The idea to form a union of SME exporters emerged during the development of guidelines and other documents on SME development in 16 partner cities of PLEDDG Project. To that end, a working group consisting of representatives from the business community and local council was set up. The creation of a Union of SME Exporters was fully supported by PLEDDG Project.

The founding conference gathered representatives of Ukrainian SMEs, export development organizations, in particular Export Promotion Office at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, the Chamber of Commerce of Ukraine, Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce, Deloitte Export Hub, representatives of local government etc.

Participants set out the main priorities of the Union’s activity and discussed existing possibilities for export development in Ukraine, in particular those based on free trade between Ukraine and Canada. The conference ended with an award ceremony for participants in a city contest “Business idea for entrepreneurs”, the contest held in Horishni Plavni among school children every year.

Following the conference a round table dedicated to export promotion of SMEs was held, during which participants discussed their cooperation with PLEDDG Project regarding export promotion of SMEs in PLEDDG partner cities as well as shared experience of Ukrainian enterprises’ activity on foreign markets.

Valeriy Kokot, Senior expert in business development of PLEDDG Project, presented PLEDDG’s activities with regard to SME export promotion in PLEDDG partner cities. Emma Turos, Executive Director of Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce, talked about the activities of Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Project CUTIS. Oleksandra Hrytsenok presented Export Promotion Office. Roman Drozd, the founder of a social enterprise in Poltava, shared his experience with establishing and running a social enterprise.

After the conference PLEDDG Project team visited industrial facilities of Ferrexpo, Poltava mining and refining facility, which is the biggest Ukrainian exporter of iron-ore pellets to Europe.