Around 100 people gathered in Sumy on 7 December for an EU4Business Forum on the ‘Benefits of European Integration for Enterprises and Organisations of the Sumy Region’. Participants included representatives of SMEs, NGOs and experts. The forum was organised within the framework of the EBRD programme for business support centres in Ukraine, and was funded within the framework of the EU4Business initiative of the European Union.
"This is the free movement of goods, services of capital, i.e. money across the border of Ukraine with the EU, but this is not a barrier-free movement. In order to sell their goods or services on the territory of the EU, it is necessary to meet the requirements of the EU, and this is a very big job for the Ukrainian business. First of all, you need to be open and financially clean, financially transparent, this is a challenge for Ukrainian business,” said the Ukrainian coordinator of the EU-Ukrainian Civil Society Platform Tetyana Tymoshenko. Pointing to the financial support provided by the EU, she added: “There is money, there are resources, and our task is to demand that money and direct this money to our needs."
The moderator of the forum and coordinator of the business support centre in Sumy, Yuriy Petrushenko, said: "There was a paradoxical situation, when on the one hand we showed to Europe that we are striving for the EU, but we seem to have little opportunity, we are not using even those opportunities that the EU offers today. This is especially true for the development of small and medium-sized businesses. The EU programmes, including funding programmes, grant assistance programmes for consulting, are not being used enough by Ukrainian entrepreneurs, and therefore we devoted this forum to inform businesses first."
Forum participant Sergey Filonenko said he had learned a lot: "The answer I received for myself today - it turns out that you can get grants not only for NGOs, but also for a small businesses. I think even the small businessman is curious about how to enter the European market, to comply with European standards. Searching for yourself on the Internet, as we are usually do, is difficult and time consuming, and here we received a good summary.”
The Sumy Business Support Centre is part of the EU-funded Network of Business Support Centres, which aims to improve the competitiveness and bankability of Ukrainian SMEs through the provision of business advice and capacity building. It also supports BSOs in 15 regions of Ukraine in setting up a network of EU4Business Business Support Centres (BSCs). At least 30,000 SMEs and entrepreneurs will benefit from the project.