Alternative Business Models for Mongolian Entrepreneurs

In 2013, Mongolia was one of the most rapidly expanding economies in the world with economic growth of 11.7 % but this fell to 7.8 % in 2014 and is expected to bottom at 3 % in 2016. Mongolia’s boom was driven by natural resources that led to an estimated 86% of the national economy dependent on the mining industry.  

In 2014-2015 as a result of the global mining downturn, 49% of registered businesses in Mongolia shut down affecting thousands of people. Bat-Orshikh Erdenebat, Executive Director, Development Solutions NGO and an alumnus of IM4DC’s Community Aspects of Resource Development 2014, is leading capacity building on alternative business models for Mongolian entrepreneurs.

Development Solutions NGO has scoped new business opportunities and models as part of a range of programs targeting local entrepreneurs and local businesses in mine affected areas.  Development actions include situation analysis, development of potential markets, products, brands and linkages, skills training and finance and investment strategies.

Following his participation in the CARD course,

“I started to update contents and methods of the business development program trainings and consulting using materials received during the CARD course, such as community relationship and community development planning. I also shared the pictures I took during the trip in the Central Queensland with my colleagues and other business people to give some ideas to change their perspectives on the community development and rural development concept. Development Solutions NGO has strengthened its capacity to upgrade its collaboration with the mining and gas companies to initiate and implement the community development projects. Our organization is also recognized by the Australian Embassy in Seoul and Ulaanbaatar as well.”   

In December 2015, Development Solutions NGO in partnership with Anglo American Mongolia LLC and Gobi-Altai government hosted a two day workshop for 120 entrepreneurs with the aim of increasing jobs, start-ups, and business growth.

They held training sessions on "planning a business" and “successfully expanding a business". The training provided practical examples on business development. They shared 11 domestic business cases. Aside from the business examples, Development Solutions NGO presented their  Youth Business Mongolia program that encourages entrepreneurship and supports young businesses. As a result, the governing body of Gobi-Altai province agreed to establish a youth business club.

Course participants also learnt about developing business plans that are comprehensible to investors and banks by integrating policies of local governments and agencies. Business owners were also exposed to Design Thinking methodology and worked on an exercise to create an innovative local brand of yogurt.

Before training, participants had poor understanding of innovation although there was huge potential to develop innovation in the local products and services. We were able to demonstrate the potential of introducing competitive and innovative products in the local market.

Initiatives such as the Youth Business Mongolia Program; the Mentoring Program; the Wool Shearing Project and the Business Linkage Program have assisted more than 4000 start ups and 7000 existing businesses to create local brands, diversify the economy and leverage competitive advantages. More than 60% of business owners are women, this contributes to the social development of local families. 


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