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Terry's Peace Corps Experience: 27 Months Volunteering in Kazakhstan
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Saturday, 15 April 2006
New Photos
Yes, I know I haven't updated my photos since my trip to India (14 months ago). However, I added some today.

Arai's Wedding Photos (my counterpart got married last summer)

Olga's Birthday (a great friend from Aksai)

KPO Photos (a few photos from Karachaganak Petroleum b.v.)

My 33rd B-day (yes, last years b-day. I still need add photos from this year)

Orphanage Certificate Ceremony (from end of May 2005)

Visit from my family (I saved the best for last. I finally added photos from my families visit to Uralsk).

In the future, I hope to add photos from my recent b-day, 2006 polar plunge, 2006 orphanage ceremonies and my final days in KZ.

Click on Year 2 (under the photos tab to review all the new photos).

Cheers,
Terry


Posted by youngterry at 7:46 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 12 April 2006
Preliminary Schedule for Last Month
April 6th -- B-day Celebration (Scavenger Hunt)

April 10th-12th -- Travel to Aktobe to speak at conference. Cover project management, how to give an effective presentation and Marketing/Adveritsing Basics.

April 17th-19th -- Travel to Astana to present at seminar on social projects. Will cover IBC/BG projects.

April 24th-26th -- Last IBC/BG training series.

April 27th -- Orpahanage Computer and Technical Training Graduation Ceremony.

April 28th -- Final Day at IBC

April 29th -- Final Banya with volunteers

May 1st -- Depart for Almaty

Posted by youngterry at 9:09 AM CDT
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Saturday, 8 April 2006
Celebrating my third birthday in Kazakhstan.
As I am about to write the tale of my final birthday in Kazakhstan, it is hard to find the words. It was truly an amazing day.

It started at IBC Group and then just kept going. It was like celebrating 8 birthdays in one day. Let me explain.

All of my colleagues and friends gathered in the IBC Group conference center to celebrate my birthday with tea and cake. Each person gave me a toast and a few were emotional (since I only have 3 more weeks in Uralsk). Then they presented me with a few traditional Kazakh pieces of art. It was a great start to an amazing day. Then I was handed a small scroll which included a photo of me and instructions for my birthday scavenger hunt. I was asked to fill a bus with all my friends and solve the clue. So, I filled the decorated van with 13 people and headed to Nexio Pizzeria (answer to the first clue). There, the owners were waiting for us and served us milk shakes, presented me with a card, and then the second clue. Based on the second scroll we headed to my host families house. My friends went in the “Terry Van” and I was delivered in the Nexio Pizzeria delivery car. We then arrived at my host families for a traditional Kazakh lunch (3 hours of eating). I think there were about 15 of us. At the end of the meal, I received my next clue which led me to my Italian friend’s apartment for wine, snacks and games. We made one stop on the way to say hello to Arai (my counterpart). Ana (my Italian friend) had decorated her apartment with photos and funny headlines in Italian. Then I received my next clue that instructed me to head to Energia Fitness Center. We all filled the Van and arrived at my fitness club. Once I entered the club, the entire staff was waiting for me with birthday music playing. They then presented me with a gift and each gave me a toast. Then I had to search the club to find my next clue. After I found it, we all went to the fitness center cafe for cookies, cake and tea. My next clue instructed me to head to the Atrium Night Club. We made a quick stop for a beer, then headed to the Atrium. About 30 people joined us at the night club for food, dancing and a barman show. The barman show even included torches and a table of fire. Then I was given my last clue that instructed me to take all of my friends to the Pushkin Hotel for a final celebration. We all headed to the Pushkin to enjoy pizza, snacks, music, dancing and a wonderful slide show. The slide show even included photos from when I was a kid (my family in states even helped with the event). The entire day was filmed and a reporter from the newspaper joined us on every stop, so that she could write a story about the event. At the end, I was just speechless. Sue had been the main organizer and had coordinated with half the city to pull it together. It was an absolutely fantastic birthday that I will never forget. It was also a great way to see everyone before we depart for the US.

All I can say is that the friends that I met here are truly amazing!

