September 5, 2020 - “Jaspace” public creative space was opened in Atyrau. Due to restrictions related to COVID-19 pandemic, the official opening took place online on the AYDI (Atyrau Youth Development Initiative) YouTube channel. As part of the opening, a round table was held on the topic of “Creative Economy — Breaking out to Success”. The initiator and main partner of the project was the Chevron company.
Speakers were Aisana Ashim, founder of the media portals The Village Kazakhstan and Masa Media, Gani Abadan, entrepreneur and business trainer, Marina Sharipova, PR specialist, podcaster and blogger and Kunzhamilya Sakhain, mentor of the I-SEED social entrepreneurship project. The speakers shared their views on the state and prospects for the development of the creative economy.
In Kazakhstan, the creative economy is at the stage of development, but it has great potential. Young kazakhstani musicians, IT specialists, artists - representatives of the creative economy - are in demand and receive international recognition. According to a UNESCO report, the industry contributes 3% of global GDP ($ 2,250 billion) annually and generates 29.5 million jobs.
The creative economy is based on human resources and talents, innovation and unconventional approaches. Here business is run through ideas and creativity, based on human interactions. Whereas the standard economy is based on manufacturing and industry.
As the situation with the coronavirus pandemic has shown, those who use outside the box thinking to solve problems survive and quickly adapt in a changing environment. “The changes are easier to implement in a business format where the human factor is most present than in an automated industry or complex production. People are adapting well and representatives of the creative economy were able to quickly rebuild and go online, ”said Ghani Abadan.
If we talk about global experience, then according to the startups.co.uk portal, the number of online business startups has increased by 60% compared to 2019 year. Moreover, in the United Kingdom, the contribution of the creative industry to the country's GDP is considered highest in the world and amounts to 7%. In Kazakhstan, we saw growth in the e-commerce sector, the launch and increased demand for grocery and food delivery.
“Launching projects during a crisis may seem counterintuitive to many,” said Aisana Ashim. “Nevertheless, it was during the pandemic that we launched a new media project named Masa Media.” For a media startup to be attractive to investors, you need to clearly define your unique target audience, choose a specific niche and form a “tone of voice”. There is a free niche in the kazakhstani media market for launching regional projects, as well as specialized media for micro or small and medium businesses.
“You need to go into business with a clear purpose and passion. At the same time, age does not in any way affect whether the project will be successful or not. Recently, 16-year-old kazakhstani schoolchildren launched a website where they collected free lessons from prestigious schools and universities worldwide,” Kunjamila Sahain shared her opinion during the discussion.
To successfully launch a project in a creative economy, aspiring entrepreneurs need to study financial literacy, determine a platform for promoting their service or product, and create a unique selling proposition.
“Success may not always come immediately, so when launching a project, it is important not to burn out. Personal branding plays an important role in achieving goals and reaching target audiences. Therefore, regardless of the project, start working on your brand now, ”advised Marina Sharipova.
Jaspace is part of Chevron's Atyrau Youth Development Initiative (AYDI) project. The initiative aims to develop Atyrau as an open, inclusive and equitable city where young people are economically productive and socially active. The AYDI project is developed and managed by a coalition of the British Council, Impact Hub Almaty and Urban Forum Kazakhstan in partnership with the AtyrauOblast Akimat.