Strengthening small and medium enterprises business membership organizations project

Transformation of the UAFM through participation in the Strengthening small and medium enterprises business membership organizations project

The Ukrainian Association of Furniture Manufacturers is one of the seven business associations selected by the United Nations Development Program to participate in the Strengthening small and medium enterprises business membership organizations project.


On February 5th of the 2016, the Ukrainian Association of Furniture and Furniture signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the United Nations Development Program in Ukraine (UNDP).

The project “Strengthening of Business Unions of Small and Medium Enterprises” is being implemented by the United Nations Development Program in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine and with the financial support of the State Secretariat of Switzerland for Economic Affairs (SECO). The project assignment is to create conditions in which small and medium enterprises of Ukraine will feel and understand their own subjectity, their own potential as the main engine of social and economic development of the country. The organizers sought to accelerate the development of small and medium-sized businesses in Ukraine by strengthening the capacity of member business associations, as well as the transformation of business associations, and through them – and the business environment of Ukraine as a whole.

The two-year cooperation with the UNDP has increased organizational capacity and led to the transformation of both the executive directorate of the UAFM and became a catalyst for the development of the Association’s member companies.

The president, members of the board, executive management team and active members of the UAFM had an opportunity to study at the Kyiv-Mohyla Business School on the long-term training program “Strengthening the business associations of small and medium enterprises”, receive consultations and knowledge from the best mentors, experts in different directions development of the Association. A separate focus of the training was the expansion of the personal and professional outlook of the program participants, the ability to see wider contexts, themselves and their organizations in the context of wider systems.

On 9 – 11th March of 2016, an invited expert – Alexander Osvald, the Director of the Center for Work with Eastern Europe and Asia of the German Association of Furniture and Woodworking Industry, arrived in the framework of cooperation with UNDP in Ukraine to communicate with the Board, the Directorate and the regular active members of the UAFM Association. Also, within the framework of the UAFM Round Table meeting on March 10, experts from environmental ISO and FSC certification came forward.

An important part of the training in the project was participation in webinars. In them the members of the Association considered such important issues as: the basics of strategy and communication, useful tools of Internet marketing, strategy of development of Association pages in social networks. The speaker of this webinar was Anton Voronyuk, the head of the academy WEbPromoExperts. It is worth noting the webinar with the external HR-expert of the project Svetlana Hekht on “Personnel motivation”. Also, a webinar by Roman Krasovsky, during which it was considered how a public or charitable organization to obtain licensed software. Participants learned about TechSoup, the Technology Support Program of NGOs in Ukraine, which provides access to licensed software from Microsoft, Autodesk, Slack, and others. The process of registering on the TechSoup platform was found and how to quickly and securely order and obtain licensed software.

A free online conference on “An Integrated Approach to Working with Online Channels” was held – 10 reports with practical examples, case studies and personal experience (6 hours of live broadcast with the best specialists).

On February 15teen of 2017, the XXXVIII Kaizen-club meeting of the UAFM “Financial Marketing” took place. Vladlen Sysoun, UNDP Project Coordinator, Marketing and Finance Manager for Small Business, shared experience in financial marketing and management accounting. During the event, they talked about financial transparency, public management accounting as a prerequisite for attracting international partners and financial marketing and how to win the winner in a protracted price war.

On March 25th of 2017, the Strategic Session of the UAFM with the Kyiv-Mohyla Business School Coach Oleksiy Romanenko was held: “Identification of the mission, vision and purpose of the association” in which the client line, strategy, vision and mission of the UAFM were considered and built. Fruitful cooperation, active interaction and proper vectors from the mentor brought their results.

The new vision sounds like – UAFM is the center for the creation and development of furniture clusters in Ukraine and the center of expertise, education and association. Every furniture production seeks to become a member of our Association. UAFM is the political voice of the furniture industry.

To measure the achievement of the vision by 2025, qualitative and quantitative goals have been formed.

