During the project launch event held in Braslav the other day representatives of local authorities, small and medium-sized businesses, public organizations, and active citizens suggested the focus areas for the project, Lyudmila Sokolovskaya said.
“The ideas that were voiced are still very raw and will be discussed further. For example, the idea was voiced to implement the Braslav Sport Smart City project to increase the length of the tourism season in Braslav and extend the range of leisure services, Lyudmila Sokolovskaya said. Lyudmila Sokolovskaya recalled that the contest has been launched in twelve pilot districts that differ in the level of social and economic development: Braslav and Orsha (Vitebsk Oblast), Bykhov and Khotimsk (Mogilev Oblast), Bragin and Khoiniki, Zhlobin (Gomel Oblast), Kobryn and Bereza (Brest Oblast), Lida (Grodno Oblast), Molodechno and Borisov (Minsk Oblast).“A lot of work is ahead. By the end of the year the districts are expected to work out their SMEs development plans. The focus should be on setting up new companies, increasing self-employment, creating new jobs,” the head of the project said. In her words, funds are not envisaged at this stage of the contest. Initiatives included to the regional SMEs development plans will get additional advantage in the contests for financial support within the project. These are the contests to support business incubators with the total indicative budget of $1.2 million, promote startups and cluster initiatives with the total indicative budget of $4.165 million, support organizations that are interested in supplying microfinance services (the total indicative budget of $360,000), and also companies set to address socially important issues (the total indicative budget of $1.8 million). The project of international technical assistance “Support to Economic Development at the Local Level in the Republic of Belarus” was registered by the Economy Ministry in January 2019. The project is financed by the European Union and is implemented by the UNDP jointly with the ministry. The implementation period is 36 months: from 1 February 2019 to 31 January 2022. The project supports different forms of economic initiative, competitive ability, innovative activity for inclusive development at the local level and envisages a comprehensive approach to develop entrepreneurship, private business in the Belarusian regions. The competition is open to individuals and legal entities ready to implement their ideas on the territory of these regions. Applications are open through 30 June.