Finding your business idea, creating a team, building relationships with partners, calculating risks, and maintaining motivation for entrepreneurship was taught at the Innovative Business School “Investment Business School” in Zaporizhzhia within the initiative of PLEDDG’s SME Fund Initiative.

“At the beginning of spring, more than 5,000 participants submitted their ideas to the Investment Business School,” said Artur Harlslian, project initiator and chairman of the “Innovatsiyi ta investytsiyi” NGO, “the vast majority are digital projects. We have flexibly adapted to the conditions of training during a pandemic, online workshops on entrepreneurship were conducted by top experts. On August 29 and 30, we conducted a 2-day intensive in Berdyansk for the 20 teams that had prepared their ideas the best. Participants presented their business plans, and the three best projects were determined by the jury composed of successful entrepreneurs of the region and PLEDDG experts. The competition was very lively, and it is important that even those participants who were not among the three winners are going to continue the work they started.”

One of the components of the evaluation was the social focus of the initiative, so the top three business projects included: an online foreign language school, a mobile application for working with bloggers, and a marketing agency employing people with disabilities. The author of the latter, Alla Murizidi, who uses a wheelchair, shared her impressions of participating in the training and her project’s victory:

“Organization, lectures, and speakers were all top-notch. I’ve improved my knowledge in many areas. The theoretical material was supported by on-hand examples. Lots of useful, practical tips and insights that I’m going to use. I plan to open an offline inclusive marketing agency. Until I receive the investment, I will continue to develop my business online and will soon start recruiting team members from people with disabilities.”

The next step for the winning projects is their direct implementation and that of their ideas in practice. The selected projects are provided with investment for development in the amount of 30 thousand dollars.

In the framework of the SME Fund, PLEDDG supports innovative entrepreneurship since this area can bolster the potential of the economic and social development of the city, as well as youth employment. This is especially important in times of global crisis, when flexible adaptation to new conditions, social orientation, and creative ideas become the driver of success.