Recognizing the need for development in Uzbekistan’s leasing industry to support the growth of SMEs, SEAF partnered with a local bank in 2004 to create Business Leasing. Leasing, an alternative to traditional bank financing, finances fixed assets such as equipment and machinery, rather than direct capital, with an end goal of the lessee eventually obtaining ownership of the leased items. It is particularly advantageous for new and small businesses that do not have a lengthy credit history or a significant asset base and that therefore struggle to obtain financing from traditional sources. Business Leasing is one of the first companies in Uzbekistan to provide leasing specifically targeted at SMEs, supporting emerging private businesses that, with access to financing, have the potential to grow into dynamic and profitable companies.
Benefits to Employees
As compared to other private companies in the country, Business Leasing provides employees with extensive training for high-skilled, well-paid positions in a more formalized environment and with a more traditional pay structure. Employees receive their salaries on a timely and consistent basis and are provided extensive benefit packages that exceed the legally required standards. In interviews with SEAF, employees noted that they are excited to be gaining unique skills and expertise in an industry that remains relatively new in the country. In addition to the significant economic impact on its employees and their families, Business Leasing also has a powerful impact on employment at other companies. Through its lease financing to client SMEs, Business Leasing is helping these companies grow their businesses and expand their workforces, increasing their impacts on local communities.
A Positive Impact on the Local Economy
Business Leasing helps companies facilitate sales that would otherwise be impossible without lease financing. On several occasions, Business Leasing clients have increased their demand for local inputs as a result of the leasing they received. For example, a beverage producer that, with Business Leasing’s support, leased bottling equipment to introduce a new line of drinks has increased the amount of fruit it sources from local farms. Business Leasing proved so successful that in 2007 SEAF opened and financed a subsidiary company in Kazakhstan.