Integra Flags Neil Lessman
Integra Russia, Russia:
Business Solutions to Poverty in Russia.

Current Need: $70,100
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Home > Partners > Integra Russia's Mission

Need:
The triple threat of poverty, unemployment and corruption decreases the quality of life for millions of people living in the post-communist nations of Eurasia. When people are given the chance to pour their life savings and energy into their own companies, they are making an investment in the future of their families, their neighborhood and their nation.

Mission:
Integra Russia works to alleviate poverty, reduce unemployment and help transform communities by supporting the development of hundreds of small businesses in the depressed and developing areas of Eurasia. We help these businesses become "Islands of Integrity" that operate with integrity, profitability and justice thus becoming responsible contributors to the transformation of their own communities. Integra business leaders will be committed to:

  • Long-term local presence
  • Growth and profitability
  • Transparent and ethical business practice
  • Excellent financial and social value to their stakeholders
  • Investment in community development

Strategy:
We offer practical and professional help for entrepreneurs to start and grow their business. We provide finance and entrepreneurial training to help the poor climb out of poverty. We also promote practical marketplace ethics and corporate social responsibility, thus helping to strengthen civil society, democracy and the free market economy in these countries. Some programs we have developed to reach these goals are:

1. - "Women At Risk" Entrepreneur Training and Microcredit
We support women who can provide the basics for their family, but have no other resources to establish an independent business. For these women we have a special two-day training program on business planning and financial management. After the seminar we choose the best business plan(s) to receive a micro loan for developing their project further. As mentors, loan officers encourage women to join the process of transformation of their communities by raising societal standards by putting the principles of honesty, validity, transparency, and responsibility to work in their business!

Results: Since 2006 six to ten seminars a year were run in Moscow and the Moscow region. Out team has also worked in Kaluga, Tver and St. Petersburg. We surveyed 320 participants in Integra seminars and 215 responded. Of these 15% already had a business when they came to the seminar, 16% opened a business soon after our seminar, and 32% still intended to start a business. 37% clearly did not plan to become entrepreneurs in the near future.

2. - Loans for entrepreneurs (SME Lending)
This program is designed to support businessmen in Moscow and the Moscow region who officially registered their business and have been operating at least six months. For businessmen from different cities we provide information about local sources of financing. We actively build partnering relations with banks, leasing and investment companies. We also assist entrepreneurs receive funding by helping prepare business plans, conduct market research, prepare needed documents, and negotiations. Integra does not offer loans to organizations in the gaming business or that trade in weapons, alcohol, or tobacco. See examples in Our News.

3. - Consulting and Mentoring Services for businesses
We help businessmen, entrepreneurs and managers to share their experience with each other, grow professionally and support social projects by offering one-to-one consultations and small group mentoring or "business clubs".

Funding Goal:

  • $70,082 for Financial Literacy and "Master Class" Entrepreneurial training for orphans, recovering addicts, displaced non-Russians and women "at-risk".

Results:
Over the last 4 years Integra Russia consulted more than 900 entrepreneurs from different cities and towns of Russia. Projects and questions varied from starting a small shop in an open-air market to developing a big agricultural company.

Integra Russia supports three business-clubs in Siberia (Irkutsk, Chita, Ulan-Ude) and will open another in Moscow.