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Digital Transformation Ministry, UNDP launch East Expo 2020 online business exhibition – Ukrinform. Ukraine and world news

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The online exhibition, launched with the support of international partners, brings together 170 entrepreneurs from all across eastern Ukraine to help them expand businesses and establish partnerships

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine and the Ministry of Digital Transformation have launched East-Expo 2020 – an online exhibition of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises from Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, which is being hosted on the East Expo website and the government’s business-support portal Diia.Business.

The UNDP annual flagship business event is being held online for the first time this year. Using the interactive platform, the public can view the profiles of about 170 entrepreneurs from eastern Ukraine. Each profile contains brief information about the company, photos, a short video with a presentation of the company, and contacts for ordering products.

Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for European Integration Valeriia Ionan noted that the creation of a platform for online exhibitions was a response to quarantine restrictions on business.

“It’s impossible to act in the same way as in the pre-pandemic period,” Ionan said. “We need to adapt to new realities, respond to global challenges, and change and transform very quickly. First of all, we should use more digital solutions and tools, and not be afraid to switch to new formats of communication. Our interactive platform for online exhibitions on the Diia.Business website is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to be heard and seen, and to get people acquainted with their products or services.”

The Ministry of Digital Transformation and UNDP developed and launched the online platform under the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, with financial support from the European Union, the governments of Denmark, Poland, Japan and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and in partnership with Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblast administrations, along with the Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce of Ukraine.

Stefan Schleuning, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, said at the exhibition opening, that increasing the competitiveness of Ukraine’s small and medium businesses is a priority of EU-Ukraine cooperation: “We believe that a stronger SME sector will diversify the Ukrainian economy and build up its resilience to challenges,” Schleuning said. “Economic development and support for small and medium businesses have been the focus of our activities in eastern Ukraine and the Sea of ​​Azov region. East Expo 2020 is yet another visible sign of our joint efforts to promote local business and strengthen the economy.”

Polish Ambassador to Ukraine Bartosz Cichocki said: “I’m proud that this year we were able to help Ukraine to implement humanitarian programmes and development projects worth about 200 million zlotys (over 50 million US dollars). I’m confident that by joint efforts, including through the East Expo, we will achieve our goal – a peaceful, modern Donbas, open to international cooperation.”

Takashi Kurai, Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine, said: “Ukraine is well-known for its highly competent human resources and fertile farmlands, and its potential for economic progress remains very high. I’m certain that today’s event will contribute to reactivating local businesses in the eastern regions, as well as strengthening their economic ties with other Ukrainian regions.”

Entrepreneurs from all across eastern Ukraine presented their products online – from homemade delicacies and textiles, to chemical industry and IT-innovations. As part of East Expo 2020, some 65 entrepreneurs have already participated in online B2B meetings with new potential clients and partners from all over Ukraine and from abroad.

UNDP Resident Representative Dafina Gercheva noted the exceptional persistence of entrepreneurs from eastern Ukraine, who, despite the armed conflict, COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine restrictions, continue to do business and boost the economic development of their communities.

“This is not the first time that entrepreneurs from eastern Ukraine have had to overcome challenges and work in extreme conditions,” Gercheva said. “These businesses are a powerful driving force, moving the region towards a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous future. Together with our partners, we express our admiration for the zeal of these incredible people, and will continue to help them to reach this future as soon as possible.”

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East Expo is an open platform for business networking, finding business partners and new clients from other regions, the European Union and the world. From 2017 to 2019, East Expo was held in Kramatorsk, SievierodonetskKyiv and Lviv. In total, the exhibitions were visited by more than 8,000 guests, and 250 companies from local manufacturers presented their products there. As a result of last year’s events, 70 percent of participants made useful business acquaintances and established new business relationships with new partners.

The United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme (UN RPP) is being implemented by four United Nations organizations: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Thirteen international partners support the Programme: the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

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