"We do not do business, we serve the people" - young entrepreneurs expand the boundaries of self-employment during the global pandemic

Posted October 12, 2020

Aman, 25 y.o., always dreamed of starting a business, however, numerous doubts and hesitation prevented young man from taking a step forward. Aman graduated from a university in Turkey and received an education in economics. Then he worked for a construction company in his hometown. However, the thought of starting his own business never left him.

“Everyone knows that business is always a risk. I really wanted to open one of my own but did not know where to start. Everyone scared me with the risks and uncertainty of the market, lack of demand and customers. Therefore, for a long time, business remained just a dream,” Aman remembers.

In the context of the global pandemic, Aman's firm reduced its activities and, due to lack of funding, completely suspended its projects. Aman, like many other young people, found himself in a situation where, amid the global pandemic, traditional employers could not support their employees. This is when the idea of starting a business came back to him.

“Aman contacted our project in early 2020. We have conducted trainings for young people in the field of leadership skills and self-employment. Our project is aimed at developing the economic potential of young people and creating self-employment opportunities. Aman’s idea required further development, and we directed our efforts to this, ”says Kabish Hydyrova, assistant of the regional project “Strengthening Community Resilience and Regional Cooperation to Prevent Violent Extremism in Central Asia” in Dashoguz region.

During the trainings, Aman decided to open a small business for the local population in the Gubadag etrap of Dashoguz region, where he lived. In summer 2020, Aman opened an engine oil change center which employs 1 person and there is an opportunity to employ two more. In addition to participating in trainings, the project team provided support in conducting marketing research, establishing contacts with potential partners and writing a detailed business plan with an indication of all costs and calculation of potential profit. Subsequently, the project provided support in purchasing equipment and advising Aman on business development.

“I always wanted to do big business, have large sales, solve difficult economic issues. I didn't want to be a narrow specialist. I always wanted to realize my ideas and dreams, to face new challenges that you will never know about when working for someone. The project helped me to understand that you can start with something small and move forward step by step”, says Aman.

“We do not do business, we serve the people,” Aman proudly says about his new occipation. “The oil change point, which also sells oils and filters, is just the first step towards achieving my goal. I plan to develop my business and sell auto goods not only in Gubadag etrap, but throughout the region, and then the whole country. "

Aman chose to open an oil change point because there was only one in Gubadag etrap, and it could not provide proper services for modern cars. Aman’s oil change point offers to change oils for all types of cars and also sells related cars products. “I have been thinking about this business for a long time, but I still doubted whether it would be successful. After UNDP trainings, I analyzed the idea once again and decided to try it,” notes Aman.

For many young people looking to develop their own businesses, UNDP project, funded by the Government of Japan, “Strengthening Community Resilience and Regional Cooperation to Prevent Violent Extremism in Central Asia” is often the first source of knowledge and support, especially outside of the capital city. Local assistants working in each region of Turkmenistan spread information about trainings and other project activities. The project allows to get new ideas, expand knowledge and horizons, discuss ideas in order to receive professional advice and get the opinion of peers.

“I believe in luck, but in fact, to be successful, you need to take steps and make concrete actions. Nothing comes into your hand without an effort, although without faith in success there would be no motivation for action,” says Aman.

Currently, Aman has strong partnerships with six suppliers of auto oils and automobile products, and delivers services for up to 10 vehicles per day. The young man strives to achieve sustainability and open branches in Boldumsaz and other etraps, as well as in the villages of Bereket and Jeyhun. As a support to youth development, Aman has provided internships to four young people who would be able to get a job after. Aman plans to hire one of them in his business.

This project activity contributes to the implementation of the Turkmenistan’s immediate socio-economic response plan (SERP) to the global pandemic. The plan was developed by the Government of Turkmenistan with the support of the United Nations and under the technical lead of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).