Local Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

What is the project about

The USAID “Local Entrepreneurship and Economic Development" Project, implemented by UNDP, is aimed at enhancing the role of small and medium business in the economy of the Brest and Hrodna regions. This aim is being achieved through supporting the development of micro-, small and medium enterprises (hereinafter – MSME), supporting organizations and other business entities in the sphere of ecotourism.

The project is implemented in the following areas:

  • forming recommendations to improve the legal framework in the ecotourism sector and methods of statistical accounting of business entities ecotourism activities and assessment of their contribution to the economic development of the territory;
  • development and publication of ecotourism development strategies for 17 pilot tourism destinations;
  • working out and publication of the manual on ecotourism business as well as the catalogue of supporting organizations for MSME;
  • funding local initiatives on sustainable development of the ecotourism business in the amount of USD 550,000;
  • education of business trainers on ecotourism from among the practitioners;
  • implementation of educational programs for MSMEs, including trainings on business dealing, the use of computer technologies, and foreign language courses;
  • organization of international and in-country study tours for MSMEs’ experience exchange;
  • conduct of trainings and press tours for journalists, promotional tours for travel companies, as well as the organization of international conferences for cross-boundary partnership promotion;
  • implementation of informational and educational campaign to raise public awareness about the proposals in the field of ecotourism;
  • elaboration of promotional materials and the use of marketing tools to advertise the pilot tourism destinations, and facilitation on their inclusion in electronic databases and GPS.

What we have accomplished so far

  • 17 pilot project territories were identified within the framework of the contest of tourism destinations in Brest and Grodno regions. Representatives of their initiative groups took part in strategic planning training and study tours to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Germany. As a result, the project supported the development and publication of development strategies for 17 tourism destinations.
  • Representatives of pilot destinations participated in study tours to Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Italy  where they got acquainted with the best agrotourism practices in Europe.
  • As a result of the contest of local initiatives, 35 applications were chosen. Two of them, “Events Belarus” and “Geographic information system of ecotourism development in Brest and Grodno regions” won funding in the amount of USD 50,000, the rest of the applications – up to USD 15,000.
  • The grant program resulted in the creation of new tourism routes and museums, improvement of tourism territories, collection of unique traditions and customs of Brest and Grodno regions.
  • In order to create favourable conditions for the development of ecotourism, the experts of the project prepared a number of suggestions to improve the corresponding regulations as well as statistical data collection methodology of tourist flow’s statistics based on the UNWTO approach. The methodology is currently being tested in pilot regions.
  • 18 business-trainers were trained among practicing specialists within the framework of the project and in 2014-2015 they conducted a series of trainings for MSMEs where over 900 agrotourism entities improved their competences in the sphere of business development. Apart from that, the project is implementing a series of educational activities for MSMEs devoted to the use of computer technologies and foreign languages (English and Polish).
  • Fundamental manual “Business in agro- and ecotourism” which so far has had no analogues in Belarus was published within the framework of the project. The manual includes practical materials related to the most topical issues of private business in agro- and ecotourism as well as hospitality. The best relevant international experience and valuable domestic practices were included into it. The manual combines minimum basic theoretical material and a wide range of topical case studies and business tasks. The authors of the manual have extensive practical and research experience in the sphere of agro- and ecotourism as well as hospitality and are business experts.
  • 40 journalists were able to improve their skills in the sphere of effective coverage of ecotourism business during training sessions for representatives of mass media. Over 90 representatives of mass media and travel companies participated in press and promotional tours to the project regions.
  • A range of nationwide activities (Crafts camp, Organic Party, Rural tourism school for young volunteers, open house days in farmsteads, etc.) were conducted within the framework of information and education campaign “Simple things” aimed at promoting ecotourism. A series of billboards designed to increase public awareness of the ecotourism offers gained a silver award at the Third international territorial marketing and branding Festival OPEN in “External and printing works” nomination.
  • In 2014-2015, project tourism destinations participated in international exhibitions in Vilnius, Warsaw, Riga, Moscow and Minsk and each destination prepared information materials about offers for tourists.
  • In 2015 International conference on sustainable tourism attracted more than 200 participants: representatives of agrotourism business, NGOs, local authorities. UNWTO Secretary – General, Mr.Taleb Rifai also took part in the conference. 



Who Finances it?

Donor
Amount of contribution, US$
USAID 1,946,000

Delivery in previous fiscal year

Fiscal Year Amount of disbursement, US$
2014 1’060’331