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8 Jun 2020

Cluster, socially significant initiatives in Belarus to get support under EU/UNDP project

Cluster, socially significant initiatives in Belarus to get support under EU/UNDP project
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MINSK, 8 June (BelTA) - The European Union and the UNDP in partnership with the Economy Ministry of Belarus will support cluster and socially significant initiatives in 12 districts of the country, BelTA learned from the press service of the UNDP Office in Belarus.

Those wishing to develop entrepreneurship are invited to participate in the contest of initiatives under the project “Support to Economic Development at the Local Level in the Republic of Belarus”. Financial support will be provided in two areas - cluster initiatives and socially significant initiatives.

The former means the organization of joint activities of territorially localized legal entities and individuals with the intention of creating a cluster, which aims to develop and strengthen the competitiveness of its participants. A socially significant initiative is a set of measures to support business initiatives in addressing any social problem, developing inclusion or expanding support for socially vulnerable groups.

The pilot regions are Bereza District and Kobrin District of Brest Oblast, Braslav District and Orsha District of Vitebsk Oblast, Bragin District, Zhlobin District and Khoiniki District of Gomel Oblast, Lida District of Grodno Oblast, Borisov District and Molodechno District of Minsk Oblast, Bykhov District and Klichev District of Mogilev Oblast.

Applications are open online from 5 June to 31 July 2020 inclusively on the website (https://www.prospring.by/). Some $1.44 million will be allocated to support the best cluster initiatives. The budget for enterprises aimed at solving socially important problems will amount to $1.8 million.

“We would like to support initiatives that have economic, social and environmental effects. Business ideas should be relevant to the territory where they are planned to be implemented. They need to be sustainable, realistic and innovative. We hope that the proposed support will contribute to the recovery of the regional economy in the current difficult epidemiological situation,” explained the Director of the Entrepreneurship Department of the Economy Ministry Irina Babachenok. Head of the European Union's Delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel expressed hope that the financing of the initiatives would not only help to overcome social and economic consequences of the pandemic but would also help solve long-term problems of the most vulnerable groups of society and SMEs which are the basis of the economy.

“The initiatives participating in the contest should be aimed at solving specific tasks of regional development of Belarus. They should promote local sustainable economic growth, decent work opportunities, gender equality, digitalization and innovation. We expect applicants to adopt non-standard approaches to addressing development challenges using new methods, ideas and products,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus Alexandra Solovieva.

According to Nadezhda Sinelnik, PR specialist of the project, the project "Support to Economic Development at the Local Level in the Republic of Belarus" is financed by the European Union and has been implemented by the UNDP in partnership with the Economy Ministry since 1 February 2019. It will run through 31 January 2022. In 2019, the project held a competition for initiatives aimed at developing infrastructure to promote entrepreneurship (with the budget of $1.32 million). The winners were 11 initiatives in the pilot areas of the project. These are entrepreneurship support centers and business incubators. Implementation of these initiatives will help local businesses respond more effectively to changes in economic conditions caused by emergencies, as in the case of COVID-19. In addition, new initiatives will help create jobs, increase business sustainability and increase the number of small and medium-sized enterprises.

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