A new digital platform was launched earlier this month to provide Ukrainian SMEs with information on a variety of business topics – including trainings, events, advisory opportunities, knowledge tools and other relevant data, as reported by the EBRD.
Dubbed ‘Merezha’ (‘chain’ in English) will also bring together the providers and the seekers of development opportunities.
- Ukrainian SMEs will be able to register online and have instant access to registered experts, case studies, business solutions library and useful data necessary for their planning and development activity.
- Experts and business support organisations (BSOs) planning to provide services to SMEs via the platform will have to submit case studies of successfully implemented projects, the description of their services and other relevant information. Ukrainian businesses will be able to select the right experts for their purposes applying necessary filters and browsing through the database of registered consultants.
- The platform will offer an “Ask the Expert” section, which will streamline the communication between experts and SMEs seeking support and advice. There will be a special analytical tool open to all users designed to monitor typical business problems and their solutions patterns, which among other things, will help develop new SME support products.
In a further development stage next year, the registration will be made available to other market players including business associations, accelerators, grants providers and others.
Supported by the EBRD and the EU under the EU4Business initiative, Merezha is implemented in coordination with the Ukrainian authorities. Its stated goal is to “make the market of business services more transparent” while bringing the existing SME-oriented EBRD and EU initiatives to “a new level in terms of relevance and efficiency.”
Under plans, the platform will attract up to 30,000 visitors monthly.
The EBRD is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine. To date, the Bank has made a cumulative commitment of more than €12.1 billion across some 400 projects since the start of its operations in the country in 1993. A part of this effort goes to tech projects. For example last year the bank, together with the EU, backed a variety of Ukrainian clean energy projects.
The EBRD is calling for more international investment in the countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership – which include Ukraine along with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova. EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti believes Ukraine is pursuing a wide-ranging reform agenda, “with the aim of reinventing itself as a modern, democratic European state,” as he stated at an international summit in November.