Over a thousand entrepreneurs, business leaders, and government officials on October 10 participated in the first ever International Franchise and Trade Expo (IFTE) in Bishkek. The event aimed to build partnerships with international exhibitors from the United States, Europe, and South Korea. The event was co-organized by the U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic and Business Association JIA, together with sponsorship from the U.S. Department of State, USAID and other local partners.
The Expo showcased over 35 companies from around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, and South Korea, in a push to introduce international companies to commercial opportunities existing in Kyrgyzstan and, more broadly, across Central Asia.
In his opening remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Donald Lu emphasized that the U.S. Embassy is committed to increasing trade and investment in the Kyrgyz Republic. Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Muhammedkaliy Abylgaziev declared that an important priority is to increase the investment attractiveness of the country, protect private property and eliminate all bureaucratic obstacles.
The first-ever International Franchise and Trade Expo in Bishkek featured a series of presentations from various U.S. government agencies and industry specialists representing a host of international corporations. USAID Director Gary Linden opened with an overview of their flagship Enterprise Competitive Project (ECP). Sabir Orumbaev, Portfolio Manager, at the U.S. Export Import Bank (EXIM), followed with a detailed presentation on the Bank’s low-interest financial and risk insurance products, the U.S. Embassy reported.
From the private sector, U.S. entrepreneur Alex Mardikian led a discussion on waste-to-energy applications used by his firm Regreen Technologies. From the IT sector, Dell and Samsung demonstrated their latest products for cloud and B2B solutions. Tilek Toktugiev, founder of Nomad Greenhouse, led an industry panel discussion on agro-technologies. In closing, Vitaly Yen (Mailboxes, Etc), Aibek Mambetaliev (Tchibo), Jodar Saidilkhan (Novotel), and Sotiris Karagiannis (New York University of Prague) participated in a panel discussion entitled, “5 Things to Know About Franchising Major Brands.”
The U.S. Embassy-supported International Franchise and Trade Expo was part of a two-day event to provide a platform for international companies to explore investment opportunities in Kyrgyzstan and across Central Asia. On October 11, U.S. Ambassador Donald Lu delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Bishkek Investment Forum, organized by Business Association JIA. The BIF is the premier platform in the Kyrgyz Republic that offers outstanding pioneering businesses the opportunity to showcase innovative projects and business plans for potential investors.