Since the spring of 2018, the UNDP “Small Towns” project has launched a series of seminars on the basics of entrepreneurship. Trainings are held for those residents of small and medium-sized cities of Viciebsk and Mahilioŭ region who are just thinking or already preparing to start their own business.

"Our trainers are considering principal issues about choosing a business idea, defining the market and promoting the goods, finding partners and financing for business," says Marina Kalinouskaya, the Project manager of the "Small Towns" project. "We are also covering the latest changes in the legislation for entrepreneurs."

According to Marina, the trainings are attended by the unemployed, or young people who have jobs but want to start their own business, pensioners, women on maternity leave or after maternity leave. Businessmen also join the trainings to learn about current trends and get clarification on the changes in legislation. Representatives of local executive committees also take part in the seminars to further share this knowledge with interested residents of their city.

"Most of the trainings’ participants are start-uppers, or novice entrepreneurs who need to get knowledge to choose the best way to organize their business," says Leonid Shur, director of the Vitebsk Business Center (center for entrepreneurship support), trainer of seminars in Viciebsk region. "We talk about existing opportunities, both legal and market, analyze strengths and weaknesses to determine the right business strategies."

According to Leonid, people have various levels of knowledge, and trainings help to assess financial and marketing literacy, identify immediate competencies – what a person capable of, based on what skills he/she can build business, whether he/she has the necessary connections and resources for that, etc.

"Excellent seminar, excellent organization of the event," Sergey Levkovich, experienced entrepreneur, the owner of a cafe in Lepel, shares. – “Such trainings should be conducted more often among the citizens. There are a lot of people who want to change their lives. But their literacy in terms of some foundations of entrepreneurship is very low. They do not know what they really can do for themselves and country. "

It is difficult to give a lot of information during one day of training. And there is no need in that, as according to Sergei, all the basic information for a novice entrepreneur was provided.

"Such seminars give a very good push, especially for people who are almost ready to act independently but still cannot decide. You start to understand that you are not alone, that there is a certain support, and there is a big chance to succeed. At least, I'm leaving with just such a feeling, " Sergei points out.

Svetlana Cherikova, a craftsman from Lepel, continues his thoughts. She also believes that people in a small town do not know their opportunities at all, whether it concerns any services or handicraft activity - all that it is possible to be engaged in just on the declarative principle. No doubt it is real to develop a small business to help your family, your city.

"The main thing is the person's desire, as some support from the local authorities, some business structures can always be found," Svetlana believes. “Since the first year of the law on craftsmanship adoption, I started my activity in this field. I pay the tax, sell my souvenirs and I feel safe. Yes, you must be proactive, you must look for your own niche, but this is all real. And for a small region, a small city, it's really a problem that people do not dare because they simply do not know about their opportunities. From this point of view, such trainings are very useful!”

Seminars on the basics of entrepreneurship have been already held in small towns of the Viciebsk region - Baran, Haradok, Liozna, Hlybokaje, Liepieĺ.

Upon completion of the training, the participants received certificates and a manual "Small Business with a Result" for further work on their business idea.

In March and April 2018, the trainings will be held in the cities of Horki, Bialyničy, Škloŭ, Kruhlaje, Kryčaŭ, Polack, Čavusy, Čerykaŭ, Mscislaŭ with the participation of several trainers. The schedule and theme of the seminars will be supplemented.

"After our trainings, I would like the participants to take away some of the main thoughts," Leonid Shur summarizes, the seminar trainer in the Viciebsk region. – “First, there are opportunities for business in Belarus, you can do business and it is profitable; secondly, to be a successful entrepreneur, one must not only do his job well but influence the external environment; and third, we must constantly learn. "

The trainings are organized by the project “Promotion of employment and self-employment of the population in small and medium-sized towns of Belarus” that is implemented by UNDP and Ministry of Economy of Belarus and financed by the Russian Federation.

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