BY RURAL BOOST is an ongoing project conducted in 4 districts of north-western Belarus by two Belarusian organizations: Public Association ‘Women for restoration of Narach region’ and Association of Legal Entities ‘Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship’ in partnership with Development Policy Foundation from Poland under financing of EuropeAid and USAID.
The overall objective of the project is the sustainable rural development of the Northwest region of Belarus by promoting and supporting rural local private initiatives and entrepreneurs and increased self-supportiveness of the rural population with a specific focus on social and female entrepreneurs.
The project aims at establishing and feeding of the truly workable locally entrenched small business support institution, creating opportunities, that make at least some people stay or return with desire to work hard, earn money and live decently, helping the communities and region, setting practice of socially and environmentally sustainable rural development.
The Incubator runs in the joint business & NGO model, with the Board of Trustees including representatives of local business, having their say on the grants (microloans) allocation & attracting private contributions.
Special focus is given on including the socially disadvantaged – the disabled and mothers excluded from the labor market. The Project has a pilot character, being the first such action.
Project aims to improve access to financing for newly created rural micro-enterprises, expand private employment and independent income generation in rural areas of Belarus as well as to generally bolster the entrepreneurial spirit – effectively enhancing social capital and risk-taking attitude.
In the pre-project phase, the perpetual usufruct right to a classic manor house in Komarovo with an area of 950 sq. metres and modern brick outbuildings were acquired a non-cash contribution basis on the condition that it will be renovated, adapted and equipped for the Rural Business Incubator.
Rural Business Incubator is expected to increase the rate of setting up new micro-businesses in rural Belarussian areas and heighten the survival rate of local start-ups. It will promote an innovative, financially and ecologically sustainable rural business model drawing on appropriate context-tailored skills and the EU know-how, supporting gender equality in business and on the local labour market, additionally fostering women-and mother-friendly workplaces.
Implementation of the project is coordinated by the public Association ‘Women for restoration of Naroch region’ and ‘Women for Revival of the Naroch Territory’ in cooperation with ‘Komarovo’ Rural Entrepreneurship Development Center, Minsk Capital Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers and Ecohome (national level Non-governmental Environmental Organization) and Polish partners – including development Policy Foundation, which will all support the project administratively and with professional advice.