Boosting exports by local producers is one of the crucial strategic objectives of economic development in Poltava. Throughout 2020 the City Development Institute, a local organization, began implementing a key initiative aimed at building the capacity of Poltava business owners to expand to foreign markets and adapt their products to the requirements of importing countries. This initiative was supported by the International Technical Assistance Project: “Partnership for Local Economic Development and Democratic Governance” (PLEDDG). More than two dozen businesses in three sectors (food, mechanical engineering, and light industries) have joined the project. Stage one of the initiative involved training activities, some of which were held offline ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the course of trainings and workshops, participants received a step-by-step introduction to export operations, learned approaches to scanning export markets and their potential, learned to assess untapped resources of their companies, and identified consumers for whom they could offer the most value in the form of their goods or services. They also learned about product requirements and the need to adapt products prior to European market entry, studied the primary product certification, branding, and packaging approaches. Every participant had a key task for formulating a unique product offering for a specific foreign market. The participants received extensive online feedback on their progress from lecturer Halyna Perepelytsia, an independent expert on international trade and EU exports consultant.
One of the strongest participants was Konsort, a manufacturer of equipment for automation of production process flows: sorting systems, production lines, conveyors, calibrators, industrial washers, weighing equipment, warehousing appliances, and the like.
“Konsort has been in the market for 14 years now. The enterprise currently has 22 of its own service locations across Ukraine and 17 international offices. We are exporting products to Poland, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Baltic states, Germany, Sweden, and Italy. Despite this long list of countries, exports are still not happening at the volume and level we would like to achieve. The desire to expand our sales markets made us join the project. The training activities were very interesting: the lecturer presented information in a structured and consistent manner and explained the smallest of details.
I prepared commercial proposals for several types of equipment manufactured by Konsort. Thanks to helpful comments and tips I was able to greatly improve our product offering for international customers. Since we are an active exporter, we drafted similar documents in the past. However, the training enabled us to develop competencies in this area, update the format of presentations, and revise our approaches to communicating product strengths. We will surely put the newly acquired skills to good use as soon as the pandemic lets up and we can develop our exports to the fullest,” says Alina Mostova, Sales Manager at Konsort.
Another project participant is the Poltava-based enterprise Endorfine: a family business of Oksana Kamaletdinova and her husband Roman, who have been producing craft jams for 5 years now. Endorfine products are currently sold within Ukraine only, but the company founders are determined to conquer the international market.
The initiative involved launching a promotional video that showcases the operations and export potential of five Poltava-based businesses: Poltava Diamond Tools, Konsort, Kozub-Product, Pichkar, and Endorfine. Preparations are ongoing for an expo of exporting producers to be unveiled in January at the premises of Poltava City Hall or the City Development Institute. It will become a major image-building event for entrepreneurs as a permanent venue where they can demonstrate their production capabilities in the form of high-quality promotional materials or even certain products, such as cookies or jam. The Best Exporting Entrepreneur of the Year contest is also planned for January 2021, which is open to all small- and medium-sized businesses in Poltava.
Without a doubt, local producers will continue to receive support in their expansion to foreign markets. Implemented under the auspices of PLEDDG, the initiative became a crucial step in the process of building the competencies and capacity of Poltava-based entrepreneurs. The newly acquired skills and ongoing active cooperation with the City Development Institute, the Poltava Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Department of Economics and Investments at Poltava City Hall will help local businesses grow their exports gradually, which will, in turn, translate into new jobs and economic growth for Ukraine’s regions.
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