Companies are waking up to the potential of Belarus’ IT capability. Here are two examples of businesses making good use of Belarus’ skilled workforce and generous tax breaks.
Hewlett Packard has been doing business in Belarus since 1992 and now has a market leading position in the country, supplying the public sector including the National Library, and many of the republic’s leading banks.
The business signed a partnership agreement in 2003 to supply the country’s National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and in 2008 opened its first representative office in Belarus, following earlier moves into Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
The same year it launched an IT education programme with the Belarus State University and now has partnerships with more than 40 companies in the republic.
In recent years, HP’s earnings from the CIS grew four times more quickly than in Europe and the business is determined to meet the growing demand for IT from small and medium-sized businesses in Belarus as its enterprise sector develops.
EPAM is one of the world’s leading suppliers of outsourced software development and cites Belarus’ combination of high availability of skilled IT staff, accessible location, low operating costs, stability of staff tenure and the regulatory environment as key factors in its success.
The US-owned firm lists businesses such as Thompson Reuters, SAP, Oracle, Coca-Cola and the London Stock Exchange as clients and competes with firms in India, China and Latin America. It was a founder member of Minsk’s High Technology Park, where it has taken advantage of the significant tax incentives on offer.
As a resident of the Park, EPAM pays no corporate income tax and its employees enjoy the lowest personal taxes in the eastern European region. Today more than 40% of its 5,000 staff in Eastern Europe work in Belarus.
EPAM has seen growth in its Belarus, Hungary, Ukraine and Russian operations of more than 40 per cent a year since 2003, with Belarus having the highest growth.
Karl Robb, President of EPAM’s European operations, said: “The high quality and availability of IT skills, exceptional workforce stability, low operating costs and the excellent government support, makes Belarus the leader in Eastern Europe and an increasingly popular alternative to India and other Asian countries which offer scale but Belarus offers quality, productivity and value.
“The majority of our new clients in the last 2 years already had outsourcing operations in India and China but were looking to alternative locations where higher skill levels could provide consistent quality and increased productivity for the more challenging assignments.”