Posted by youngterry at 5:14 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Final Reflections
Final reflections.
Well, when I first received my letter to join the Peace Corps, I really knew very little about Kazakhstan, non government organizations, corporate social responsibility and living close to poverty in the third world. How things have changed!

•Kazakhstan: Just 27 months ago, I knew nothing about KZ and expected to see a nomadic culture with a lot of yurts (ok, not exactly, but the Internet portrays KZ in this way). What I found was the 17th fastest growing economy in the World. A country full of natural resources and a lot of economic development (mainly as a result of the oil and gas industry). Indeed, the government puts more emphasis on economic prosperity than citizen’s rights, but, in doing so, they have remained the most stable country in the CIS. In the end, the thing that surprised me the most has been the Kazakh people and their genuine hospitality. Yes, in America we have good old southern hospitality but many times we miss true genuine hospitality. For example, when you visit a Kazakh family, they give you their best wine, best food, and kill their last chicken in your honor. I guess I could tell 1001 stories about Kazakhstan and guess I will do just that when I return to the states. Hopefully, my experience in Kazakhstan will help a few other people know a bit more about a barely known country.

•Living abroad: I spent a year living in Hong Kong as an expat but that really can’t compare to 27 months of volunteering in a less than comfortable Peace Corps lifestyle. All I can say is that an experience like this changes you in many ways. The food you eat, the way you think and interact, and probably in ways that I don’t, yet, even know. I guess I have become a World Citizen – a person that embraces many cultures and collects a little nugget from each. Ultimately, these experiences mold you into a NEW person. As a result, you no longer purely reflect your own culture nor have you totally embraced the new ones. You have only become an amalgamation of many. I guess as world citizens we are just modern day explorers.

•Volunteering: Not thinking about my next paycheck or my next career move was refreshing and, at the same time, a strange form of torture. Over the last two years, my primary motivation has been how much I can help other people via training, mentoring, and leading by example. Investing in their future while putting mine on hold. All I can say is that this currency is priceless for the soul but hard on the intellect. As we all know, a balance is likely the best formula. We can feed both – our desire to help and our personal ambitions. My lesson learned is that I need to incorporate regular volunteering into my day-to-day life.

•IBC Group: While in Kazakhstan, I spent 75% of my time working and helping my organization, and I think this story is told in the programs and successes of the organization itself. I will talk more about this in my DOS.

•Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): I don’t think I had really thought about CSR in any serious way before coming to Kazakhstan, but now I can talk about it for hours. The responsibility companies have back to society and the discipline that is being developed to make this happen is quickly taking shape across most multi national corporations. I have worked with several companies on long term CSR programs and even spoken at a conference on the subject. This is a field that I think will continue to grow and combine smart, strategic thinking with humanitarian efforts. Perhaps, there is a good business idea in this concept.

•Host families: I had the great pleasure of spending 9 of my 27 months with two Kazakh host families, and all I can say is that both were amazing. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, I had lived as a single, bachelor for nearly 3 years and I cringed at the thought of living in a 1000 square foot apartment with 5 other people. However, while living with my families, I not only learned an amazing amount about Kazakh culture and Kazakh day-to-day life, but I developed an amazing bond with my Uralsk host family. Even after I moved out from their house, I have kept in close contact with them. I see my host mother every week, when she stops by my office to say hello and my host brother comes to my apartment every Sunday for American movie night. I guess, I initially thought I would dislike the experience but it was truly one of the highlights of the two years. I hope to see my Uralsk host family in the US in the very near future and, if not, I plan to return to Uralsk to see them again.

Posted by youngterry at 12:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, 2 April 2006
Description of Service (DOS)
DESCRIPTION OF PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER SERVICE

This is the final document that I will submit to the Peace Corps. Basically, it summarize the work that I have completed while volunteering in Kazakhstan. I think it gives a good overview of my activities over the last 27 months, so I thought I would share it on my blog.

Terry began Pre-Service Training on March 3, 2004 in Issyk, Kazakhstan. This 10-week training program included the following components:

Language 148 hours
Cross Culture 20 hours
Technical Training 71 hours
Medical/Admin./Safety 28 hours

After successful completion of training Terry was sworn into the Peace Corps on May 13, 2004 and assigned to work at IBC Group in Uralsk, West Kazakhstan Oblast.

