The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has awarded the IOE a high-profile contract to equip its business support consultants with the skills to help SMEs to realise their international trading ambitions.
EBRD’s ambitious Export Strategy Development and Training initiative is initially being rolled out across Central Asia. The IOE’s instrumental role is to give consultants the knowledge and skills to help local companies they are working with to develop an export market entry plan.
Nazar Talibdjanov, EBRD Principal Manager, Central Asia & Mongolia within the SME Finance & Development Group said: “Central Asia encapsulates the challenges entrepreneurs face in many parts of the world, where limited domestic markets mean the only way to grow is by exporting. While their products and services might be good, these companies require knowledge to sell and deliver them – particularly in landlocked nations.
“With funding from the United States’ SME Special Fund, the EBRD seeks to help SMEs in Central Asia improve their competitiveness on domestic and international markets. We approached the Institute of Export to deliver this landmark training due to its reputation as a leading worldwide education provider for exporters.”
To date, pilot sessions have been delivered by IOE director general, Lesley Batchelor OBE, in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic, where she was interviewed by national television channel NTS TV, on its flagship business programme, Realnaya economika (Real Economics).
Said Lesley: “It has become apparent that if SMEs in the territories we have worked in so far enjoyed the same resources as those of the UK, they would be flying high in export markets. Indeed, businesses in the Kyrgyz Republic, where delegates had to be turned away, could teach British entrepreneurs some valuable lessons.
“However, they face many obstacles: interest rates run between 20-40%; there is no real infrastructure; the freight industry is fragmented and limited; and bureaucracy and ‘expenses’ against the movement of goods are onerous and often cannot be planned for. The EBRD is providing direct, practical support that ensures a real helping hand for the three countries to achieve great things.”
The training provided by the Institute underpins ERBD’s wider programme, which connects businesses with international industry advisers and local consultants. Projects cover key areas, such as latest technologies, production efficiencies and expanded product ranges, as well as forging links with government departments and attracting finance. There are plans for more training sessions to go ahead in 2016, in Ukraine, Mongolia, Morocco and Tunisia – with further territories to be added to what is expected to be a three year project.