How Does Ukrainian Government Help Its Local Entrepreneurs and Businesses?

How Does Ukrainian Government Help Its Local Entrepreneurs and Businesses?

During times of war, businesses and entrepreneurs are in a desperate need of help and support – Ukraine is no exception. Despite the fact that Russian military forces, led by Vladimir Putin, are actively trying to destroy Ukraine, the government of Ukraine is making every effort to save the country’s economy and let businesses thrive. In this great struggle one state institution – Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office, stands out.

Forbes Georgia had a remarkable opportunity to interview Andrii Remizov, the acting director of Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office of Ukraine.

Mr. Remizov, could you tell us what kind of support can Ukrainian entrepreneurs get during the war, and does the state or the government help private businesses during these times?

Two years before the start of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, in February 2020, the first and only national project for the development of entrepreneurship and export promotion – Diia.Business was launched by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. In 2021, Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office joined the implementation of the project. Today, Diia.Business helps Ukrainians at all stages of business development, from funding the business ideas to entering in new international markets. This project has two components: a business portal, which is a one-stop online shop and a network of support centers in regions for Ukrainian entrepreneurs. At the moment, we have 12 support centers around the country, and the online business portal contains all the necessary information for starting and developing a successful business. We have more than 130 business ideas for potential entrepreneurs and also have templates of necessary legal documents for starting a business. Ukrainian entrepreneurs can also access more than 50 free online consultation services for SMEs about various topics, such as: taxation, auditing, business registration and creating a business plan. In total, we offer more than 30 free online services to potential entrepreneurs. As of today, Diia.Business online portal has been visited more than 3 million times and support centers for entrepreneurs has already been visited about 45,000 times.

Those are impressive numbers!

Yes, thank you!

Since the beginning of the war, we have launched several information sections on the portal, where we have collected all the necessary information about existing business support and relocation programs. We have information about state donor and private support programs in war conditions, also we can offer information about assistance programs for Ukrainians who were forced to leave their homes and evacuated to Poland, Germany, UK or other countries. We also launched an informational service for Ukrainian exporters, which contains information on requirements for exporting during wartime, state and private support programs, search service and other tools. Also, we launched the special virtual center for forcibly displaced people from Ukraine. Diia virtual center is an innovative hotline format, where a specialist can give free advice on how to register a business in the EU or how to find a job or some social guarantees in foreign countries.

So, can we safely say that you’re giving all this strategic information free of charge for the entrepreneurs?

Yes, sure. It’s a form of governmental support and we provide those services for SMEs for free.

That’s quite interesting. Also, I was wondering, during these challenging times, how did Ukrainian businesses adapt to the war?

Ukrainian businesses have suffered colossal shock and loss during the first months of the war. We’ve launched a special initiative for analyzing the state of Ukrainian businesses. According to statistical estimates, only in March exports from Ukraine have decreased 50%. Unfortunately, about 47% of entrepreneurs have completely or partially stopped working. The war also has intensified closure of businesses in Ukraine, on average 13,000 business entities were closing every month. Currently, Ukrainian businesses show a slow but positive recovery almost every month. For example: currently, the number of completely stopped entities is about 34%, so we can see some positive dynamics here. Since the end of August export has increased, which is mostly connected with the unblocking of seaports.

It’s always great to hear positive news from Ukraine and in particular in the export direction. My next question is about new opportunities for Ukrainian manufacturers. For example, how does Ukraine help its manufacturers to master new international markets and promote their products abroad?             

Other than providing above-mentioned services free of charge, our office also organizes special exhibitions for Ukrainian manufacturers and their products, where they can meet new potential clients and partners. Moreover, we regularly organize B2B meetings with foreign companies. In total, Ukrainian companies held more than 700 B2B meetings with potential foreign partners.
We have a special online platform for exporters, where entrepreneurs can get information about: market trends, demand, prices, competitors, recommendations and legal requirements of a specific foreign country.

Well, that’s quite impressive. I’d say I’ve never heard of a service like that on the governmental level. Also, I would like to ask, where can foreign companies look for business partners in Ukraine? For example, if they want to partner with Ukrainian companies, is there any kind of special platform for it?

Yes, sure. We have also developed a special web-page, which is an online catalog of Ukrainian exporters. Foreign companies can use this special online tool to find partners in Ukraine. This catalog contains verified, up-to-date database of 500 Ukrainian companies, which ready to supply products abroad even in wartime conditions.

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