On Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 11:30 the EU-funded project “Ukraine: SME Support Services in Priority Regions” will hold a press conference in the premises of UNIAN Information Agency (4 Kreschatik street, conference room, 2nd floor).

The purpose of the media meeting is on the one hand to brief the invited media on project activities implemented during the last six months and on the other hand to introduce the “Virtual Market” Enterprise Benchmarking and Business Development Services (BDS) on-line business support tools developed by the project to a wider audience. Special attention will be given to the features and benefits of these planned on-line business development tools for both Ukrainian enterprise managers and Ukrainian management consultants and business service providers.

Mr. Philip Santens, Project Team Leader, Mr. Gennady Bilous, Deputy Head of the State Committee of Ukraine for Regulatory Policy and Entrepreneurship, Mr. Grigorios Kontzoglou, Project Manager of the Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine and Mr. Olexiy Demchenko, Project MIS Expert, will speak at this media event.

The project “SME Support Services in Priority Regions” started in May 2006 and will last through December 2007. The project aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of those involved in SME development – business consultants, advisors, trainers, educational institutions and central and regional governmental structures – with emphasis on transferring best practices of other (EU) countries. Some highlighted features of the project are:

1) Dissemination of EU models and best practice in Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) support;

2) A website “On the route to SME development” also containing a “Virtual Market” – an on-line business development tool, unique for the Ukraine, that, once fully operational, will enable Ukrainian SMEs and Business Providers to gain access to enterprise benchmarking, professional business support services, sources of funding and business opportunities in Ukraine, free of charge;

3) Regional management training to civil servants, consultants and growth-oriented private companies.

The project is implemented by a consortium consisting of GFA Consulting Group of Germany (Lead Partner), PEM GmbH of Germany, the Polish Office for Economic Policy & Regional Development (EPRD) and the Ukrainian Institute for Rural Development (lRD). The State Committee of Ukraine for Regulatory Policy and Entrepreneurship is the main beneficiary of the project.

For more information and accreditation please contact:

Christina Schwarz, Project Office Manager+38 044 332 41 65; 501 10 41christina.scwarz@smeuk.org.ua Victoria Tetyora, Local Training and Dissemination Expert+38 044 501 10 42Victoria.Tetyora@smeuk.org.ua