Youth Business Ukraine (YBU) is a member of the international network of Youth Business International (YBI) Programs. This international initiative has been now operating in 40 countries under the Presidency of the Prince of Wales.
The goal of the YBU Program is development of youth entrepreneurship, offering equal opportunities to disadvantaged young people in starting up their own businesses and engagement in economic processes of the region and country.
A specific feature of the YBU Program is assistance to young people who wish to start up their own businesses but have no funds and opportunities to apply to banks and other financial entities of Ukraine. YBU offers such young people not only loans without a collateral or guarantors but also support in business planning, regular support of mentors, who are volunteers from among successful and well-known representatives of business community, at all stages of business start-up and development.
The YBU Program is administered by the SESP Association. In August 2007 international experts assessed YBU efficiency and considered its operation a success and meeting all basic principles and goals of youth enterprise support programs. In 2011 the YBI international network accredited the YBU Program for the second time for its efficacy and quality as well as compliance with all European standards.
YBU was launched in July 2006 and piloted in four areas of Lugansk Region: the cities of Krasnodon and Severodonetsk as well as the Perevalsk and Kremennskaya Rayons. Since July 2007 YBU has been running in 5 pilot areas of Donetsk Region: the city of Torez and Telmanovo, Novoazovsk, the Dobropoliye and Starobeshevo Rayons. In January 2012 the YBU Program was lauched in Sevastopol, in autumn 2012 it expanded its activities to Kharkov Region and on 6 December 2012 the Program was presented in the city of Burshtyn of Ivano-Frankovsk Region. YBU have started operations in Lvov Region in June 2013.
Since its launch YBU has provided support to 149 young people to the total amount of UAH 2,500,000:
Young entrepreneurs have created more than 50 additional jobs. Over 200 people depend on them (children, disabled members of their families). A particular focus of YBU is gender equality: since 2009 there have been 3 projects implemented within the Program with the financial support of the Embassy of Finland in Ukraine, aimed at development of female entrepreneurship.
- 60% of young people from rural areas;
- 40% of fledgling entrepreneurs were women.
Disadvantaged young people aged 18-35, who have no access to financial resources of the national banking sector, family, relatives or friends, due to poverty, social exclusion, insufficient knowledge and skills as well as poor education.
YBU approach means integrity:
- free consultancy in developing and expert evaluation of business plans;
- soft loan without a collateral and guarantor;
- regular consultancy and recommendations to a fledgling entrepreneur.
* YBU funds are offered to young entrepreneurs shall be repaid, which allows to continuously dispose of the funds and enable new young people getting loans and start up their businesses.
- Young people aged 18-35 can be eligible to a loan.
- A loan is provided for 1 to 3 years with a potential deferment of paying the loan principal for up to 3 months.
- No collateral or guarantee is required.
- The size of a loan offered today up to 17,500.
- An applicant shall fill in and present his/her business plan of a standard type to an Expert Panel in his/her area.
- Once the business plan is approved, the applicant shall register as private entrepreneur in line with Ukrainian legislation and is allocated a mentor.
YBU vision is to become within the next 3 years a most effective mechanism for addressing unemployment of disadvantaged youth. Plans are in place to set up 18 centers by 2014 for support of young entrepreneurs throughout Ukraine, which will allow to annually grant 250 loans to young people from among vulnerable groups of the population of depressive cities and rural areas.
What are MENTORS?
World statistics shows that 80% of successful businessmen started their businesses with the financial and moral support of their families. Towards that end, the organization “Youth Business International” (YBI) developed a special institute of mentorship i.e. support to young entrepreneurs by experienced business entities. Today this method is successfully applied in numerous countries of the world.
Such family approach is also used by the YBU Program. Each young entrepreneur who is granted a loan under the Program is assigned a mentor i.e. a person with certain business knowledge and experience, who dedicates some of his/her free time on a voluntary basis to regular delivery of consultancy and recommendations on various current issues during meetings with fledgling entrepreneurs.
The goal of such meetings:
A mentor delivers his/her consultations and gives advice in an impartial, professional and friendly manner; always acts only in the interests of a young entrepreneur; develops and practices knowledge and skills with the latter, which are required for success in business and personal development; maintains strict confidentiality of information received from a young entrepreneur.
- avoidance of difficulties which a young businessman may come across;
- consultancy on such themes as sales and marketing, lease, legislation, accounting etc.;
- a mentor may enlist an additional support of specialists, if required, using his/her own business contacts for the purpose;
- comparison of the actual work with the one outlined in the business plan and analysis of the difference, which may help understand how business is run.
Main principles of mentorship:
Program management structure
The Program is spearheaded by a Supervisory Board which comprises influential people as well as persons and organizations who and which are Program sponsors.
- no decisions imposed;
- the mentor acknowledges that it is not his/her business, therefore the decision is made by a young entrepreneur himself/herself;
- friendly behavior;
- the work is based on mutual respect;
- no investment into entrepreneur’s business;
- the mentor holds meetings with an entrepreneur in his/her territory; delivers consultations by phone, email or in any other convenient way.
YBU operation is coordinated by the Central Office located in Donetsk. In addition, to improve the Program efficiency, there are Regional Offices set up and run, where Local Coordinators provide consultancy and methodological support to young entrepreneurs from the date when they apply to the Program for the first time till the final repayment of the loan.