Today, we hosted a final event of the third mentorship visit under the auspices of the project ‘Post-conflict reconstruction in Ukraine’ at Jable Castle.
The mentorship visit between Kočevje and Bucha, focusing on enhancing Bucha’s capacities in project writing and project management and development of a business-friendly environment with the help of experts, mentors and representatives from Kočevje municipality and business sectors, took place between 17 January and 1 February 2023 in Kočevje, Slovenija.
Opening the final event at Jable was Ms Nina Čepon, CEP Executive Director, introducing the Slovenian Aid and Partnerships project activities, commending the efforts of Bucha mentees for their work over the three weeks, and indicating further possible fields of cooperation with Kočevje and CEP. She thanked all involved organisations for their support of project activities, ensuring activities are well structured, aimed at needs expressed by Ukrainian municipalities and aiding reconstruction and recovery efforts.
Addressing the participants was also the mayor of the municipality of Bucha, Mr Anatolii Fedoruk, who thanked his Bucha colleagues and all involved in the project for the effort and work during these three weeks. He expressed the gratitude of the entire Bucha community to Kočevje municipality for all their efforts and extended hand of support, reaffirming that the support is not taken for granted and the willingness to work towards stronger cooperation is ever strong.
Dr Vladimir Prebilič, mayor of Kočevje, commended the work and the willingness of Bucha municipality to work towards a stronger business support system in the municipality, offered support of Kočevje, stating the intent of Kočevje to pursue and sign a sister city agreement and continue to good cooperation – possibly with the organisation of a summer camp for children from Bucha in Kočevje.
Joining the mentorship in Kočevje were Ms Tetiana Lipinska, Head of the Sector for Economic Development at the Bucha City Council, and Mr Andrii Melnyk, Project Manager in the Sector for Economic Development of Bucha City Council, who were mentored by the municipality of Kočevje mentors, Mr Andrej Mladenovič, Deputy Mayor of Kočevje and Ms Lili Štefanič, Director of Municipal Administration of Kočevje.
In the first week, mentees focused their attention on needs assessment, followed by the basics of project management, project writing and project funding and began preparing a frame for a project they wish to implement in Bucha, within the Bucha Techno Garden, with the help of expert Mr Klemen Srna.
The second week focused on the establishment of a business-friendly environment, with the municipality of Kočevje preparing a rich side programme for mentees, with visits to the Kočevje business incubator, where Bucha mentees learned more about the cooperation between the municipality, incubator, businesses in the region, educational institutions and more. Discussion with Ribnica Kočevje Regional Development Agency highlighted the areas of possible support of such an organisation to businesses. On Thursday and Friday, two more side visits were held – a visit to ABC Hub and Accelerator in Ljubljana, where the activities of the Hub and their coworking space were presented, and a visit to Dolenjske Toplice spa, where the director, Ms Lazič presented the activities of Terme Krka complex, the rehabilitation and medical programme of the spa and subsequent effect the spa had on the development of the area.
The third week focused on the preparation of a project concept for the development of the Bucha business incubator. Mentees were aided by Mrs Slavka Zupan and Mr Klemen Srna and prepared a well-elaborated concept. Mentors Mr Srna and Ms Zupan also shared some thoughts on project evaluation and searching for investors and prepared a short overview of possible funding options.
The mentorship concluded today with an internal debrief between CEP, external experts Mr Srna and Mrs Zupan, mentor Mr Mladenovič and mentees, followed by a public presentation of the mentorship and project plans prepared with the help of new knowledge gained during the mentorship, which will be elaborated and finalized during the project until the end of 2024.
Joining the closing event were also the representative of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ms Nataša Kos, Minister Plenipotentiary, who commended the successful activities of the mentorship and reaffirmed the support of Slovenia to Ukraine, and H.E Mr Andrii Taran, Ambassador of Ukraine to Slovenia, who commended the work of Bucha mentees and expressed his gratitude for the Slovenian support to Ukraine. Joining the event was also Dr Andrej Horvat, Deputy Director of U-LEAD with Europe Programme at GIZ, who expressed his support for project activities and emphasised the need for stronger support to efforts in Ukraine. Ms Nataša Goršek Mencin, Deputy Head of the European Commission Representation in Slovenia, reaffirmed the support of the European Commission to Ukrainian recovery efforts through the Ukraine Facility mechanism.
The ‘Post-conflict reconstruction in Ukraine’ project is funded by the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs through the Slovenian Aid and Partnerships and implemented in partnership with ‘U-LEAD with Europe’. U-LEAD with Europe programme is a partnership of the Ukrainian government and the European Union, and its member states Germany, Poland, Denmark and Slovenia, to support the establishment of multi-level governance that is transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of the population of Ukraine.