Time for Ac­tion

The lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in Vitebsk Oblast have stud­ied the de­mand of the lo­cal peo­ple for ser­vices and prod­ucts

Economy of Belarus - - CONTENTS - Diana KURIlO

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.

Sci­ence-based Ap­proach

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

coun­tries.

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

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