Rumsfeld Fellows: Economic Development (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan)

April 29, 2019

April 20 - 24th,  2019


This week, five international visitors from Central Asia, namely from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, explored showcases how a non-governmental, private sector, universities as well as the governmental offices promote trade both in San Antonio area and in the global marketplace. These visitors were able to learn about the opportunities, best examples and struggles for building international ties on the level of small and medium businesses. Moreover, they were able to deepen their understanding of culture and tendencies of the local business to make San Antonio economically competitive internationally.


The group began by meeting with the Velocity TX, a private sector which focuses on accelerating the process of commercializing ideas, products, services, or processes, and to guide companies entering the market in the United States. The visitors asked a number of questions and got first hand information about the pipeline available for foreign startups (mainly from a neighbouring countries) to get the necessary resources they need to to accelerate and grow with the help of investments and consulting.  Next, the delegation proceeded to the City of San Antonio’s Economic Development Department. As they have welcomed so many visitors before, EDD opened their doors to this group to explain their work in fostering growth and development in San Antonio. Their conversation delved into the examples of the current incentives and city’s support of businesses and entrepreneurs and their work to attract and promote international investor opportunities.


 Later Monday afternoon, they were given the chance to hear the voice of the educational sector from a wonderful representatives of UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development. This meeting provided the participants with a better understanding of how the university engages in the local business community and the role it plays in laying the foundation for international friendships and deep relationships that might last for generations.  


And the final stop of a busy learning day was at the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF). The representative of a private, nonprofit organization that assists businesses and industries in locating and expanding in the San Antonio area, was able to showcase a number of examples how to promote and attract businesses who are interested in entering the US markets.


On Tuesday, the group began with a morning meeting at the US Commercial Service of the US Department of Commerce, a federal government agency dedicated to helping small-to-medium sized companies develop international markets. This meeting provided the visitors with a better understanding of how federal agencies provide trade counseling, market intelligence, business matchmaking and commercial diplomacy services offered to San Antonio companies and individuals looking to export and benefit from free trade agreements. It was encouraging for some participants to see the representative offices in their own countries giving hope and ideas how those relationships can be expanded.


 Before lunch, the visitors were also able to see the historical places and learn more about the culture and background of our diverse city. They visited Mission San Jose and then were also able to to witness and enjoy a typical fiesta celebration, “Fiesta de los Reyes”, at the historic market square.


The visitors then met with staff of LiftFund, which provides credit and services to small businesses and entrepreneurs who do not have access to loans from commercial sources and offers leadership and innovation to the microlending industry


On Wednesday, the group began with a morning meeting at the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce where they learnt about the work to improve the business climate and build opportunities for growth in San Antonio and the region through programs focused on advocacy, economic development, events, and direct services to its members. In addition to learning these practices, the group met with the representatives of committees who specifically deal with international industries, military installations, infrastructures, economic development, workforce and cyber security.


Through these varied and impactful meetings, the delegation from Central Asia was able to explore San Antonio’s successful efforts to increase the awareness of San Antonio best sides for businesses to start their work in this area as well as to promote the international attractiveness of the whole area. Each one of them found the appointments useful in improving their own efforts to navigate the global marketplace.



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