Supporting economic development in Ukraine

Last month I had the privilege of participating in an international development program operated by Federation of Canadian Municipalities. My destination was Ukraine, where FCM runs the Municipal Local Economic Development Program.

Paul in UkraineI had a wonderful time in Kiev – both on professional development and personal ends of the spectrum.  The city is vibrant and has a bright eye to the future, not to mention a 25 cent per ride metro system, and will soon be hosting the finals of the second largest tournament in the world – UEFA’s European Soccer Championship. I have my fingers crossed that all the construction will be done!

Also with me were two great Canadians – Gerry Gabinet, Economic Director of Strathcona County in Alberta, and Jeff McConnell, Mayor of Virden, Manitoba. We were asked to deliver several presentations on Canada’s experiences with Local Economic Development and to participate in group discussions about the development of a LED “How To” manual and the completion of demonstration projects that the municipalities in the oblasts (provinces) of Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk are planning to undertake. Their eagerness to establish new economic development offices and, for those who are ready, start entrepreneurship initiatives, business retention/expansion programs and investment attraction campaigns was enjoyable to see.

FCM has other international programs with an emphasis on economic development. Not all require international travel – being a mentor community is a fantastic opportunity to assist. I would strongly encourage all of you to inquire and see how your skills can be of assistance.