Western NIS Enterprise Fund invested $10 M in Transformation Programs for Ukraine since 2015

KYIV — September 07, 2016

Western NIS Enterprise Fund has presented the results of its work for the past 18 months. The Fund has been implementing the $35 million legacy program, focused on assisting Ukraine and Moldova, since 2015. This covers four areas: Export Promotion, Local Economic Development, Impact Investing and Economic Leadership. Around 20 projects and programs promoting qualitative social change at various levels have already received a total of $10 million in financial assistance.

Among other programs, Western NIS Enterprise Fund provided the initial funding to develop the ProZorro public e-procurement system, which has already saved UAH 3 billion in state money. The Fund has promoted access to international markets for about 70 Ukrainian manufacturers, founded five Ukrainian Leadership Academies that enrolled over 200 secondary school graduates in 2016, and cooperated with banks to launch a low-interest loan mechanism for social enterprises.

“The Fund will continue to support projects that foster reforms and meet the needs of our country and society. We plan to work with Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine to develop an export promotion policy for Ukraine. We are also going to provide support to at least 200 exporters and at least 100 social enterprises, as well as strongly influence the development of startup-ecosystems in Ukraine and Moldova. We hope to create over 30,000 new working places in Ukraine. It is important for us to aid initiatives that are not only driving change locally, but also provide an example or encourage systemic transformations within the country,” commented Jaroslawa Z. Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western NIS Enterprise Fund.

By 2018, Western NIS Enterprise Fund plans to launch 15 Leadership Academies in different regions of Ukraine and to create six 1991 Open Data Incubators in Ukraine and Moldova.

Western NIS Enterprise Fund implements its legacy program through four separate programs.

The Export Promotion Policy program, run by Western NIS Enterprise Fund, has supported over 70 Ukrainian manufacturers, small and medium enterprises, by helping them to participate in international trade fairs. In turn, they have been able to find new partners and reach international markets. For example, the Fashion House RITO exhibited at the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair and secured contracts with new partners from Denmark and Lithuania. In addition, the Fund is working to develop the National Export Strategy, cooperates with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT), and maintains the Export Promotion Office, which advised on the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement and organized the first ever US-Ukraine business forum.

The Local Economic Development program, run by Western NIS Enterprise Fund, aims to support people willing to produce change locally and initiatives that can be repeated in all regions of Ukraine. In particular, the Fund has been supporting the School of Mayors, a public management educational program for local leaders. The Fund supports Mykolaiv Development Agency. It funded the establishment of the first 1991 Open Data Incubator in Ukraine. Representatives from two (of 14) projects from the first round are taking part in the DMZ Fellowship Program at Ryerson University (Toronto). Upcoming steps include launching two university incubators and a city incubator, and also to expand the program to Moldova.

Western NIS Enterprise Fund is also helping to resolve social problems, and providing assistance to overcome the consequences of war. The Fund has contributed to the reconstruction of four schools in areas of Ukraine affected by the war, ultimately aiding over 320 students.

In supporting decentralization, the Fund is helping to create successful stories. The Fund has been maintaining 24 hub schools, one in each region, which will serve as examples of a new approach to school education. In addition, the Fund also financed CANactions School of Urban Studies and provided grants for seven alumni projects in different cities of Ukraine.

The Impact Investing Program, run by the Fund, supports social enterprises that allocate part of their profits for the purposes of helping socially vulnerable citizens. In cooperation with banks, the Fund launched a 5% low-interest loan mechanism for social enterprises. A pilot project of this program is the “Horikhovyi Dim” bakery (Lviv), which employs women suffering due to difficult life conditions. This bakery received a UAH 700,000  low-interest loan to extend and open a social canteen in Lviv. The Fund also developed and introduced courses in social entrepreneurship at the Lviv Business School and the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

The Economic Leadership program meets the need of Ukrainian society and economy in the new kind of leaders, competent managers for public, private and civic sectors. The Fund implements educational projects that provide learning programs for different target audiences, ranging from school graduates to the CEOs of major companies. The first Ukrainian Leadership Academy, founded in 2015 in Kyiv, has already prepared 39 graduates. This academic year will see the launch of four more Academies in four new regions: Lviv, Kharkiv, Myrhorod, and Mykolaiv. Over 200 students have already been enrolled.

The SEED Grant program enables Ukrainians to gain business education abroad. In 2015-2016, the Fund financed Ukrainian students’ tuition at top universities in the USA and the UK in the total amount of over $1 million. By the end of 2018, the Fund plans to allocate $5 million towards Ukrainians’ business education.

In addition, the Fund has maintained the Corporate Governance Program for the CEOs of major state companies, as well as the Youth Entrepreneurship Project, which allows Ukrainian startup developers to present their ideas in the Silicon Valley.