image2 03.05.2023

Printing entrepreneurs united into a cluster in Chojniki and made a breakthrough in delivering a new quality of printing services

By uniting in a printing cluster, local entrepreneurs have increased their competitiveness and created new jobs in the district.


Aliaksandr Marchanka, Coordinator, the ArtGo Cluster Cooperation of Entrepreneurs Providing Printing and Related Services initiative.

Photo: Yana Bondar/UNDP Belarus

Thanks to local cooperation and financial support from the European Union, an operational printing center with innovative equipment for making high-quality printed advertising, gift and promotional products for businesses and individuals, as well as a modern co-working space, has appeared in the Chojniki district of the Homieĺ region. Entrepreneurs have increased their competitiveness and created new jobs in the district. The project has been implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Belarus in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus.

Aliaksandr Marchanka runs a printing house in Chojniki. He has been in the printing business for more than a decade, and he is well aware of what challenges are hidden behind “both sides” of the printing press. There was always a demand for high quality printing services in the region, and lacking technical capacity could not satisfy it fully. If you are alone, it is difficult to procure expensive equipment, to deliver a technologically sophisticated or large order. To overcome these difficulties, local printers and entrepreneurs working in related domains decided to unite into a printing cluster. The cluster participants located the printing centre in a refurbished workshop of the old printing house. The merger has opened up new opportunities for each partner to expand the range of services, to reduce costs, and to increase revenues.


Siarhei Bandarenka, cluster member. The cluster members have created its brand name —  #PRINTINGALL — that fully reflects the essence of the centre.

Photo: Yana Bondar/UNDP Belarus

Cooperation benefits for SMEs

Establishing and developing clusters that ensure effective implementation of innovations — from designing to finding a specific consumer — is an important prerequisite for developing small and medium enterprises in the country’s regions.

Cluster initiatives improve resilience and competitiveness of the local economy through pooling resources, knowledge, supply chains of local businesses to produce goods and services, create new jobs, and foster business innovation.

New printing business opportunities

In this particular case, the project — Support to Economic Development at the Local Level in the Republic of Belarus — funded by the European Union, has helped the printing cluster to procure modern printing and computer equipment.

— We’ve procured a modern digital printer to print banners of sizes up to the SRA3 format (up to 1,200 mm) with photographic quality,” — explains Aliaksandr.

Now there is a place with the state-of-the-art printing equipment in the district, and the place operates as a shared community centre.


The entrepreneurs engaged in the cluster initiative provide many services. One of the partners makes book bindings, the other makes a digital layout and designs things, the third one delivers finished products, the fourth one shoots photos for family and gift pic albums.

Photo: Yana Bondar/UNDP Belarus

Today, professionals from Chojniki deliver even technically sophisticated orders. For example, they can print on metallized (gold, silver) films. This significantly expands the range of services and give-away products, and this is a tangible competitive advantage both in the district and beyond.

A co-working space for everyone

The printing centre has been located in a refurbished workshop of the old printing house. In addition, the cluster members have equipped a stylish co-working space there. The old elevator shaft has turned into a mini-kitchen; a “brainstorming station” has appeared: it is a technically equipped room for meetings, negotiations, and teleworking. The co-working services are free.

— We have always dreamed that the city would have such a space where each person could find a place to work or to have a business meeting. Clients can appreciate Internet connectivity, a meeting room and recreation areas. Our co-working space is an opportunity to change the location for those who telework, to pitch your product to clients, — says Aliaksandr, descripting the opportunities of the new place. – We have no exceptions: everyone can use the space. If you sew, if you knit: meet here. We are happy to support any entrepreneurial initiative. In the future, the co-working space will be rented out to local entrepreneurs, artisans, and others.

The inhabitants of Chojniki are just beginning to get acquainted with this place, but they have already managed to “suggest” new directions for its development to the cluster members. For example, hosting photo-shoots. Now here you can take a picture not only for your passport, but also for your soul, with your family; there is a place to prepare for photo-shooting, to change clothes, to do makeup, and to get a photo-shoot in different locations, — says Siarhei Bandarenka, photographer and another member of the cluster.


The printing house hosts a stylish co-working space: a hall for meetings, negotiations, and teleworking.

Photo: Yana Bondar/UNDP Belarus

Growth points

We want to invest in our district so that it develops. Personally, I dream that young people see opportunities for their own growth in their hometown and do not rush to leave. I am excited that we deliver high quality services on the spot, — says Aliaksandr.

Today, the cluster team can meet the most diverse needs not only of its own district, but also of the neighbouring ones: Brahin, Lojeǔ, Naroŭlia, and Rečyca districts. Technical equipment allows the team to take on what they used to order in large cities.

They are also focused on active business promotion three. For example, entrepreneurs have an idea to create an online storefront that will allow customers to suggest a design and order a T-shirt with a unique print or design a family photo album to be printed.


The entrepreneurs: members of the printing cluster.

Photo: Yana Bondar/UNDP Belarus

— It is always more difficult to earn start-up capital than to develop later. Therefore, I appreciate the support provided through the international technical assistance project for giving an opportunity to our entrepreneurs to make a significant breakthrough and to continue developing in their own domains together, — sums up Aliaksandr.

In total, the project has supported 18 cluster initiatives in 12 districts of Belarus.