UNDP local initiative contest draws hundreds of applications from Vitebsk Oblast
The project “Support to Economic Development at the Local Level in the Republic of Belarus” is run by the United Nations Development Program in collaboration with the Belarusian Economy Ministry. The project is funded by the European Union. Local SMEs promotion plans will be the main tools of implementing the project. The plans will be based on business ideas coming from companies, entrepreneurs and local residents. The local initiative contest drew over 110 applications from Orsha District and 130 business ideas from Braslav District. These ideas cover virtually all spheres of life and help better understand the needs and entrepreneurial potential of these districts. These applications are subject to exploration and critical scrutiny. The project experts hold consultations with local authorities to discuss how these initiatives can be resourced and implemented. Simultaneously, applicants are invited to attend educational events that will walk them through various aspects of the project. The best ideas will be featured in local SMEs promotion plans and will be able to take part in contests as part of the project. Winners of these contests will get financial support. Local SMEs promotion plans will cover a period of two years. After these plans are finalized, they will be submitted to local authorities. The deadline is 10 November. The documents will set forth a detailed algorithm of action for all partners, including local authorities, business people, and other stakeholders. The success of collaboration between experts and local communities will be assessed using the following criteria: new jobs and income generation opportunities, higher employment and self-employment rate, Natalia Adamchik said. The bulk of business ideas from Braslav District dealt with tourism, with a focus on medical, sports and rehabilitation tourism that is in demand all the year round. Another promising business niche is production of organic products using local resources. A great deal of applications from Orsha District sought to tap into the potential of the IT sector, for example to use technology to improve healthcare provision and streamline export of services. A part of business ideas dealt with promotion of the local agricultural sector, which implied incentives for producers of traditional products and establishment of a commodity distribution network to promote local foods throughout Belarus and abroad. The project “Support to Economic Development at the Local Level in the Republic of Belarus” was registered by the Economy Ministry on 1 February 2019. Its implementation period is 36 months. The project is set to run till 31 January 2022.