Highlights of Experience at IBC Group:
•Provided business consulting and training to over 120 small and medium enterprises in Uralsk and the West Kazakhstan Oblast

•Consulted and provided training across microcredit financing, business incubator and internet business divisions at IBC Group

•Launched and established sustainable internet division that generated revenue 4x target in first six months; Part of long term corporate social responsibility program with Karachaganak Petroleum b.v.

•Managed team that designed, developed and over 15 sites in region and launched Sharepoint intranet portal for largest oil company in region
•Created and launched new IBC Group website (www.ibcgroup.kz), corporate identity and advertising campaign

•Coordinated with international donor organizations and consultants to provide financing and consulting support to IBC; Generated over $380,000 in social grants for IBC Group

•Participated as speaker at national conferences on corporate social responsibility (CSR)
•Worked with global oil firms on promoting business and economic change and delivering successful CSR programs in Uralsk

•Helped establish KACEBI (Kazakhstani American Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation)

•Established first mini MBA, advanced mini MBA, advertising, direct and database marketing training programs and first orphanage computer training, an orphanage technical training program at IBC

Primary Assignment Details (IBC Group – Uralsk, Kazakhstan):

Terry was involved in the following areas of activity at IBC Group:

1.Supporting and establishing the IBC Group Internet Division

2.Supporting IBC Group social projects and trainings

3.Supporting IBC Group Business Incubator

4.Supporting the IBC Group Microcredit Loan Fun

IBC Group Background:

The IBC Group is a non profit organization located in Uralsk, Kazakhstan. IBC was founded in 1998 by Zinad Musina to help support small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurialism and social projects in the West Kazakhstan Oblast (WKO).

Since 1998, Zinad and her team have launched three key divisions of the IBC Group.

West Kazakhstan Business Incubator: The incubator supports small and medium size businesses by providing rental space and special services to clients. Clients that qualify for the incubation service at IBC receive subsidized rent for the first 6 months and rent at the bottom of the market rental rate for up to three years. In addition, IBC provides clients a wide range of services including: Internet access, photocopying, fax and training sessions. Currently, IBC rents space to 28 tenants.

West Kazakhstan Public Fund for Entrepreneurial Support: This division provides small/micro credit loans to qualified small and medium enterprises in the West Kazakhstan Oblast.

IBC Internet Division: The most recent addition is the Internet Division. Today we manage a fully sustainable Internet division that consists of local designers and technology experts, project managers, translators and interpreters, marketing and expat specialists that continually provide training to the local staff. Each project that the IBC Internet Division launches helps support other IBC divisions and funds new social and economic development projects in the WKO.

Posted by youngterry at 1:53 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, 2 April 2006 1:55 AM CST
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FOCUS AREA 1 -- IBC Group Internet Division:

Internet Business Project History:

The project started from an idea generated by Karachaganak Petroleum Operating b.v. Vendor Development and Qualification, US Peace Corps Volunteer, Bob Bassak and IBC staff. Today the idea has developed into a new, thriving division of IBC.

In October of 2003, KPO and the IBC Group launched the West Kazakhstan Internet Business Project. KPO supported the project by providing $45,000 in funding. The Internet Business Project was an educational initiative aimed at developing information technology in the Western Kazakhstan Oblast. The project had the following three goals.
1.Generate Internet and technology jobs and businesses in West Kazakhstan by building a skilled labor supply to meet the emerging local demand for web services

2.Launch a sustainable internet business, under the IBC Group, in order to generate funds to be allocated to help small and medium enterprises in the West Kazakhstan Oblast

3.To position West Kazakhstan as a location for web labor outsourcing

28 people were selected to study web development and technology during a ten-month (October 2003 – July 2004) course that was taught at the IBC facility. Trainers were selected from experts across Kazakhstan and the US.

Beyond the Initial Training and Grant:

In July 2004, the 28 students completed their training, and at that time, I helped IBC focus on developing a sustainable, long term business division, continuing to educate students and providing job opportunities for them.

In August 2004, we officially launched a new division called the IBC Group Internet Division. Today, the Internet division consists of local designers, technology experts, project managers, translators, interpreters and marketing and expat specialists. Each project that the IBC Internet Division completes helps support the division, other IBC Group divisions and fund new social and economic development projects in the WKO.

