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Joint initiative Start-Up Choihona launched to increase youth employment

Start-Up Choihona, a joint initiative by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and governmental, non-governmental and private sector partners was launched in Dushanbe on Friday, November 18. The project aims at increasing youth employment and income generation through supporting innovative new entrepreneurship, and it brings together young entrepreneur-minded people, ideas and partners to boost the start-up ecosystem in Tajikistan.

On the day the Start-Up Choihona project was launched, a pitching competition was organized for entrepreneurs to bring forward their start-up ideas and look for business partners, coaching, and see if their business ideas have 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.

The project was initiated by UNV, which contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide, working with partners to integrate qualified, highly motivated and well supported UN Volunteers into development programming and promoting the value and global recognition of volunteerism.

“One of the global priority areas of UNV are youth. By harnessing the potential of young people, we engage them in development and give them a chance to express their vision of the future”, said Heli Nykänen, UNV Programme Officer a.i. in Tajikistan.

The project launch was co-organized and supported by UNDP’s Aid for Trade project, the Government of Tajikistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Accelerate Prosperity (a global initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network), Caritas Germany, Young Entrepreneurs Club, International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) and Tcell. The project was also part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

“This initiative is specially designed to respond to the need of involving the young people of Tajikistan in achieving 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 said during the event.

NumonAbdugafforzoda, Head of the Secretariat of the Consultative Council on the Improvement of the Investment Climate, under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan,underlined 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 the President of Tajikistan,EmomaliRahmon 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 to promote projects for young people, especially for starting entrepreneurs, as well as to develop the private sector in the country, and he wished the organizers and participants of the event success in these endeavours.

The Start-Up Choihona project will continue building a sustaining ecosystem of small entrepreneurs to support the growth of the economy of Tajikistan, and to give everyone an equal chance of income generation. The next event is planned to be held during the first quarter of 2017.

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