Small and medium-sized businesses in Lublin’s city centre are individually supported as the district is revived.
COUNTERACTING THE DECLINE OF A DISTRICT
The aim of this project is to increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Lublin’s city centre. Srodmiescie, once a shopping district, has been gradually losing its position as a centre of small trade and services because consumers prefer to go to larger shopping centres. The district also faces additional problems, such as higher unemployment (over 20%) compared to other parts of Lublin (5.4% in the whole city) and a higher rate of petty crime. This leads to an unfavourable perception of the district by Lublin’s inhabitants and fewer visits to the district for shopping.
SMALL, thriving BUSINESSES improve the COMMUNITY ATMOSPHERE
An important assumption of the project is to actively encourage the participation of entrepreneurs in the whole process – from individual consultancy, through to joint design processes, to executing the plan. The entrepreneurs' participation at each stage of the project is necessary to develop satisfactory solutions. During the recruitment process, due to the special character of the project's potential participants, traditional methods of project promotion, such personal meetings with entrepreneurs from the district, were favoured over wide-spread social media promotion. This provided a great opportunity to discuss the problems faced by entrepreneurs. The consequent infrastructural improvements have significantly affected the perception of the district by its inhabitants. Equally important are parallel activities that help to change residents' awareness, including initiatives activating and integrating the local community. That’s why there is a focus on supporting SMEs, which are often family businesses: they are the kind of company that grows into the local landscape and creates a positive community atmosphere.
ENTREPRENEURS BECOME AMBASSADORS
Over the last three years, this project has supported six Lublin entrepreneurs through individual business consultations and renovation of premises. Participation in the project has not only increased the interest of customers, but has also aroused enthusiasm for further work. An additional impact of the project is that participating entrepreneurs are now more willing to participate in other training programmes and conferences organised in the city, which strengthens the competencies necessary to run a successful business.