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Community gives SMEs a much-needed boost

By MA ZHENHUAN in Ningbo, Zhejiang | China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-05 10:01
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Instead of working in a residential community, Shi Mengyan, Party secretary of Lingfeng Industrial Community in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, has been serving enterprises and workers for eight years.

The industrial community is an innovative practice that the city's Beilun district launched to boost the development of manufacturing companies. In the communities, enterprises and workers are the "residents". A grid-based management system is utilized where each community is divided into several grids and social workers are assigned to each to help deal with problems the residents face.

The community in Lingfeng, established in 2015, is the poster child for the 15 industrial communities in Beilun.

"It was an abandoned factory in 2015," Shi recalled about her arrival in Lingfeng. She split her tasks into two parts: renovating buildings and visiting enterprises. To get familiar with the mold-making industry, she visited workshops to learn about production techniques and procedures.

"I wasn't good at doing any of them but I had to tough it out," she said.

In about two months, she had learned about all the enterprises in the community. She found that the majority of them were small and medium-sized and most employees were migrant workers new to the city.

Since then, various activities, including singing contests, mountain climbing and matchmaking fairs have been held in the community periodically.

To help workers learn about various policies, authorities are invited to hold classes, social workers offer hands-on teaching in filling out application forms, and a "policy market" has been launched to offer one-to-one guidance.

Shi writes a long to-do list with multiple items in her notebook, including holding an online job fair, introducing skills training classes for workers and launching a Saturday childcare program.

For Shi, these are all important and urgent tasks that are closely related to the development of enterprises and workers.

"We feel attached to the community. We are working while enjoying our lives," said He Yanlong, a young worker from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks greatly challenged enterprises in resuming work and production at the beginning of 2020. Shi was also swamped with messages and calls from the enterprises.

She visited each company, learned about all the problems they faced, and helped tackle them one after another.

To help standardize epidemic prevention measures, she took the lead in the city to launch the Enterprise Epidemic Prevention List. The community organized chartered buses to bring migrant workers back to Beilun.

In two weeks, the production resumption rate of the enterprises in Lingfeng reached 96 percent.

Yu Yin in Ningbo contributed to this story.

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