Free individual mentor consultancy for SMEs (including home producers) to establish their visual identity on the Internet & increase market competitiveness.
Development of business and its digital aspects is a priority in Zemgale region (no. of population 230 331 in 2019) because competitive, innovating and export driven businesses are the foundation of economic development of a region and state.
Business support consultancy helps entrepreneurs:
1) to carry out the promotion of a SME’s products on the external market by using the available tools - advice on use of trading platform Etsy.com;
2) to ensure that SME’s websites are easily accessible to potential clients - advice on optimizing the SEO of web page;
3) to create a visually appealing product design - practical workshops, using free online tools to design their product;
4) Zemgale Enterprise Catalogue - gives citizens/SMEs the opportunity to choose local products, goods and services by supporting each other, helps to find partners.
Benefits for SMEs: product brand identification both locally and abroad; increase in turnover.
Consultations are held free of charge and are provided by two employees with basic local remuneration amount covered by municipality budget.
ZRKAC events are always organised in cooperation with some partners (e.g. British Council, Social Business Association, social entrepreneurs, etc.)
Evidence of success
ZRKC provided 5668 consultations: in 2009 – 143 consultations; in 2019 – 1120. SMEs benefits:
1) 28 SMEs improved e-commerce & increased product turnover (20–50%)
2) 7 workshops (68 SMEs) about the online tools
3) 48 SMEs created promotional campaigns and visual identity for their products using online tools;
4) 5 seminars on digital marketing (43 participants);
5) Zemgale Region Enterprise Catalogue (137 enterprises, 1982 categories, also~ 50 deals concluded & 20 partnerships established.
Potential for learning or transfer
The consultancy service is an easy establishing tool to support business development in areas with the less dense population. Entrepreneurs greatly appreciate the advices which they can receive free of charge: individual consultations, workshops, seminars, match-making activities, projects, regular communication, support for the creation of new products, etc (Minox, Minisociton, etc.). Always find actual and most interested topic for advice – continuous learning. Cooperate with the most knowledgeable experts from different fields in organising events.
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