Free online-consultations for Ukrainian entrepreneurs with leading international business experts through the OnFrontiers global marketplace
About the project
The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine together with the State Institution “Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office” with the support of the USAID Competitive Economy Program, offers small and medium enterprises (SMEs) new opportunities to strengthen their business and enter new markets by offering them access to specialized consulting services. sessions with international business experts at the OnFrontiers global marketplace.
The OnFrontiers Platform enables clients to identify and connect with external technical experts from around the world representing various types of industries and business niches with speed and precision through web-based consultations.
Ukrainian entrepreneurs will be able to hire international consultants free of charge to solve business problems in e-commerce, export development, digital transformation and many other topics, as well as strategic or narrow niche tasks of their business.
The following topics of free consultations will be available for Ukrainian entrepreneurs:
- Starting a business in the US, EU and other countries.
- Market research and preparation of marketing strategy.
- Intellectual property rights (IP).
- Digital transformation of SME business.
- Artificial intelligence (AI).
- Big data.
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
- Sustainable production.
- And many other types of consultations conducted by international experts depending on the request of entrepreneurs, as the OnFrontiers platform cooperates with more than 30,000 consultants from various fields and areas of expertise.
Thanks to consultations, entrepreneurs will be able to get the following opportunities, for example:
- to create a market-entry strategy anywhere in the world, including methods of identifying new customers or suppliers at target markets;
- learn requirements for production or supply of products (i.e. certification or specification issues) applied by international buyers or well-known global brands;
- understand the pricing or branding strategy applicable to different e-commerce tools and platforms;
- understand trends in changes in consumer requirements and expectations for products or services;
- receive feedback from experienced investors, experts and / or business leaders on the business model, products, solutions or services;
- and many other opportunities depending on the request of the enterprise.
Under the initiative, we plan to provide consultations for up to 50 SMEs or entrepreneurs via the OnFrontiers Platform.
What is OnFrontiers Platform?
The OnFrontiers Platform is a cost-effective and efficient consultant-matching service that enables clients to tap into a global network including more than 30,000 international experts from around the world, industries, activities and business niches who can be engaged as consultants to solve specific business issues.
Clients of the OnFrontiers platform are leading companies from the Fortune 500 list, as well as recognized global brands: Bose, Deloitte, OPIC, Rockefeller Foundation, DHL, The World Bank and others.
Why can OnFrontiers be useful for you?
Ensure direct connections with world-class experts according to business requirements, pre-verified and available anywhere in the world.
Eliminate administrative barriers to accessing the right experience by quickly selecting and agreeing on the right experts.
The Platform records consultations with experts so that the business can return to the conversation or disseminate it with its team or stakeholders.
Consultants are able to address the most narrow and specific business problems related to all geographies, markets, industries, sales channels.
How can you benefit from this pilot project?
You will get access to a broad network of international experts who have proven and practical experience that can help you successfully grow your business or strategize about entry to and development in your desired target markets. Experts will provide advice online and help solve your business problems. The OnFrontiers Platform will help you choose the expert who best suits your needs, and facilitate scheduling for these calls around your schedule.
Based on applications, the project organizers will select SMEs and entrepreneurs that meet the qualification criteria on a first-come, first-served basis. Each selected SME or entrepreneur will receive 2 consultations that can be used within 45 days via the OnFrontiers Platform.
How will the consultations work for selected SMEs and entrepreneurs?
Upon confirmation of an applicant’s selection for the program and registration on the OnFrontiers Platform, a company or entrepreneur will have 45 days to do consultations.
A research manager assigned by OnFrontiers will help you refine your request, and assist you through the consultant search and matching process.
Consultations are delivered by appointment and the platform has a built-in, automated scheduling feature that makes coordination between experts and clients seamless and efficient.
All consultations are provided in English, so it is important that a company representative who will participate in the consultation is fluent in English.
Typical consultations take up to one hour.
Consultations are recorded, and if necessary, clients can access a transcript of the consultation for their records.
45 days after consultations are granted, the unused balance is returned to the organizers to give other program participants the opportunity to make use of these credits.
Criteria for selecting SMEs and entrepreneurs to participate in the program:
To be selected for the program, an enterprise or entrepreneur must meet the following criteria:
І. You are a Ukrainian bona fide enterprise or entrepreneur, and namely:
- The initiative is open to Ukrainian enterprises of any form of ownership (sole proprietorships and legal entities) from any region of Ukraine, which are officially registered and are micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in accordance with the Commercial Code of Ukraine, and carry out their activities in Ukraine, as well as operate in other countries;
- At least 51% of the company’s shares are held by citizens of Ukraine (according to the Articles of Association).
- The enterprise is not located and does not operate within the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
- The enterprise does not operate in the Russian Federation and is not on the sanctions list.
- The enterprise is not engaged in the production of/trade in weapons, tobacco and alcohol.
- The enterprise is not in the process of discontinuation or bankruptcy.
- The enterprise has its own website or social media pages.
- The enterprise is not engaged in providing professional advice to other entrepreneurs and does not provide such services on a regular basis.
ІІ. You are seeking expert advice with intent to advance a new or specific business opportunity for your business, that will result in any of the following results:
- Increase existing sales or create new ones by attracting new customers;
- Attract additional investments or funding;
- Create new jobs;
- Improve management practice in the enterprise;
- Successfully enter a new export market;
- Streamline business processes at your enterprise.
