Solution: Local artisans from Central Asian countries face numerous challenges in selling handmade products both at the local and international levels due to lack of knowledge and experience in online marketing, e-money, exporting and approaching more clients.
Goals and objectives: To help talented artisans solve these problems and transform their businesses in self-sustainable ways through high technology, the Business Clinic of Central Asia (BCCA) with support from the USAID Business Growth Initiative (BGI came up with a social entrepreneurship based solution to market handmade products globally on the ArtAsian web site http://artasian.co/)
Implementation: Artasian.co is an online marketplace where one can purchase handicraft products, ranging from home decor to accessories and clothing made of eco-friendly materials whose design was inspired by the Great Silk Road. Through ArtAsian, the solution also contributes to the conservation of the Central Asian cultures and raising awareness about local traditions, providing artists with alternative channels for sale of their items, promoting eco-friendly and natural products.
Initially, young entrepreneurs participated in a 10-week intensive boot camp conducted by local and international mentors with support of IDEAGRAD (then BCCA, http://ideagrad.com/), a partner of ArtAsian, for free. Upon completing the boot camp, seven received initial seed capital of $1,000 for each startup from IDEAGRAD.
ArtAsian supports artisans to reach customers globally by offering services in:
- Communication: the language barriers between an artisan selling his masterpiece and clients from different countries are eliminated;
- Marketing: develop a plan tailored to the needs of the artisan to reach as many customers as possible;
- Online Payment: receiving the money earned in a safe and timely manner;
- Logistic: Safe delivery of the goods.
- 150+ vendors signed up on the marketplace;
- 10,000+ database of artisans all around Central Asia.
- $5,000+ income for 44 sales to San Francisco, London, Moscow, Istanbul and many other cities around the globe by May 2016.
The impact that the solution brings to artisans was acknowledged in the Mobile Eurasia Challenge competition in Moscow in January 2016, where ArtAsian.co won first place among 20 ventures from Armenia, Russia, Georgia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and earned $15,000. InFebruary 2016, the solution took third place in the World Mobile Challenge in Barcelona, Spain.
Replication: The solution can be a model for start-ups in countries with artisans dispersed to provide access to local and global markets.
Budget: $17,000 (including the seed capital).
Partners: Ideagrad (then BCCA, USAID Business Growth Initiative (BGI), World Nomad Games – Olympiad of ethnic and nomad sports.
Contact person: Nursultan Sulaimanov, Timur Turataliev
Phone: +996 777 218 699; +996 557 290 190 (Whatsapp)