Entrepreneurship is a vehicle to accelerate economic diversification. In both the United States and Kazakhstan, universities are offering entrepreneurship opportunities for students to gain practical experience. Through the Central Asia University Partnerships Program (UniCEN), administered by American Councils for International Education and funded by the U.S. State Department through the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Old Dominion University in Virginia and the Innovative Eurasian University in Pavlodar are supporting entrepreneurial ecosystems around private enterprise, regional economic development, and the university.

From Norfolk, Virginia to Pavlodar, Kazakhstan the partners set out to co-create a course on international entrepreneurship. Old Dominion University (ODU) and Innovative Eurasian University (InEU) students investigated the pros and cons of marketing student-selected products and services in the international context. Working virtually in teams, students completed a brief marketing and rollout plan and presented their findings to a larger group in an online forum. Students interacted directly with like-minded entrepreneurs half-way around the world. They effectively managed the time and language differences to prepare and present their results.

Looking ahead, ODU and InEU continue to develop a textbook on improving mechanisms for supporting youth entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan, as well as share materials and documents to improve the management of InEU’s student business incubator. In the future, partners hope to sell consumer products developed by students in Pavlodar at ODU’s innovative student-run on-campus retail store in Norfolk.