.
I would also like to draw the attention of businessmen to some aspects for exporting. In order to sell goods abroad, a company must, firstly, be officially registered and legally grounded, and secondly, it must have a product that is in demand in the market it wants to enter.
Some manufacturers make mistakes in the very beginning - they try to sell what they have. And it is necessary to produce what is in demand, this is the most important criterion from which to start, - the expert summed up.
USAID's Future Growth Initiative and the Safe Migration in Central Asia project also trained 10 auditors of ISO 14001 Environmental Management System and ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System.
The training courses were certified by the International Register of Certificated Auditors (IRCA). This, in turn, will mean that international certification bodies will likely hire them and qualify to audit companies in Turkmenistan to these two standards.
Availability of qualified and competent ISO auditors on the Turkmen market will save costs for Turkmen companies as they won't have to look for and fund travel costs and high fees of international ISO auditors to get certified.
– This course was very useful for us, precisely because, being consultants in this direction, while knowing the requirements of auditors, we can train our consultants at a level so that they can pass all audits without inconsistencies, - Aigul Orazova, director of the consulting company "Standard Khizmat" shared her impressions.
Also, in those enterprises where we do not implement consulting services, we will be able to conduct audits according to these standards. And this will enable our local entrepreneurs not to turn to foreign auditors, which affects the cost of the audit and, of course, accessibility.
Companies that will be able to obtain a certificate for ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 international standards will be able to enter international markets, and they will also have the opportunity to work with foreign companies that conduct tenders.
And on a tender basis, there are more privileges for those companies that have these types of standards.
As Aigul noted, today many more enterprises apply not only to obtain an international certificate, but also to organize the systematization of processes within the company, improve the qualifications of personnel and all other aspects of the business process to the international level.
It is very encouraging that recently the managers of companies themselves have come to this consciously. They understand that in order for the enterprise to develop, it is necessary to introduce a well-built system that guarantees high-quality growth and work at a high international level.
As the organizers of the training noted during the certification ceremony, some trained auditors have already started taking part in actual certification audits.
Others will need to attend more internships to get certified by IRCA and to be hired by certification bodies.