Business Roadmap helps entrepreneur from Nur-Sultan quadruple sales

The grant amount for this year is from two to five million tenge, the official website of the mayor's office reports.

The grant allocated by the capital city hall under the Business Roadmap program helped the founder of Candy & Sandy fancy cotton candy chain to expand the business and boost profit.

"We qualified for a grant of KZT three million under the BRM program. This money was helpful in offsetting some of our costs and expanding our outlet network. With these funds, we launched additional outlets at shopping malls. Before the grant, we had two shops, now, we have four. Without the lockdown, there would have been more. Note that opening an outlet at a shopping mall demands significant investment due to more expensive rent and more stringent requirements. We are happy with our achievements today. Our sales have quadrupled. Our startup was recognized the best at the Central Asian youth festival," says Rayim Saylau, Candy & Sandy CEO.

The entrepreneur started looking for business ideas as a student. The university encouraged him to decide on starting a business.

"At the university, we were given an assignment to prepare a business plan that could be implemented by both established businessmen and young students who are just starting. My assignment partner - my girlfriend and wife later - and I began thinking about the idea. We were looking for an acceptable business idea that would not require either major investment or experience. The idea to start a cotton candy business came to me when we were walking in the park once. At the time, selling cotton candy did not seem too hard," Rayim Saylau remembers.

Once the business idea had been clear, the entrepreneur started exploring the market and the ins and outs of that undertaking. Rayim Saylau got a job in the park to understand the inner workings of cotton candy sales.

"After I gained experience, we purchased equipment. We put the first outlet in the Zhetysu Park. This is when I realized that nothing was that simple. Our initial investment was insufficient, meaning that we incurred double expenses against our planned amount. We started looking for investments and partners. In 2019, we saw an ad about BRM grants and decided to apply. We applied, defended the project before the Board and received the award," says the founder of Candy & Sandy.

The entrepreneur used the money allocated under BRM to purchase cotton candy machines, a cart, dyes, ingredients, and sticks for arranging new outlets. The entrepreneur emphasizes he followed criteria of quality, safety and full compliance when purchasing new equipment.

"Our products must be of high quality because this is mass production. We make cotton candy with banana, strawberry, blackberry, orange, chocolate and other flavors. This is the first cotton candy in Kazakhstan to have a variety of flavors. Like ice cream. In Soviet times, there were only cream and chocolate flavors, but today, there is more diversity. What truly makes us different is giving our cotton candy fancy shapes: Angry Birds, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Hulk, toys, bears, and many more," the entrepremeur said.

The Business Roadmap 2020 was launched in Kazakhstan in 2010. Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund is the operator for subsidizing and guaranteeing loans. Second-tier banks are points of contact for entrepreneurs eager to join the program. Nur-Sultan's Department of Investment and Entrepreneurship Development is now open for applications for grant funding. The grant amount for this year ranges from two to five million tenge. Candidates are welcome to apply at http://uir-astana.kz/. The site lists the relevant requirements and solicited documents.


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