Integrated Business Services: Russia
Under the auspices of USAID, CDC implements the IBS program to strengthen private sector development and the business services industry as a whole. CDC trains business services providers (BSPs) to become self-sufficient and gives them the tools they need to provide services to clients on a competitive and profitable basis. CDC laid the foundation for a network of BSPs to encourage collaboration and provide greater outreach to the Russian SME sector.
The program promotes capacity building and strengthens the expertise of local Russian consultants by building individual consultants’ skills in key industry sectors. Activities include training courses, pairing with and mentoring by American Volunteer Advisors (VAs) with ten or more years of business experience and peer training by top Russian consultants. BSP managers also participate in training and technical assistance activities that will enable them to improve their organizational and human resource management systems, identify key growth industry sectors/clusters by region and provide their clients with high quality consulting products and services. Additionally, the program works with the BSP network to develop industry-specific consulting tools, develop consulting products that help SMEs access financing opportunities and promote Russian-Russian mentoring and partnerships. Moreover, CDC provides BSPs with the tools and strategies needed to expand SME access to finance, to increase the role of women in consulting, BSP operations, and SME ownership and management. These strategies also aid in removing government-imposed obstacles that impede SME growth.
CDC designed and implemented a sophisticated web-based communication tool for the IBS BSPs. This on-line community system (OCS) allows BSPs to post and retrieve documents, share a common calendar, maintain industry-specific threaded conversations, post and read news current to the industry and communication in a chat room. The OCS is now being utilized across CDC programs, allowing participants all over the world to share information and lessons learned as well as to nurture new business relationships.