ІІІ. Your request to the consultant is specific and can be considered immediately:
- you can clearly and in detail describe your request and business problem;
- you can articulate exactly which consultants you need, in what field, and what experience or business profile they should have;
- you clearly understand exactly why you need such a consultant to solve your business request;
- your request to the organizers of the initiative and the consultant will be clear.
ІV. OnFrontiers online consultations are the best way (or most efficient way) to solve your business problem:
- You can solve your business problem or get the feedback you need from an online consultant with a consultation
V. You or your staff are fluent in written and spoken English for easy communication with OnFrontiers experts.
VI. Within 6 and 12 months after participating in the program, your enterprise will provide information about your business results (described in “Section II” herein) that will be used solely for USAID CEP’s internal reporting.
How are the selection and consultation processes conducted?
We encourage entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises that meet the qualification criteria described above to apply.
You should submit the succinct application based on the form attached below, specifically filling in the required fields. When submitting the application, an entrepreneur agrees with the terms of the project and provides his/her consent on processing the personal data.
*Following the application submission, the program organizers (specialists of the USAID Competitive Economy Program) will review your application and decide whether or not to include your company in the project. Only fully completed applications and those that meet the eligibility criteria (Section VI “Criteria for selecting SMEs”) can be qualified for participation.
In case of a positive decision, further guidelines will be sent to you in an email.
Your application will be forwarded to the OnFrontiers Marketplace managers, who will contact you regarding the OnFrontiers registration process.
The OnFrontiers Marketplace manager will help you refine your inquiry for consultants and then curate a list of the best experts that meet your business request. On a rolling basis, you will be notified that identified experts have been suggested for your review. Once you have selected an expert, you will be able to schedule a consultation with your chosen expert.OnFrontiers will usually offer 3-4 experts who best fit your application, and there is no charge applied until you choose a consultant whom you would like to speak with and book the meeting on the specific date.
You coordinate the time of your consultations and take part in them. You are doing consultations within 45 calendar days, and the unused balance is returned at the end of this period and you will no longer be able to sign up for a free consultation.
You receive online consultations, leave feedback, and gain access to the voice recording of the call. If desired, you may apply for access to a written transcript record of the call (if written transcripts are necessary, an additional portion of credits will apply).
The initiative organizers will contact you approximately 6 and 12 months after your consultation to get your feedback and better understand how/if consulting had an impact on your business development.
Up to 50 entrepreneurs and SMEs are expected to take advantage of consultations through OnFrontiers and strengthen their business, with each enterprise receiving 2 consultations with experts.
Who provides consultations for entrepreneurs?
International experts verified by the global marketplace OnFrontiers. You will be able to see their full profile, experience and answers to previous searches / inquiries of entrepreneurs, as well as ratings and reviews after consultations.
Success stories and examples of OnFrontiers consultations
- Company in the market of animal feed in Nigeria. The experts helped to obtain information on the local poultry market, the local aquaculture market, the local feed market, including demand drivers, structure, key players, industry dynamics.
- Satellite Satellite Solutions Project in Angola. The customer evaluated the possibilities of providing satellite solutions for the state, such as disaster management, e-health and communication in rural areas. The experts helped to understand the problems of ICT communication in Angola, to brainstorm current and future government initiatives that can be provided through satellite communications, as well as industry factors that may affect the market entry of new entrants.
- A financial company that provides payday loans in 11 markets in Africa and Latin America. The experts analyzed in which areas the team should conduct further research on regulatory policy and the risks associated with the provision of payday loans, as well as what requirements should be applied to borrowers.
- Solar energy project in Costa Rica. The experts helped to understand the impact of current / expected regulation, policy and economic factors on the scale of distributed solar generation in Costa Rica, as well as how the market may develop in the future, such as tariff structure, energy pricing, constraints.
- East Africa Geothermal Energy Project. The experts helped to get acquainted with the energy and renewable energy sectors in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya.
Frequently asked questions by users. FAQ
1. Do I need to prepare for a consultation?
It is best to prepare yourself for the consultation in order for it to be as effective as possible. Gather the basic information about your company: i.e., business description, type of activities you are involved with, website, marketing materials in an online format, information on production, characteristics of existing problems, success stories, etc. Prepare a list of questions relevant to your concern. We encourage you to send this information to the consultant in advance so he/she can read them before meeting with you. We also recommend that you prepare talking points for a conversation with a consultant to make effective use of your time.
2. What to take with you for a consultation?
Widen your question with additional information (relevant documents) about your idea or company. For instance, if you have a consultation on marketing issues, please share your marketing strategy, plan, and analysis of their effectiveness.
3. Are all the consultations free?
All consultations under this program are free for entrepreneurs and companies whose applications are approved by the organizers. For those with unapproved applications or for newcomers, we advise learning about the OnFrontiers Platform features and determine how to use them to strengthen your business.
4. How many consultations can I get?
We expect that each participant will receive 2 consultations and will be able to professionally elaborate a specific business problem, test business hypotheses or review business strategy.
5. Who will consult me? Do the consultants have experience?
OnFrontiers consultants are competent experts in a wide range of countries, industries and types of business. The OnFrontiers Marketplace offers access to over 30,000 consultants, and you can pick those with experience or previous projects that precisely meet and understand your needs.
6. Will the private information about my company be saved during the consultation?
OnFrontiers records conversations with consultants, which are available to the registered OnFrontiers user free of charge. Written transcripts can also be requested. Your personal data and business information are not passed on to third parties and are used by the organizers only for interaction within the initiative and to improve the efficiency of consultants and the service in general.