SEAF launched its Central Asia Small Enterprise Fund (CASEF) in August 2002 to invest in small and medium enterprises in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Through CASEF, SEAF provides much-needed capital for the expansion of local early-stage SMEs that will promote sustainable development and economic prosperity in the region.
Following the end of the Cold War, Central Asia faced destabilization fueled by varied national economic performances and a lack of ethnic and cultural cohesion within individual states. Despite this apparent vulnerability, nations in the region continued to experience domestic economic growth that had begun in the late 1980s. To encourage this growth further, and to promote stability and prosperity in the former Soviet states, SEAF founded CASEF.
CASEF’s investments had a positive social impact on thousands of families across the fund’s companies, especially those in rural areas. In addition to financing, SEAF provided its portfolio companies with expert business assistance, helping companies select new technologies and implement corporate governance standards. With SEAF’s help, CASEF’s companies also focused on training their workforces, providing employees with transferable skills that increase their value in the workforce.
Through CASEF, SEAF made 14 investments across several key sectors in its target countries, including a fish farm, a leasing company, a gas distributor, a pharmaceutical company, a medical diagnostic clinic, a dermatology clinic, and a hotel chain. In addition to traditional financial and business assistance, SEAF has also helped some of its portfolio companies secure significant third party funding to support their continued growth.