Start-Up Choihona

Daniel Zaretsky | December 11, 2016
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22.11.2016 Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Start-Up Choihona is a project aiming at increasing youth employment and income generation through supporting innovative new entrepreneurship. On Friday, November 18, the launching event of Start-Up Choihona brought together representatives of governmental and nongovernmental agencies, young entrepreneur-minded people, private sector, business leaders, mass media and international organizations to boost the start-up ecosystem in Tajikistan.

As part of the Start-Up Choihona project, a quarterly arranged pitching competition is a platform for entrepreneurs to bring forward their start-up ideas and to look for business partners, coaching, and see if their business idea has potential to fly. Young entrepreneurs pitched their unique business ideas to a panel of judges, effectively presented their business plans, and gained valuable networks with partners and investors during the event.

Head of Secretariat of the Consultative Council on Improvement of Investment Climate under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Numon Abdugafforzoda noted during the opening remarks the importance of reforms carried out in the country to improve the investment climate and business activities, particularly of the young entrepreneurs. He stressed the special role of President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon in the achieved reforms, especially in the framework of the Consultative Council, which is chaired by the head of state. Mr. Abdugafforzoda noted that Start-Up Choihona can serve as an important platform for promoting projects for young people, especially for starting entrepreneurs, as well as development of private sector in the country, and he wished the organizers and participants of the event success in these endeavours.

The project was born as a joint initiative of various development, governmental and private sector partners in order respond to the urgent need of involving the youth in development. The project was initiated by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, which contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide and is administrated by UNDP and supported by the government of Tajikistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Accelerate Prosperity, Caritas Germany, Young Entrepreneurs Club and Tcell. The project was also part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week. “This initiative is specially designed to answer to the need of involving young people of Tajikistan in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 8, which is to increase economic growth, leaving no one behind. SDG 8 promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, UNDP Country Director Jan Harfst told during the event.

Accelerate Prosperity, a global initiative of Aga Khan Foundation, and one of the main organizers of the event, created a co-working space for the start-ups and hosted the first Start-Up Choihona event at its brand new premises in Tcell building in Dushanbe. “Accelerate Prosperity” is part of a network of Enterprise Growth Accelerators in Central and South Asia – an initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network designed for grass-root inclusive economic development and catalyse or support start-up or early growth economic enterprises through inspiring entrepreneurial culture, promoting self-employment amongst the youth and potentially creating jobs in the areas where economic opportunities remain insufficient. Today we are delighted to host the Start-Up Choihona event at our first state-of-the art enterprise accelerator and co-working space in Dushanbe and are hopeful that this competition will spark new enterprises to contribute to the economic prosperity of Tajikistan, its entrepreneurs and the youth in this country”, said Ozodkhon Davlatshoev, Executive Director of Accelerate Prosperity (AKDN).

Young Entrepreneurs Club, a field-experienced organization, and another main organizers of the event provided a substantial help forming the vision and the format of this initiative based on their extensive training experience. Following the governmental strategy of promoting entrepreneurship in the country, the YEC in partnership with both private sector and international organizations provided business education and networking opportunities in all four regions throughout the country for those who share an entrepreneurial spirit. The 27 out of 31 entrepreneurs who pitched their business ideas and projects at the Start-Up Choihona competition passed through the selection process of the YEC’s training programs for more than 1,000 young people last year. “Today we are witnessing a great joint effort, a result of cooperation among Tajik government, local private businesses and international community. We believe that the Start-Up Choihona initiative will become local entrepreneurs’ gateway to the field of business as this platform will be provided for them on a permanent basis. We have been privileged to help a number of startups ventures grow into real businesses supporting them with our education, consultancy and networking services. And today we are very delighted to see many of those that we trained among the pitchers under all 3 categories. We believe that not only will the initiative serve as the so-called “jumping-off” ground for the startuppers, but it will also inspire others to engage in entrepreneurship and make their dream come true. We will also continue organizing massive networking and inspirational events such as Brian Tracy’s Business Seminar and the “G5 Startup Forum” for the startuppers”, Sulaimon Kurbonov, Deputy Director of the SUE “Young Entrepreneurs’ Club” said.

For more information, please contact:

UNV Programme Officer a.i. in Tajikistan Heli Nykänen,, tel: +992 93 9999 259

Director Ozod Davlatshoev, Accelerate Prosperity,, tel. +992 93 888 8786

Manager of Young Entrepreneurs Club, Vitaly Shamaev,, tel. +992 98 7545555

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Daniel Zaretsky
American entrepreneur in Central Asia. Work experience in private, government, NGO, business association and academic/university (teaching and... About the Author