Time for Action
The local authorities in Vitebsk Oblast have studied the demand of the local people for services and products
The local authorities in Vitebsk Oblast have studied the demand
of the local people for services and products
Support Is Provided Where You Need It
One of the key objectives that the local authorities in Belarus are focusing on right now is providing support for budding entrepreneurs and small businesses in small towns and rural areas across the country. A special legal framework has been designed for this; and it is being improved continuously. If you look at the preferences and privileges for entrepreneurs stipulated in the legal documents, you will see that they are quite similar to those designed for free economic zones. It is really important for the State to ensure that entrepreneurship and small businesses are growing across the country. This concern is evidenced by the fact that the year 2011 has been officially declared in Belarus the Year of Entrepreneurship; then
Small and medium-sized business is an important part of the social and economic complex of Vitebsk oblast. this is an inseparable element of the competitive mechanism which gives the economy the due flexibility, mobilizes financial and production resources of the population and the manufacturing sector, contains a strong antimonopoly potential and helps create new jobs. this is why the Vitebsk oblast authorities pay special attention to the development of entrepreneurship in the oblast.
there is presidential Directive No. 4 and a number of related legal acts adopted in pursuance of this Directive.
The Vitebsk Oblast authorities are now carrying out the small business support program for the years 2010-2013. It provides for an enhanced financial support for entrepreneurs during this Year of Entrepreneurship. The additional funds will be used, among other things, to support businesses in small towns and rural areas.
For example, in 2010 about two dozens of small businesses in small towns and villages got loans from the Regional Employment Fund. This year four companies have been granted such loans to a total of Br300 million.
In the first half of 2011, 2,314 businesses in Vitebsk Oblast were operating in agro-towns. During that period, they paid a total of around Br20 billion in taxes and duties, nearly one percent of the Vitebsk Oblast’s total revenues. The majority of small businesses in agro-towns (30.3%) are engaged in trade; 291 businesses work in agriculture and the forestry industry (12.6%); 117 companies work in construction (5%); 166 companies provide transport services (7.2%). Most businesses and individual entrepreneurs operate in Vitebsk District (26%), Postavy District (7%), and Dokshitsy District (6%).
Speaking about the number of individual entrepreneurs as against the total population of an administrative unit, there are 27 of them per 1,000 people in Postavy District, 25 in Lepel District, 7 in Senno District, and 8 in Miory and Dubrovno Districts each.
Business growth in this or that district reflects the enabling business environment there, said Valentin Tsvetkov, head of the entrepreneurship directorate at the economic committee of the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee.
In order to explore the unoccupied market niches, specialists at the Vitebsk Oblast marketing center have teamed up with academics from Vitebsk State Technological University as part of the local small business support initiative to carry out a market study to see the potential of the rural areas. “Wishing to start their own business, entrepreneurs usually ask the same
questions: What to do and how. Our study helps answer these questions by looking at the results of the polls, companies’ profit-andloss statements, taking into consideration the availability of natural resources and the level of expertise of the hired workforce available for small business owners,” Valentin Tsvetkov explained.
As a result of the study, the poll team compiled a list of services and products currently in demand in each of the twenty-one districts of the oblast. One of such services is production of import-substituting goods, including the processing of agricultural goods, and the processing facilities should run on local fuels. Other promising lines of business for the local budding entrepreneurs could be opening a hotel, providing transportation services, entertainment, sport and recuperation services and renting things out. Other areas where small businesses are welcome are household services, agriculture, road services, and others.
Agroecotourism, for instance, is regarded as a promising line of business in Vitebsk Oblast. Other lucrative areas could be road services, travel, entertainment and animation services, trade and household services, retrieval of secondary raw materials. In Senno District you could make a profit by opening a private health and recuperation center, or by extracting and processing sapropel.
According to Valentin Tsvetkov, the poll team went beyond a simple search for the types of business that could bring profit. Actually, they went as far as designing 11 business plans. Among these were how to organize a production of fuel briquettes, set up a hog breeding business, create bee gardens (apiaries), organize a road services business, and others. According to economists’ calculations, an owner of an egg-laying hen production business could break it even almost during the first month of his work; his monthly net profit could be around Br1.2 million, and a return on sales in excess of 26%.
The results of this marketing study were translated into recommendations which were subsequently published in the form of brochures, one brochure with rec- ommendations for each district. The information about the results of the study was sent to the local executive committees in the regions so that it could be made available for the general public. The brochures also contain small business success stories and ideas on how to write business plans.
The local authorities welcome cooperation with businesses who implement innovative technologies into their production. For example, the Ushachi District Executive Committee gave an idle spinning shop building of what used to be a household services center to a business free of charge and issued a loan to this business. As a result, the company started an importsubstituting business and created jobs for 15 residents of this small town.
According to Valentin Tsvetkov, such examples abound. There is a vibrant and fruitful collaboration going on between local authorities and small businesses across the country. It may not always be as smooth as you may want to, but both sides are open to dialogue which is a key to success.
Wood veneer baskets are now manufactured by
Foresthandal, Ushachi, Vitebsk Oblast. The products are popular not only in Belarus, but far beyond its borders.
The baskets are exported to Russia, Austria, Germany and many other
A new company to make sewing accessories has opened in the town of Dubrovno, Vitebsk Oblast. Antinea-prime specializes in the production of shoulder pads and sleeve heads for all types of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, as well and mannequins for designing, sewing and trying on clothes and their demonstration. The company created 40 new jobs in Dubrovno. Pictured are seamstress Marina Moiseyenko, rate setter Svetlana Chevis and seamstress Galina Streltsova