Over 70 small businesses get UNDP support in eastern Ukraine in 2017

Feb 26, 2018

Serhiy Gakov won a UNDP grant to expand his business and to produce prosthetic devices in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast Photo: by UNDP / Atrem Getman

The winners of UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Business Grants Contest have received up to USD 10,000 to launch, recover or develop their businesses. During the winter 2017-2018, they signed grant contracts in Severodonetsk, Kramatorsk and Mariupol.

In 2017, UNDP in Ukraine launched a Business Grants Contest for internally displaced people (IDPs) and local residents in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The grant programme was designed to support the launch, recovery or development of small and medium businesses. Applications had to demonstrate a high level of quality, have long-term prospects to generate income, be based on realistic market indicators, and foresee the creation of new employment opportunities and jobs. The sizes of the business grants ranged from USD 3,000 to USD 10,000, depending on the number of jobs created.

Some 2,000 people submitted applications for the contest in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. UNDP supported 72 businesses in the two regions that created nearly 220 jobs. The overall amount of grant support provided in the contest was around USD 500,000.

The variety of fields and locations covered by the contest winners is impressive. Some of the most interesting and promising business initiatives supported by UNDP included producing 3D printers, medical and psychological centres, web design studios, advertising agencies, architectural firms and an eco-café. Twelve businesses were supported in the areas close to the contact line: in Shchastia, Popasna, Stanytsia Luhanska, Hirske, Zolote, Krasnohorivka, Toretsk and Avdiivka.

“My business idea is to provide Ukrainians with good-quality and affordable prosthetic devices, said Serhiy Gakov, the owner of a 3D-printer production firm in Kramatorsk, who won a UNDP grant. “This can be achieved thanks to innovative manufacturing technology. People just need to come to our office, scan their limbs on a 3D scanner, and within 3-4 days we can make a prosthetic device using a 3D-printer.”

In 2015-2017, some 3,250 new jobs were created in Ukraine with the support of UNDP and the governments of Japan, Poland, the UK and the Czech Republic. Some 1,400 of them are in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. 620 SMEs were supported through business grants programme. Another 60 organizations and enterprises were supported through co-financing of up to 67% of their wage bill, or through the purchase of equipment and tools.

“We noticed that the quality and quantity of grant applications have significantly increased,” said Mustafa Sait-Ametov, UNDP Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme Coordinator. “We’re especially happy to see that people are more and more ready to run a business in the areas close to the line of contact. People out there recover greenhouses, open family cafes, bakeries, beauty salons and other interesting businesses. It means that they believe in the region’s development and its future prosperity.”

Business grant contest evaluation process

All applications were divided into three geographical pools – northern Donetsk Oblast, southern Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast. The applications were evaluated by three independent Evaluation Committees comprising representatives from various sectors. During October 2017, the Evaluation Committees held meetings with the applicants who made it through to the final stage of the contest – a personal presentation of their business plans. The meetings were held in Kramatorsk, Mariupol and Severodonetsk respectively for each applicants’ pool.  

Following the evaluation, a rating for each geographical pool was drawn up. Based on the rating, lists of grant awards, as well as waiting lists, were determined for each territorial pool. UNDP will search for additional funding opportunities for applicants currently on the waiting lists, and, if they are found, may support these business plans without holding an additional competition. 

This Business Grants Contest 2017/2018 is implemented by UNDP with the financial support from the governments of Poland and Japan.

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