•We deliver the following services to our clients:

•Internet and e-business consulting: provide strategic consulting to guide online efforts.

•Internet, extranet and intranet services: provide site design, user interface development, prototype development, application development, coding, and testing.

•E-mail marketing: help client establish permission based e-mail communications

•Hosting and maintenance: provide content update support for website(s) and work with partners to provide hosting facility.

•Internet training: provide training in computer and internet technology.

•Translation (English and Russian): provide translation of sites, e-mail programs and advertising material into English, Russian and Kazakh.

•Our local Clients: Landed 15 local clients since the launch of the internet division. BKKS, TV Karachaganak, Sparta, Gradient, Ural Water Project, KPO Intranet Phase I and Phase II, Kazakhstan Cinema, Pushkin Hotel, Astana Trans, Masters, Panorama Travel, ZhaikDent, Ped College and Zhas Dauren. Currently in negotiations for a 21 month contract with KPO to manage their intranet site.

•Our International Clients: First international site was for Dance World Academy. We are also currently in discussions with Panasonic to develop a content management system and update existing sites.

•Social Impact: Remodeled two offices in incubator, support all three IBC Group divisions with high speed internet, provide technology training for Zhas Dauren Orphanage, provided two internships for students from Zhas Dauren, provide special design trainings for Uralsk entrepreneurs and IBC Group staff. Currently helping to support initial launch of the Kazakstani-American Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (KACEBI).

•Business infrastructure and process establishment:

•Established project management system: standard contracts, statement of work (SOW), creative input document (CID), estimating tool, international accounting standards, pricing model, timesheets, client status reports and Microsoft project timelines

•Established sales strategy and process: prospect qualification system, new business strategy and capabilities presentation

•Implemented internal/external communication procedures: weekly status meetings, client communication tools and monthly/quarterly reports

•Implemented billing and invoicing system: system for tracking revenue (projected and actual)

•Established Internet access at facility: high speed internet access

•Hired full-time driver: driver is utilized across all three divisons at IBC

•Created advertising and marketing material: corporate identity, brochure, billboards and IBC Group website (www.ibcgroup.kz). These materials were built for the entire IBC Group division.

Corporate Social Responsibility: IBC believes that this project is an excellent example of where a donor provides social funding to a local non profit organization and that organization is able to use that money to develop a business that can provide unique value back to the donor. This has been an amazing example of corporate social responsibility working effectively in the West Kazakstan Oblast.


FOCUS AREA 2 -- IBC Group Social Projects:


Orphanage Computer and Language Training:

In the summer of 2004, I worked with BG Kazakhstan to sponsor a program that provides computer and language training to students from the Zhas Dauren Orphanage. Each student that completes the program receives a special certificate signed by BG Group, IBC and Eurasia Institute. Based on performance in the program, some students also receive university scholarships and internship opportunities in local corporations. The second year of the program will be complete in April 2006. The program will be funded for a third year and continue through Dec 2007. Total social funding for the three year program was approximately $175,000.

Orphanage Technical Training Project:

Based on the success of the computer training program, BG Kazakhstan decided to sponsor a new program in 2005-2006, which is called Business Incubator Orphanage project. This training program provides 10 Zhas Dauren Orphanage graduates with technical, business and life skills. These are students that have decided not to attend university and need technical skills in order to find jobs. The program began in October 2005 and will finish in October 2006. After the completion of the program, we will work with the students to identify job opportunities and support them with job placement. Each student that completes the program will receive a special certificate signed by BG Group and IBC Group. Total social funding for the program was approximately $40,000.

Posted by youngterry at 1:49 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, 2 April 2006 1:57 AM CST
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DOS (continued)
Business Skills Training:

Also, I worked with BG Kazakhstan to establish a special entrepreneur training program at IBC. The trainings focus on topics covered in a typical MBA training program. BG and IBC have jointly conducted four training programs for entrepreneurs over the last 18 months.

First Mini MBA

In October 2004, IBC teamed with PRAGMA EDP and US Peace Corps to conduct our first Mini MBA program. The goal of the trainings was to improve the business skills of Uralsk enterprenuers. Each participant, who attended all five modules of the training received a Mini MBA certificate. (Master of Business Administartion).

