Successful Start-ups and Businesses in Emerging Economies
Edited by Ruta Aidis and Friederike Welter
Chapter 4: Overcoming Barriers: Business Consulting and Lobbying in Kazakhstan
Gül Berna Özcan INTRODUCTION This chapter provides a business case study for Kazakhstan, focusing on the Independent Businessmen’s Group (IBG), a consultancy ﬁrm that took advantage of the demand for business services and day-to-day problem solving. The IBG case shows how energetic and imaginative entrepreneurship can turn business consultancy and lobbying into a successful venture by forging relational politics into a business for enterprise protection in Kazakhstan. This case study also shows that a new diversiﬁcation of power structures and business consolidation is taking place with long-term consequences for the former hierarchical and vertical structures of the Soviet economy and society. Entrepreneurs widen their opportunities in relation, not in opposition to, the ruling elite in the market. The prevailing business norm is to accommodate the dominant powers that control economic resources as well as political incentives and tools. The IBG ﬂourished on this assumption by forging political and patrimonial alliances through vertical and horizontal relations that its founder enjoyed as a close ally of the ruling elite as well as an old comrade of the president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.1 Before introducing the case study, I will discuss the main challenges facing business development in Kazakhstan and Central Asia in order to set the scene. In the ﬁrst section I analyse why the delay of the emergence of lateral organizations and lack of societal trust are important impediments for the establishment of the market economy and strong civil society in Kazakhstan and post-Soviet Central Asia. The following section will examine...
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