Voronezh Mentoring Experience - an Example for Other Regions
Young individuals started their businesses in a variety of areas – 11 projects are under way in services, 5 – in trade, 4 entrepreneurs are in manufacturing and 3 are in agribusiness.
Sergey Sumenko, Department Head, Entrepreneurship and Consumer Market Development of the Voronezh Region welcomed the attendees on behalf of Alexander Ganov, Deputy Chairman of the Voronezh Regional Government. He officially reiterated that the regional government would continue to provide all-round support to youth business facilitation in the region and wished the programme’s participants success in their work.
“The Voronezh Region intends to take a variety of actions in support of small businesses and I urge all young entrepreneurs participating in the YBR Programme to get involved in them,” said Sergey Sumenko.
Boris Tkachenko, Head of Branch Office in Russia, International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and Youth Business Russia Programme Manager thanked all those who participated in the programme implementation during the year: “Young businessmen have created jobs not only for themselves but for dozens of other people. It is been a pleasure to meet with young individuals at the Selection Panels during the year, run workshops and have personal interaction with them.”
Yuri Lavlinsky, General Director, Voronezh Regional Fund for Small Business Support, presented the output of the loan component of the programme. 10 Selection Panels held during the elapsed year provided assistance to 23 business projects. A big part of young businessmen live in various districts of the Voronezh Region. “In my opinion, young entrepreneurs who take out loans feel responsible and they are result-oriented and more focused on their business” emphasized Yuri Lavlinsky.
Irina Gorelova, Voronezh Region Coordinator of the Youth Business Russia Programme noted: “Young entrepreneurs view mentoring as, perhaps, the most valuable component of the YBR Programme. Its participants with business projects approved at the Selection Panel attend workshops on ABC of entrepreneurship where trainers with substantial practical experience teach them how to avoid mistakes at business start-up stages and to take the right decisions to achieve business objectives”.
In his presentation, Yuri Segal, General Director of OOO PROK and a youth enterprise mentor, specified that the mentor’s role is “to provide assistance in defining the direction for business growth, discuss ideas and emerging challenges and offer examples relevant to the topic.”
I am very lucky in that my mentees are talented and decent young individuals with life experience and, most importantly, they embrace moral and ethical norms, they have come to understand many things in life on their own.”
Young entrepreneur Denis Chenykh believes that he and his business partner have been very lucky in that they have an excellent mentor – Yuri Segal, who helps them to make the right decisions. Thanks to his assistance, they have expanded their trade contacts and are now facing entirely new business growth prospects which they could not have imagined earlier.
Auriol Miller, Country Director, Oxfam GB in the Russian Federation noted that “Oxfam is proud to be one of a diverse mix of public, private and voluntary sector organisations working, with individual mentors, to support young entrepreneurs in Voronezh and Kaluga. We look forward to both seeing the businesses themselves grow and to seeing their contribution to the local community increase.”
“I want to specially mention the fact that a big team of partners representing government bodies, educational establishments, commercial and not-for-profit organizations participate in the Project’s implementation. The mechanism of cooperation at the Selection Panel and the Supervisory Board of the Programme may be replicated in other areas. A transfer of expertise from seasoned businessmen to start-ups is a recipe for success. This should be acknowledged as the Project’s big achievement,” said Elena Trakhtenberg, Sustainability Manager, the Royal Bank of Scotland (ZAO).
Evgeny Kopayev, Director of The Swiss Foundation for the Support of Economic Reforms and a member of Selection Panel member made the following recommendation with a view to enhance work under the Programme; “We should delegate the Programme’s implementation in the rural areas of the Voronezh Region to the municipal funds in the districts and make arrangements for accountants of the Business Facilitation Centres to provide consultations on the regular basis to the young entrepreneurs participating in the YBR Programme.”
Irina Babushkina, Manager, Finance Department, Voronezh Regional Fund for Small Business Support, a coordinator for the Programme’s loans was pleased to point out that “in our challenging time there are still young individuals with shining eyes who have a clear-cut position in life with respect to crafting their own future and they, among other, perceive themselves as entrepreneurs.”
The event, arranged in the framework of the Entrepreneurs Day, was dedicated to the one-year anniversary of the Youth Business Russia Programme implementation in the Voronezh Region.