The award opens the door to much sought-after funding within an industry in need of a cash injection.
Noreen Doyle, first vice president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), made the announcement at a ceremony in Kiev in December 2004. Agro Oven was selected by a six-person international jury including representatives from the EBRD, the National Bank of Ukraine and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID).
Jury members were impressed by Agro Oven's management and its operation of a state-of-the-art poultry meat-processing complex together with an environmentally friendly industrial waste treatment facility, and by the company's intention to create dozens of jobs for inhabitants of three nearby villages.
The company will receive a discount of 2.75 percentage points - worth tens of thousands of dollars - on a forthcoming loan from its local bank, PrivatBank. Representatives of Agro Oven and PrivatBank will also travel courtesy of Ukrainian International Airlines to London to meet similar British small businesses.
Runners-up, who will also receive free trips to the UK, were Sav-Service, a Kiev consumer goods distributor; Plastmodern, a producer of plastic packaging material based near Kiev; and Autoport-Chop, a dairy products producer in Uzhgorod, in western Ukraine.
The SME Business Project Competition, launched six months ago, was sponsored by DFID, the EBRD the National Bank of Ukraine and six Ukrainian commercial banks - Aggio, Aval, Nadra, PrivatBank, Ukragazprombank and VA Bank.
The competition was designed to let Ukrainian businesspeople demonstrate their strategic planning skills and ability to compete in the free market. An important achievement of this competition was to increase Ukrainian businesses' awareness of long-term financing available in the country through EBRD lines of credit.