Qualitative goals:

  • Creating a trust field among the owners of furniture companies;
  • Creating a furniture cluster;
  • Adding furniture companies to international ecosystems;
  • Officially recognized speaker of the entire furniture industry before the government, the media and international organizations.

Quantitative goals:

  • By the year 2025, the Ukrainian Association of Furniture Manufacturers brings together 60% of companies in the furniture market of Ukraine, which generate $ 5 billion in turnover per year, of which 50% is high value-added grocery.

On May 26th of 2017, members of the UAFM with Oleksiy Romanenko in the framework of the project held a Project Session, which considered the project plan, its construction, the difficulties that arise during the project implementation and emphasized the emphasis that must be taken into account within the project logic . It is worth noting that clear formulation and discussion of the smallest details with coach facilitates the vision and preparation of the UAFM’s project activity.

On September 27th of 2017, within the framework of the Design Living Tendency exhibition, a conference “Strategy for the Development of Ukrainian Furniture Manufacturers on the Internal and External Markets” was held, attended by over 60 owners and managers of furniture business. At the conference, the participants discussed new opportunities offered by furniture companies through international development programs and how design can become the main competitive advantage in the furniture industry. At the conference speakers and experts were representatives of the EBRD: Small Business Advice in Ukraine, UNDP Ukraine / UNDP Ukraine, Export Promotion Office / Export Promotion Office and well-known Ukrainian designers – Vitaliy Ivakhov, Olga Bogdanova and ODESD2.

The important consultations were held by the expert of the UNDP project “Strengthening Small Businesses’ Association”, Director of the CompassGroup Audit Company, Larisa Shkurka: “VAT in a non-profit organization: what you need to know, so as not to miss it”. During this consultation, the members of the Association considered: what is the ratio of VAT to a non-profit organization, when a non-profit organization can become a VAT payer, as well as being an object of taxation for NGOs.

Members of the Ukrainian Association of Furniture Manufacturers, as part of the UNDP project “Strengthening Small and Medium Business Units”, also learned about the results of studies prepared by the United Nations Development Program based on open data of the Unified State Register of Enterprises and Organizations of Ukraine (EDRPOU).

A community was created in the facebook social network, which allowed members of the Association to publish their own business organization’s presentation, ask for partners, submit a proposal for a coalition, share their own case with problem solving, tell about the new services of your organization, present a development expert BO to other organizations, to quickly share news about new grants and contests.

In 2017, the executive directorate of the UAFM managed to organize 19 events, attract 22 new members to the Association and build relationships with 5 partner organizations:


  • EBRD;
  • UNDP;
  • Export Promotion Office at the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Ukraine;
  • Smart people;
  • Office of the Council of Business Ombudsman.


Gradually an analysis of all the participants was conducted on the active involvement of the Association in the work they received from membership, during which all those wishing to have been given the opportunity to leave the Association, however, over a short period the UAFM has grown to more than 50 new members, and Now it has 121 companies, which are set up for joint growth and work for the development and prosperity of the furniture industry in Ukraine. Thus, based on the results of an internal survey on the use of the UAFM members for staying in the Association, as well as for peer review from the UNDP, we received high estimates of the level of satisfaction with the services we received (92% rated 4-5), 85% of those surveyed want to stay a member of the UAFM, and a clear proof of a high level of trust among the UAFM members is 100% of membership fees and an active visit to the events of the Association.

In general, thanks to such cooperation of the Ukrainian Association of Furniture Manufacturers with UNDP, we laid the foundations for further growth and development. Strengthening of the UAM’s potential has allowed the Association to be more effective and resilient, and the best services and services for the UAFM members.

With all the training materials in the framework of the UNDP Project “Strengthening Small Businesses’ Business Unions” are free and constantly available to everyone on YouTube and in the section “Academy of Business Unions” from UNDP on the website of the National SME Platform, more photos and publications about the work in the project can be found on the social network Facebook for hashtag #undp_bmo.


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