K.Fund SME Day: Equal opportunities for SME development. Government support, business associations, grants and donor projects
Crisis 2020 has freed the hands of entrepreneurs in their innovative solutions. How to turn the crisis into opportunities, join powerful initiatives, programs, clubs, investors and organizations and gain new skills for professional and personal development — the market experts told at the online event “Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Day”. The event was organized within the framework of the European Entrepreneurship Week by Vasyl Khmelnytsky K.Fund.
During the event, three panel discussions and innovative online networking of entrepreneurs for limited offline conditions were held, where the event participants could present their own projects. The session was moderated by Lydia Pashchuk, President of the K.Fund.
The last session of SME Day was a discussion panel, where representatives of organizations that provide the necessary business opportunities talked about how to use help through training, financing and finding partners. The speakers of the third session were:
- Valeriy Kokot, Executive Director of Impact Investment & Fair Trade, expert of the United Nations Development Program;
- Tatiana Miskova, Acting Director of the State Institution “Office for Export Promotion of Ukraine”;
- Maxim Anufriev, President of the Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
- Olesya Volskaya-Zaluska, Deputy Chief of Party at USAID Competitive Economy Program Ukraine;
- Igor Komendo, co-founder of the NGO “GOLocal”.
Olesya Volskaya-Zaluska spoke about the great opportunities and measures to support business from an international organization.
- USAID provided more than $ 5 million to businesses, and this is just the beginning of the program, which will last until October 2023.
- Now, among the grant programs, the organization takes turnouts from entrepreneurs and partners who want to participate in joint activities aimed at increasing investment and spreading digitalization.
- We work with a broad audience of entrepreneurs, from newbies, startups to women and big businesses. However, with the beginning of quarantine, all SMEs’ representatives have become more active and the demand for their goods or services doesn’t always depend on the niche.
Tatiana Miskova shared free online tools for companies seeking to conquer international markets.
- Our office helps companies move from one-time export contracts to systematic long-term sales. Therefore, we actively cooperate not only with government authorities but also with various technical assistance projects. In 2020, our office has attracted twice as much funding as government agencies.
- All office services are available to entrepreneurs online. Each export business founder has free access to consulting, education, market research, analytics, partner search, and competence development.
- The office is well aware that a business’s proactivity depends on motivation and, above all, readiness for changes and actions. Given the level of development and the number of available resources, we offer a specific range of measures to help businesses.
Maxim Anufriev spoke about the activities of the regional business association and its impact on small and medium-sized businesses’ activities.
- Since 2014, the Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry, after losing 80% of funds and human resources, is based in Kramatorsk.
- The chamber’s range of services is quite wide: from consulting to work with the export component. Based on the chamber, there are five sectoral committees that provide the above services.
- By understanding the business’s state, you can find its primary need: a startup needs money, and mature entrepreneurship needs help to scale. We live in a time when even in the state of the enterprise equal to zero, one can find an opportunity and take advantage of it.
During an online session, Valeriy Kokot spoke about “umbrella” consulting, which combines the expert experience of different countries to develop small and medium-sized businesses.
- In most cases, SMEs in Ukraine require consulting and education more than financing, particularly in the form of loans.
- Now in Ukraine, a large powerful project on Impact Investment is being implemented with the participation of the Istanbul Center for Private Sector Research, which is studying the influence investment ecosystem, the needs of entrepreneurship and government authorities.
- As a result of the project mentioned above, together with the Ministry of Digital Transformation, we will combine SMEs’ and investors’ interests in a kind of marketplace to improve the strengths and work on entrepreneurship’s weaknesses.
Igor Komendo urged entrepreneurs of all sizes to focus on its mission, vision, strategy and goals.
- The key idea of ”GOLocal” is to promote effective and fruitful cooperation between a group of businesses, authorities, society and donors. The public organization’s mission is to develop the economic, innovation and production potential of Ukraine by introducing the best world development practices and grant financing.
- For almost five years, the public organization has attracted one and a half million euros, most of these funds were spent on the development of SMEs.
- Eight international donor organizations have implemented projects thanks to the NGO “GOLocal”.
A full retrospective of the online SME Day event with K.Fund as part of European SME Week 2020 can be viewed here. A report with the main insights of the first session is available on the website. The main theses from the second session can be viewed here.