Kyiv, November 24, 2015. “Based on the data by the Luhansk civil-military administration around 2,5 thousand internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region require employment. This problem can be resolved by attracting investment for development of small- and middle-sized business in Luhansk region both from the state and from international development organizations,” said spokesman of UCMC’s pilot project “Spokesman of peaceful life” Valentyn Pugachov. Speaking at a press briefing via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center Yelyzaveta Pushko-Tsybulyak, first deputy head of the Luhansk regional civil-military administration said that small and middle- sized business is the sector in which the IPDs can be engaged. However, number of economic operators in the region is decreasing. “There were 20 thousand small and middle- sized business operators in the beginning of the year. Their number has decreased over the year by 15 percent on average,” she said.
Current problems business is facing include lack of startup capital, discrepancies between supply and demand in terms of staffing – big supply of lawyers and economists versus technical specialists in demand. Another problem is that the funds to support entrepreneurship. The agencies that used to attract investment as well as municipal entities that used to deal with problems of small and middle- sized business remain on the temporary occupied territories, noted the first deputy head of the Luhansk military-civilian administration.
Pushko-Tsybulyak said that the regional program was developed to attract investment, develop and support small and middle- sized business. “Classic offers include the budget support – starting capital to set up own business, partial repayment of loans or of the rate on credit money, legal support […],” said Pushko-Tsybulyak. Moreover, it is planned to set up an agency for attracting investment and an investment fund.
Funds of international organizations are being used to set up small businesses in Luhansk region. “The project we are now implementing provides USD 400 000 in small grants for such social groups as IDPs, host families and residents of frontline towns. We have allocated over 200 of such grants that in total account for USD 100 000 to recipients in almost all government-controlled districts and towns,” said Brian Milakovsky, Communications Coordinator at the international charity organization Mercy Corps. He said these people often come from big cities where they used to work in large companies or in coal mines, so it is a bit difficult for them to start their own business from scratch. Before they apply for grants they undergo a special training and consultations program that gives tips on how to write a business plan, calculate expenses, and assess competition etc. in order to “find their niche in the local economy”. Milakovsky made some examples of businesses that have already been set up – agricultural business, sewing and selling of patriotic clothing, opening a small medical facility with an ultrasound system.