EC Tacis project “SME support services in priority regions”, implemented by the consortium including EPRD, set up “Virtual Market” electronic internet-based business information and development tool for Ukrainian SMEs.
This tool, which has been successfully piloted in EU Member States, will enable Ukrainian SMEs to identify on-line professional support services, business education programmes and business opportunities in Ukraine and abroad. The “Virtual Market” is now available on the website <u><a href=http://vm.ukraineinform.org.ua>vm.ukraineinform.org.ua</a></u>.
“Virtual Market” consists of the following independent though interlinked business service market components that will be of use to businesses, business service providers, consultants and many other organisations and individuals involved in developing small and medium sized business in Ukraine:
1) Directory of Business Service Providers (portfolios of Ukrainian business support organisations,
2) An access to Finance Directory (a directory of Ukrainian banks, leasing organisations, investment funds that offer financial services to local businesses).
3) An SME Benchmarking tool (business self-assessment tool that allows Ukrainian businesses to assess themselves through a questionnaire against average values obtained by European companies in a wide range of business aspects such as marketing, management, production, sales).
4) Business and Investment Opportunities Directory (a database that will allow local businesses to post business and investment opportunities while domestic and foreign business potential partners will be able to identify these opportunities posted on the “Virtual Market” through a number of customer-friendly search functions).
Both Mr Philip Santens (project team leader) and Mr Olexiy Demchenko (project MIS expert) underline assets of the tool and are listing major benefits of “Virtual Market” which is easy to use, safe for users, free of charge with the possibility to add new instruments of business development, e.g. business and investment opportunities (which is the next tool to follow).