The topics covered during the training: business planning, strategic planning, customer service, sales and financial management.

The trainings were conducted by US Peace Corps Volunteer, John Kirk and several PRAGMA EDP trainers.
Direct and Database Marketing Training:

In August 2005, IBC Group and BG Kazakhstan sponsored a 2 ? day training program focused on direct and database marketing for 40 entrepreneurs from Uralsk and the West Kazakhstan Oblast. The training seminar featured speakers from USAID EDP and American direct marketing expert Michele Stephens. Michele has over 20 years of experience in direct marketing and works with one of the largest direct marketing firms in America.

In this training program, we provided training on how to utilize direct and database marketing in business by delivering the right message, to the right target, at the right time. The training program was by invitation only and certificates were given to participants upon completion.

Key Trainer: Michele Stephens

3 Day Training: 1 August, 2006 – 3 August, 2006
Topics: Introduction to Direct Mail and Database Marketing, Best Practices in Direct, Mail and Database Marketing, Direct Mail Case Studies, Case Study Analysis, Creative, Showcase and Best Practices, Client Services and Client Satisfaction, Review Session and Roundtable Discussion

Trainer:EDP USAID
Topics: Marketing 101 and SWOT and STEP Analysis


Key Trainer’s Biography: Michele Stephens
Michele Stephens has over 20 years experience providing strategic database and relationship marketing planning and execution to clients across a wide range of industries. She was the account lead for an integrated team that delivered acquisition, retention and loyalty relationship marketing consulting for Procter & Gamble, Fisher-Price, Disney and Holland America Line accounts. She successfully developed and executed launch plans for new products for MovieBeam (Disney), and Pampers Premium Diapers utilizing a combination of consumer research, virtual test market simulation and in-market testing. Her team leadership successfully built the first Nestle USA marketing database and taught individual brands how to use the new asset. She currently leads the team that manages Hyatt Hotel’s Gold Passport global loyalty program.

Michele has a BS in Telecommunications from the University of Kentucky and an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

Advanced Mini MBA Training:

At the end of October 2005, IBC Group and BG Kazakhstan sponsored a 2 ? day training program designed to help 40 entrepreneurs across the West Kazkakhstan Oblast expand their skills in business. The program covered topics that would be taught in a typical American Masters of Business Administration graduate program.

The training also included a fun and unique networking activity at the local Pushkin Hotel. Each of the participants dressed up in an original Halloween costume to attend a Halloween Cocktail and Games Party, which was creatively hosted by the Pushkin Hotel.

3 Day Training: 31 October – 2 November 2006

Key Trainer: USAID CARANA - John Dreier
Topics: Organization Development 1, Organization Development 2, Business Ethics, Business Ethics with Corruption Role Play

Trainer: EDP USAID
Topics: Effective Negotiations, Negotiations Role Play, Financial Planning: Accounts Payable and Receivable, Financial Planning: Model practice

Trainer: IBC Group – Terry Young (US Peace Corps Volunteer)
Topics: Presentation skills and presentation skills break out session

Posted by youngterry at 1:46 AM CST
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DOS (Continued)
Entrepreneurial Marketing: Creative Approaches to Winning Customers and Capturing Markets

In January 2006, IBC Group, BG Kazakhstan, USAID Carana, and the Beyster Institute sponsored a 1 day training program designed to help 30 start-up entrepreneurs across the West Kazkakhstan Oblast use creative marketing strategies. To build successful companies, entrepreneurs must learn how to do much more with marketing while spending much less. By focusing on the unique marketing challenges and opportunities in fast-growth, entrepreneurial firms, this training conducted by Entrepreneurial Expert, Dr. Liu, showed entrepreneurs how to utilize innovative, powerful and cost-effective marketing techniques to win customers and capture markets.

Great marketing begins with a fundamental understanding of your market. Consequently, this training addressed what entrepreneurs need to know about their customers and provided practical tools for helping entrepreneurs gain and keep customers!

