Belarus SMEs contribute to coronavirus pandemic fight

By Anton Usov

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EBRD and donors support businesses with finance and advice.

Belarus is one of many states which have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. This week its toll of infected citizens reached almost 24,000, with this indicator more than 60 per cent higher than in neighbouring countries like Ukraine or Poland. Socially responsible businesses are actively helping the state to contain the outbreak and do whatever they can to fight this dangerous enemy. Here are some examples of how local SME clients of the EBRD are contributing to the effort.

A client of the Bank since 2012, privately-owned Belarusian garment producer Mark Formelle is known in its home country and throughout markets spanning as far as Kazakhstan for its top quality shirts, underwear and speciality clothing. The current circumstances, however, have prompted the company to switch almost 80 per cent of its production to the making of medical overalls, shoe covers and masks.

Another client, Modum, is normally involved in the manufacture of dental hygiene items, including mouthwashes, toothpastes, balms and ointments. It is lending its 25-year expertise and experience to help in the fight against the coronavirus. The antibacterial gels and liquids now produced by Modum are in high demand both from doctors and ordinary citizens.

Nelva, a popular Belarusian manufacturer of women’s clothing with more than 120 stores across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, announced the launch of its new summer fashion collection back in March. The plans have been dramatically overhauled and nowadays the company is instead concentrating on the production of the protective masks that are constantly required throughout Belarus.

ScienceSoft is a software developer and consultant with offices in Belarus, the United States and Finland. Its broad client base in 47 countries includes such big names as Walmart, Nestlé, T-Mobile and Viber. While its main software products provide remote working solutions, the company is also helping local medical staff by sponsoring hot meals for the Ambulance Service of Minsk.

IKompot may be a very small business, but the Minsk-based privately-owned café nevertheless stands ready to help achieve the crucial common goal. The company is supplying hot meals to one of the hospitals in the capital.

These are just a few examples of how local businesses are ready to help when it matters. It is not the amount of funds granted or the volume of goods produced that matters. Even the smallest of businesses can make a difference by helping the country in such difficult times and the EBRD is proud to be associated with them.

All the above companies have benefitted in the past from EBRD finance or advisory support through the Advice for Small Businesses Programme in Belarus funded by the European Union, Sweden and the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund (Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the USA). While we support SMEs, they support society!

 

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