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Driving Local Investment in Ukraine

Crimean Tatar artisans and NGOs are sharing their heritage by promoting cultural tourism, applying new business skills, and driving private investment for Ukraine.
Rustem Skibin was born in Uzbekistan, but he considered Crimea his motherland. Like many Crimean Tatars, his grandparents were expelled during Joseph Stalin’s regime. When the Crimean Tatars began returning to Crimea in the 1990s, Rusten was among them.
 
An artisan, he began a business making and selling traditional Crimean Tatar ceramics and ornaments. However, he needed to build his business skills to create a successful enterprise. “We as artists mostly do creative work. We create things,” he says, but notes, “it is very important to know how to sell our products and operate. The LINC project helps us a lot with that.”
  
A partnership between USAID and Chemonics, the Local Investment and National Competitiveness project, called LINC, is strengthening the Ukrainian economy by using municipal and regional economic strategic planning to drive local investment and increase national competitiveness.
 
The cultural tourism sector is a promising opportunity, particularly for entrepreneurs who live on the Crimean peninsula. LINC helped Rustem and other local artisans to better market their products by improving design and packaging and linking them with buyers. 
 
“It brings me income,” he says, “which allows me to sustain my family, develop my skills.”
 
However, he is not content to leave it at that. He teaches his art — and the business and marketing skills he has learned — to others interested in breaking into the field. “It is very important to preserve and develop this tradition, because it represents Crimea.”
 
LINC has also worked with a local organization, the Odun Bazaar Qapusi Center, which promotes Crimean Tatar culture and tourism. LINC and the center organized and designed ethnographic tours and developed a strategic plan to increase awareness of Crimean Tatar cultural tourism, including a pricing structure, a promotional campaign, model agreements, and proposals for cooperation with tourist agencies, tour operators, and excursion bureaus. The center has created more than 100 local jobs.
 
Through LINC, USAID and Chemonics have partnered with local organizations and businesses to promote more than $4 billion in investment and create 28,000 jobs.
 
Read more about the Local Investment and National Competitiveness project, or see the project’s photos on Flickr.

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