In autumn 2020, a three-day follow-up meeting brought Programme alumni from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan together online. Their conclusion: Economic relations with Germany had strengthened despite the constraints of the pandemic.
Approximately 60 participants – all MP alumni from 2019 – came together virtually for a review. Together, they evaluated their progress with regard to the implementation of cooperation projects with German firms and the changes in their own businesses. Within the framework of the conference, they also participated in training sessions on the topics of working from home, finance management and presentation techniques as well as practising using new online tools.
In order to make the exchange as rich in variety as possible and include a good portion of fun, the follow-up session was set up in the form of a strategy game: during the competition the best participants and groups were to be selected. Criteria such as economic results and creativity were evaluated, but also original ways of presenting their own business activities. The winners had the opportunity to have their business and activities captured in a short video created by an agency.
After the three days many of the MP alumni concluded: The on-site visits to firms in Germany and the experience (and for many of the alumni the first experience) of negotiations had helped them to overcome their uncertainty when approaching German business representatives. Additionally, the alumni all confirmed that they had been able to maintain and expand existing contacts with German enterprises since their stay in Germany despite the constraints of the pandemic. Contracts with German businesses had been concluded in the areas of energy, agricultural machinery, spare parts for cars and coffee machines, and others. Among the important insights the entrepreneurs had gained were the numerous ideas for the realignment of their own businesses.
The feedback from the participants was consistently positive. “The follow-up went very well and it was great to meet other alumni. In spite of all the difficulties that have occurred during this year, we are glad to continue our work”, said Altynay Utemuratova from Kazakhstan. Team colleague Nail Khaybulin from Kyrgyzstan agreed, adding: “The follow-up was very useful and productive for me. And it was very good to look back on our training in Germany.”
Project Manager Dr Angela Leeke from GIZ was also satisfied with the first virtual follow-up for Central Asian alumni: “We are pleased that our alumni were able to take so many “Aha” moments and valuable impetus from their participation in the Manager Training Programme back home with them. This became very clear again during the three days. The fact that the participants were committed and enthusiastic right up to the end and there was such a good response is partly due to the new, innovative format.”