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Update About The Trainings For The Project Talent Together

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Under the project ¨Talent Together¨ which is supported by UNHCR, we started our training sessions for the refugee entrepreneurs in Lithuania. The frequency of the trainings is once a week, and they take around an hour. Since the participants are all around Lithuania, the meetings are held on the Zoom platform. The trainers are among the prominent entrepreneurs or employees all around Lithuania, and their knowledge and experience shed light on the different issues while creating business in Lithuania. The trainers not only inform the participants but also inspire the refugee community in Lithuania. Since there are different refugee groups, and some of them cannot communicate in English, there was a volunteer interpreter, Irina, who translated the training from English to Russian. After each presentation, we had Q&A sessions so that the participants could get answers to their questions and concerns about their business.

The first training was related to how to establish and grow a business in Lithuania, and it was held on the 28th of September. The trainer was Pulkit Gupta, a Strategy and Partnership Manager in Lithuania, who unveiled vital strategies for establishing and expanding business in Lithuania. He covered topics such as types of businesses, processes, and determining what is best for the individual. Pulkit provided a detailed overview of the process of setting up a legal entity in Lithuania, with a focus on the small partnership option. They discussed the benefits of this option, including its low cost and ease of set-up, and explained the differences between the various types of legal entities available.

Key Questions

  • What is the best type of business to start in Lithuania?

  • How can I register a business address if I don't have a physical location?

  • What are the best products to import and export in Lithuania?

The second training took place on the 6th of October, and it was named ‘Ideas vs Execution’. This time our trainer was Sina Zare, and he talked about the general concept behind business, customer identification, branding, exceptional approaches, and other factors that one must consider before initiating a business plan. He also discussed the importance of user research in identifying the target audience for a product and how to approach them.

Sina Zare gave examples of successful campaigns that used creative approaches to engage potential customers and convince them to try a new product. He also discussed the importance of starting a business with a vision and mission and encouraged people to start even if it's not perfect.

Key Questions

  • What are some strategies for convincing potential customers to choose your product over competitors?

  • Are there specific grants available for artificial intelligence, robotics, or blockchain projects?

  • Can funding be obtained for projects that are not in the field of innovation?

The third session was a consultation by Viktorija Vaitkeviciene about where to go and how to receive funding for a business start. Viktorija Vaitkeviciene has more than 15 years of experience in the financial sector. She is CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of the private debt fund Mundus Asset Management. For the last four years, Viktorija has been a manager of the venture capital fund CoInvest Capital and a board member of the Lithuanian Business Angel Network (LitBAN), which brings together over 300 investors. Victoria discussed the availability of financing and support programs for refugees. She provided specific details on programs offered by employment services, local municipalities, and the Innovation Agency, and noted that different municipalities have different programs and requirements. The group also discussed various agencies and programs that provide financing and support for business startups in Lithuania, including Lithuanian credit unions, the Investment and Business Guarantees institution, and the Startup Lithuania organization. They discussed the different types of financing available, such as grants, loans, and subsidies, and highlighted the importance of creating a solid business plan.

Key Questions

  • What financing options are available for self-employed individuals?

  • Where can I go for financing options for an established business?

  • How can credit unions help with loans for inventory and hiring?

The fourth training was related to the Lithuanian tax environment. This training session was a general Lithuanian tax overview. Therefore, the questions 'Where to start?' and 'What to expect and how much does it cost to do business in Lithuania?' were answered. The trainer, Mykolas Vilutis, has hands-on experience working at VMI (State Tax Inspectorate), and now he is the CEO of the accounting company 'Tobulas Balansas' as well as a member of various boards. During the session, he explained the different types of taxes that are performed by the Lithuanian tax system, and the participants could have an opportunity to comprehend the overall system. Therefore, the aim was to prevent refugee entrepreneurs from making mistakes and miscalculations in taxation since the Lithuanian taxation system might be different than the one in the country of origin.

Key Questions

  • What are the major players?

  • How are the different activities taxed?

  • What are the differences between the import and export taxes?

On the 8th of November, the training called ¨Financial Principles for Business Planning¨ was held by Udo Schedel. The training is planned to have two parts; therefore, the participants are going to meet with Schedel in the following week. The first session was very interactive and it covered different topics thanks to the prominent experience of the trainer. The trainer provided valuable insights into the principles of good business planning, including the importance of cash as working capital, the risks of overstocking and over-investing, and the need to avoid relying on a few suppliers. The speaker discussed the importance of reviewing basic assumptions and benchmarking in business, and provided a detailed explanation of Euribor and its relevance to financing and fundraising. The meeting covered various financing options for entrepreneurs, including equity, loans, and business angels. Udo Schedel discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each option and provided examples of how they work. He also recommended resources for entrepreneurs to explore funding sources and programs, such as the Start up Lithuania website and government-funded accelerated programs. The meeting concluded with a Q&A session on business and finance, covering a range of topics, including taking loans, making business decisions based on interest rates, and understanding financial statements.

Overall, the meeting provided a comprehensive overview of financial principles for business planning, including the importance of good business management, financing options, and conducting a feasibility study and creating a business plan.

Key Questions

  • What are the challenges of opening a bank account for a company?

  • How can startups secure funding?

  • How to make reasonable assumptions in business planning?

  • Where to find business mentorship and support?

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