With funding from the European Union under the EU4Business initiative, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has helped TUT.BY MEDIA – the local market leader in the digital media industry in the country – to grow in size and diversify its client base, as well as improve its management processes and planning, entering new markets and increasing its turnover by 48%.
The main business of the company is the TUT.by news portal, which encompasses a number of sub-channels (i.e. sport.tut.by, lady.tut.by), and its main source of revenue is advertising.
The main challenge for the company was to define its future growth strategy and then execute it.
The company was heavily dependent on the brand advertising market in Belarus and had a very high share in the online advertising market. This prevented the company from growing further, given the small size of the Belarussian advertising market, the not very promising macroeconomic prospects in the country and the increasing online competition, especially from foreign players such as Yandex, Mail.ru, and Google.
In order to grow, the company needed to develop its organisational structure and introduce better operational processes, which is where EU4Business and the EBRD stepped in to help.
As part of its Advice for Small Businesses (ASB) programme, the EBRD connected TUT.BY MEDIA with a team of international experts from Poland, who:
- Conducted 10 visits to the company’s headquarters in Minsk
- Organised 2 business matching trips to Warsaw and 10+ thematic workshops
- Helped the company to develop a 3-year business planning
- Reviewed the company’s strategic priorities and revenue channels
- Helped set up financial budgeting and investment planning
- Developed key operational areas, such as sales and content management.
In addition, an Accounting and Financial Reporting Improvement project was implemented to ensure that the company’s financial statements meet IFRS standards.
As a result, the overall changes implemented during the project enabled the company to improve its operational and financial performance. The company was able to define its long-term goals through the development of a 3-year strategic plan, which included the introduction of strategic initiatives such as the implementation of programmatic advertisement and a new format of video news. In addition, the company conducted a critical analysis of its current portfolio vs. market opportunities and decided to sell its non-core assets to a strategic investor.
Overall, the project strengthened the company’s ability to identify new market trends and tap into these, developing new products and establishing new partnerships.
As a result of the project, the company’s turnover rose by 48%, earnings before tax were up 20%, export sales more than doubled, and the number of employees rose by 35%.
EBRD Advice for Small Businesses
The EBRD Advice for Small Businesses programme, funded in the Eastern Partnership countries by the EU under its EU4Business initiative, aims to promote good management in the SME sector by providing assistance to individual enterprises, helping them to grow their businesses. It supports SMEs to make structural changes and develop new business skills, helping them to thrive and compete in market economies. The programme also enables SMEs to access local consulting services on a cost-sharing basis by providing grants of up to €10,000.
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