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IFC Unveils the Belarus Small and Medium Enterprise Toolkit Web Portal


In Washington:
Irina E.Likhacheva

Phone: +1 202 473 1813

Email:
ilikhachova@ifc.org

IFC, Minsk

Nadezhda Sinelnik
Phone: (375 17) 219 7811

Fax: (375 17) 222 7440

E-mail:
nsinelnik@ifc.org


Minsk, 03 June 2005— The International Finance Corporation, the private investment arm of the World Bank Group,
has launched
www.bel.biz, a new information portal for small business in Belarus. The web site was developed by the
IFC Belarus Business Enabling Environment Project in partnership with leading Belarusian law firms, consulting companies and banks.
The Belarus SME Toolkit
is modeled after
www.vlasnasprava.info, one of the most successful internet portals created for Ukrainian
SMEs in 2003 under the umbrella of IFC’s Global SME Toolkit program.


This web resource offers much needed insight about such subjects as local business law and the business support services,
the establishment and the functioning of the companies, and the financing sources and effective management techniques. The site gives access to a list

of SME partners, documentation, templates, a business calendar, and a Q&A section. Special emphasis is placed on registration,
liquidation and bankruptcy issues considering their relevance to the business community. The portal also focuses on Belarusian
banks’ microfinance schemes, credit unions, leasing, marketing research, presentation and negotiation skills, and human resources policies.


To adequately reflect on the private business sphere developments the Belarus SME Toolkit web-site will be updated daily.
Portal’s visitors will be able to obtain on-line legal advice as well as to provide their feedback regarding the content.
Speaking at the portal's launch, the Project Manager of the IFC’s Belarus Business Enabling Environment, Ivan Ivanov, said: “SME-related legislation in Belarus is subject to more than 2000 changes a year.
Information about these changes is not only scarce but also hard to understand. In such an unstable environment the SME Toolkit will provide entrepreneurs with access to the most up-to-date information, which will increase the efficiency of small business in Belarus.”


Launched on December 1, 2004, the IFC's Business Enabling Environment Project aims to improve the overall climate for SME development in Belarus by reducing the regulatory burden on local SMEs and boosting SMEs’ access to information and business support services.


The International Finance Corporation (
www.ifc.org) is a member of the World Bank Group. IFC’s mission is to promote sustainable private sector investment
in transition economies that helps to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the emerging markets,
mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance
and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds

and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.