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New opportunities to develop youth enterprise in southern Russia

On 12 March, Center-invest Bank hosted a meeting to review the first year of implementation of the Youth Business Russia programme of the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) in the Rostov Region.

More than 50 budding entrepreneurs participated in the programme during the year, 32 of whom produced their own business plans. The programme’s expert panel approved 20 projects, and 14 participants received a total of RUB4m in finance from Center-invest Bank.

The Youth Business programme is being run in 30 countries. The Russia programme encompasses four Russian regions (

In the Rostov Region, the programme is being implemented on the basis of a multilateral agreement on cooperation to promote youth enterprise. The agreement has been signed by more than 20 organisations, including regional authorities, enterprise support agencies, business associations and leading higher education institutions. Center-invest Bank, southern Russia’s largest regional bank, is the programme’s financial partner.

Each of the partner organisations has its own enterprise development programme. By joining forces under the Youth Business Russia programme, each individual programme benefits from the pooling of ideas and resources. This helps ensure that young entrepreneurs in southern Russia can access the finance and support needed to start up their own successful businesses.

Center-invest Bank has been running a similar business start-up loan programme since summer 2011 and it regularly provides free advice for young entrepreneurs. In the last six months, Center-invest Bank lent a total of RUB170m to 135 new entrepreneurs.

Under the Youth Business Russia programme, entrepreneurs aged 18-35 years can obtain three-year loans without needing to provide security or a guarantee. The maximum loan amount is RUB300,000 and the interest rate is 12% per annum. Loans are made on the basis of business plans that have been examined and approved by a panel of experts.

As well as providing loans on preferential terms, the Youth Business Russia programme promotes mentoring. Young people are offered guidance from individual mentors, advice on business planning, and business skills training. The youth enterprise programme can also draw on the financial support mechanisms of the regional government’s enterprise support programme, and it benefits from work being carried out by universities, business associations, and associations of municipal districts.