Trainer:
Dr. Alex Liu is an expert of international entrepreneurship, and now serves as the Director to the RM Institute for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. Alex started his entrepreneur career from consulting for a Silicon Valley venture capital firm NED in 1993. Then, he founded a non-profit group CATE to organize entrepreneurship development conferences and programs. Through CATE, Dr. Liu trained more than 100 business executives for China’s high tech development zones. His entrepreneurship development conferences were attended by many famous leaders such as the president Ramos of the Philippines and Yahoo’s co-founder Jerry Yang. Most recently, Dr. Liu served as a director for TEN – the well-known organization that incubated eBay.

Our final training will be conducted in April 2006 and will focus on project management, time management and team building. The training will be conducted by a company from the UK called Lighthouse. This training will utilize new e-learning techniques in order to bring new training methodologies to our training series. This training has help us to develop a bridge between our mini MBA series and the KACEBI program – KACEBI is also outlined in this DOS.

MS SharePoint Portal Server training

The main goal of the training was to prepare specialists for the implementation of the second phase of the KPO intranet project. This training was sponsored by Karachaganak Petroleum Operating b.v. The training was conducted by ALSI Computer Company. During the training, the trainees were taught the work with the MS SharePoint Portal and an emphasis was placed on the administration and customization of the system.

After the training four participants started their work on the KPO intranet portal.

KACEBI:Kazakhstani American Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation.

I worked with US Peace Corps Volunteer, Becky Long, USAID CARANA, Eurasia Institute and IBC Group to develop the center. I focused on helping with the following: 1. initial planning of the program 2. initial funding of the project 3. support for official preparation period. KACEBI will offer the first MBA in West Kazakhstan and the first degree in entrepreneurialism and business innovation in Kazakhstan.

Overview of Project and Phases:
KACEBI stands for Kazakhstani-American Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. The Center plans to officially open in the fall of 2006 as a part of the West-Kazakhstan Institute of Languages and Management Evrazia. Since its founding 10 years ago, Evrazia Institute has proved itself to be a prestigious institute of higher education. In 2005, the Institute ranked 7th place among 96 private and public institutions of higher education in Kazakhstan . IBC Group is an organization consisting of 3 divisions (Business Incubator, Loan Fund, and Internet Division) with the common aim of helping entrepreneurs. These two organizations recognize that KACEBI would have a positive impact on business development in the region of western Kazakhstan, and so they are teaming together with USAID Carana’s Business and Economics Education Project and international partners in order to create KACEBI!


Vision: to establish and develop a center for entrepreneurship and business innovation that encourages entrepreneurial activity and economic development in western Kazakhstan while positively impacting the business and economics education system and becoming a model center for the region.


Project Overview - for KACEBI’s first 3 years of operation

Phase I: January through July 2006 – preparation period (helped team obtain initial $140,000 in funding for project)•Trip for Evrazia Institute and new KACEBI staff to a Center for Entrepreneurship in America.
•Visits to Uralsk, Kazakhstan by 3 American professors in spring and summer for instructors’ training and then evaluation of instructor’s knowledge.
•Course materials to be developed with partner universities abroad by mid April 2006.

Phase II: First year: pilot period – August 2006 – May 2007
•Start of program with 1 year Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management for current and aspiring entrepreneurs.
•Begin offering a variety of short-term trainings and several outreach activities to connect with entrepreneurs and companies in the region.
•Invite one full-time entrepreneurial expert from abroad to work in Uralsk for 1st year of operation in the role of Academic Director and assisting in the planning of the Bachelor’s program.

Phase III: Second year – September 2007 – May 2008•Start addition of 4-year undergraduate degree program for a Bachelor’s of Business Administration (BBA) with concentrations available in Entrepreneurship and in Business Innovation.
•Expansion of outreach activities.
•Invite another expert in entrepreneurship from abroad to come to Uralsk and work for the 2nd half of Phase III to assist in the planning of the MBA program.

Phase IV: Third year – September 2008 – May 2009
•Begin addition of 2-year graduate degree program for a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) with concentrations available in Entrepreneurship and in Business Innovation.
•Invite an expert in entrepreneurship from abroad to come to Uralsk for a shorter-term stay.
•Two BBA or MBA students to visit an American partner university for 1 month.

