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MP Graduate Supports Ukrainian Entrepreneurs

[04.03.2019]

The ambitious financial expert, Valeriy Mayboroda, attended the Manager Training Programme (MP) 16 years ago. At that time, he was 25 years old and working for the Ukrainian National Bank. He was just starting his professional career, but he had a clear mission: He wanted to study the work done by development banks and then use the knowledge to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Ukraine. Today Mayboroda is the head of the German-Ukrainian Fund (GUF), which runs programmes supporting SMEs.

2002 was a historical year for the EU: the issue of the “euro kits” gave EU citizens their first opportunity to hold actual euro coins. And it was also an important year for the MP: The Manager Training Programme with Ukraine started, and with it the internationalisation of the Programme. Valeriy Mayboroda was among the very first managers to come from Ukraine for training in Germany. An economist, he worked for the Ukrainian National Bank and coordinated the work of the GUF, in which the Ukrainian National Bank, the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance and the KfW (a German government owned development bank) are all shareholders.

Completely Satisfied with the MP

“My expectations of the Programme were met 100 per cent”, says Mayboroda, a foreign trade expert who closely examined the work done by financial institutions and enterprises during his time on the MP. He later shared the knowledge he gained in a working group he joined that drafted a business plan to establish a Ukrainian development bank. Back then, though, the time was simply not ripe for such entities. “Unfortunately, at that time the Ukrainian government wasn’t yet paying much attention to SMEs. Now – also as a result of the crisis – it has recognised how important SMEs are for economic development”, says Mayboroda, who is now head of the GUF. The GUF is to be transformed into an agency offering financial support to SMEs within the next few years. A state programme to develop SMEs is planned to start by 2020. The government programme was developed with the support of the EU programme EU4Business.

Help for Medium-Sized Enterprises

“In Germany I saw an ideal model of a state financing programme for SMEs”, says Mayboroda. He has been able to implement a lot on the basis of his expertise, even if the business plan per se has had to be shelved for now. Among the new instruments that he has realised is the introduction of interest rate subsidies based on the German model. “It’s good to invent something new, but it’s even better to adopt something good. We don’t need to develop a Ukrainian bicycle if bicycles already exist”, explains the entrepreneur.

In addition to financial support, the GUF would like to also offer credit guarantees and consultancy services to enterprises in the future, to provide them with holistic assistance on their path to success. “Now that trade has been opened between Ukraine and the EU, it has become easier for German businesses. But our Ukrainian firms don’t have the same general conditions or the same access to financial support. That’s where we have to do some catching up”, says Mayboroda.

MP Graduates Benefit from Financing

The GUF has granted more than 162,000 loans in the last 20 years. Some of the now 1,300 graduates of the MP in Ukraine have also been able to benefit from the low interest rates. Like, for instance the shoe maker Oleg Potienko from Browary, a small town close to Kiev. His enterprise Kaman manufactures high-quality shoes, including German and Italian production lines. Potienko used the loan to purchase a new production line and to strengthen his working capital.

Financing Programmes to Become More Well-Known

“Many entrepreneurs have no confidence in our loan programmes. They think that it’s a fraud or that it won’t work”, says Mayboroda. This is the reason that he has set marketing as the GUF’s priority. “I’m for absolute transparency. Businesses should understand that it’s realistic to receive financial support from us, even though we’re practically a state entity”, he says. He regularly visits the regions and the partner banks, and promotes the GUF at events – including at the MP. He has also developed a new format: trade fairs for small and medium-sized enterprises (www.sme-fair.org.ua), at which enterprises, banks and financial support institutions can meet. And he publishes a monthly fact sheet with data and figures on the sponsored businesses. “It used to be that only a few people knew the GUF. Now we’re well-known, and word has got out that we can be trusted”, reports Mayboroda.

German-Ukrainian Fund website: http://guf.gov.ua/uk