SME icon In our efforts to support sustainable economic development in Ukraine and improve country’s competitiveness, Agricultural Extension Center BRIDGES has been working with USAID, USDA, American and Ukrainian NGOs, Universities and private businesses and associations to provide technical assistance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Currently BRIDGES unites more than 800 farmers, processors, companies and associations in the agricultural sector of Ukraine in all regions of the country. Our activities and assistance to SMEs are mainly focused on the following areas:
   

Improvements in production practices and technology of SMEs resulting in tangible measurable results, such as increases in yields, SMEs profitability, creation of new employment opportunities, especially for women and low-income marginalized populations. In line with this activity, we provide technical assistance and help with new technology transfer to agricultural enterprises, producer organizations, processors, input suppliers and other entities to bring their competitiveness level closer to international standards and improve their product quality standards. Over the last eight years BRIDGES organized more than 200 trainings for fruit and vegetable growers, dairy and livestock producers, tree nuts, grain, oilseed and other agricultural producers and processors and completed numerous consulting assignments throughout Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan in all areas of agricultural business utilizing senior level consultants from the US and Ukraine.

Market expansion & Export promotion for SMEs and improvement of linkages between farms, farmer organizations, universities and government. For example, BRIDGES organized a number of trade missions and platforms (for photos and videos go to: http://www.bridges.com.ua/en/events) helping local SMEs promote their products and establish new business links with both domestic and international supermarkets, wholesale traders and other potential buyer. BRIDGES constantly works with SMEs to improve marketing and distribution channels, allowing them to successfully enter foreign markets. As part of the export promotion assistance to SMEs, BRIDGES also helps adopt HACCP, Global GAP and other certification standards necessary to enter foreign markets. Upon Ukraine’s joining the Free Trade Agreement with the EU, BRIDGES also provides assistance to farmers and farm associations in transition to modern food safety standards and certification requirements.

Strengthening Ukrainian financial sector and access to finance for SMEs representing agricultural and non-agricultural sectors of the economy. BRIDGES has been actively working with the financial sector in Ukraine mainly focusing on strengthening financial opportunities for small and medium enterprises. We are currently working with credit unions, commodity boards of trade, banks and other market players in the financial sector. Our activities included hundreds of specialized trainings for credit unions, business tours for insurance companies, assistance with adoption of best international practices and legislation and other tailored activities that resulted in concrete and tangible results benefiting Ukrainian SME community.

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