Posted by youngterry at 1:45 AM CST
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DOS (continued)
FOCUS AREA THREE -- Business Incubator:

The main focus for the incubator has been on operational improvements. Over the last two years, I have work with the team to complete the following:

1.Obtained $35,000 grant to renovate 7 offices at the business incubator

2.Brought BESO consultant from England to help draft an updated business plan and make strategic recommendations for incubator

3.Hired a project manager to support the Business Incubator director in implementing the recommendations

4.Increased rent in order to ensure the business incubator breaks even

5.Established board of trustees

6.Built new incubator application and graduation process

7.Created new promotional materials

8.Developed yearly health check process

9.Developed business plan support pack

FOCUS AREA 4 -- Microcredit Loan Fund:

I supported the IBC Group Loan Fund in establishing a one year contract with the Central Asian Microcredit Finance Association (CAMFA) for support with technical development. The grant will end in April 2006. I also helped bring a UN volunteer and microcredit finance specialist to Uralsk for a three month assignment. She helped the team execute many of the CAMFA recommendations and developed additional strategic recommendations.

Other Projects/Secondary Projects:

1.Taught 6 week business English course

2.Conducted Marketing 101 and Advertising Fundamentals presentation

3.Judged the Miss Uralsk Beauty Contest in 2004 and 2005

4.Spoke at the inauguration of the new fitness center

5.Every Sunday hosted English movie night (8 months)

6.Provided private business consulting to entrepreneurs in Uralsk and Aksai

7.Spoke at local schools and Universities about America and American Culture

8.Helped to bring additional Peace Corps Volunteer to IBC to support the newly developed Internet Division

9.Worked with other volunteers in the region to utilize their skills at IBC Group

Language Skills
Terry Young was tested by an ACTFL certified language tester and attained a proficiency of intermediate high in Russian.

Posted by youngterry at 1:43 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, 2 April 2006 1:58 AM CST
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Saturday, 1 April 2006
A Disgusting Experience
After our last training, the Director of IBC Group and the Director of the Business Incubator wanted to take me to the Banya to celebrate our most recent successes. I never want to pass up a banya but I had been having diarrhea all day and wasn’t sure about my “condition” during a three hour banya. In any case, I really wanted to join them at the Banya so I “squeezed” everything together and ploughed forward. The drive to the Banya takes about 30 minutes along a rather bumpy road (definitely hard on my “squeeze”). By the time we reached the Banya, I made a mad dash for the out house. I entered the out house and quickly pulled down my pants and released my “squeeze”. I instantly felt better and was ready to join my colleagues in the Banya when I heard a loud sound of something following into the bottom of the outhouse (about 10 feet down). It was a BLUMP sound. I quickly checked my back pocket only to realize I had broken the first rule of using an out house – Always hold wallet during SQUAT! My wallet had taken the long fall to the bottom of a years worth of sewage.

I quickly made my way back to the Banya to find my colleagues disrobed, in their banya hats and ready for the sauna. I explained in broken Russian that we have a BIG PROBLEM, and that my wallet had fallen to its death at the bottom of the out house. First, they reminded me of out house rule number 1 (always hold wallet during SQUAT), laughed for at least 5 minutes, and then suggested that we just forget it. I quickly told them that I not only had all of my cash for the month in the wallet but also my license and credit cards. Reluctantly, they summoned the out house wallet retriever to help us fish out my wallet. He brought a long pole that was equipped with a hook to help snag the wallet. The man turned to me and asked the most ridiculous question, “Sir, is your wallet brown?” I thought to myself, if it wasn’t brown before it fell, it most certainly is now. After only 3-4 minutes of searching the man located the wallet and hooked it. He then brought it to the surface covered in chunks. I then had to reach down, pick up the wallet and take it for a deep cleaning. While gagging, I dechunked my wallet, credit cards and money and left the wallet to air dry. After that experience, I was so happy to join my colleagues in the banya for a good Kazakh cleaning and deep sanitizing.

You would guess that the next day I tossed the wallet, but being a good PC volunteer living in poverty, I just sanitized it and used again. When I arrived home for Christmas, my family decided enough is enough and bought me a new one.

Lesson learned:
never forget out house rule number 1 (always hold wallet during SQUAT positions) and really we don’t always have to act like Peace Corps Volunteers – a new wallet was truly in order!

Posted by youngterry at 12:01 AM CST
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