Ukrainian entrepreneurs do not get used to the role of a leader. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, they have been supporting the Ukrainian resistance forces in every possible and extreme way, and at the same time they continue to build a national-scale service that is rapidly becoming known outside the country.
Creating communities is one of the key tools for the development of Ukraine and its economy
If we look at the number of business communities in the USA or in European countries, we will see a significant difference from the situation in Ukraine. There are many times more of them, which shows the civility of business and its responsibility.
In our country, the culture of business communities is still associated, rather, with elite clubs for businessmen than with business associations that can move the country forward with their vision and jointly formed vision.
This is how foreign business communities work, where entrepreneurs can quickly coordinate and find the right solution together, despite different opinions and positions. This forms a certain ecosystem and gives strength to business, as well as creates favorable conditions for its interaction with the government and society.
The more such associations in the country, the better, because it is an indicator of its social capital. Economists, scientists and social psychologists have long proven the fact that the economic success of the country depends on the level of such capital.
This is easy to explain, because in such a society it is easier for people to unite, talk to each other and solve any problems together. This in many ways shows trust in each other.
And, as you know, countries with a high level of trust quickly become stronger and more powerful. This can be compared to the coming of age of the country, and we all saw it with the example of Ukraine, when there was a full-scale invasion.
At that time, Ukraine was covered by a network of tens of thousands of associations, which not only donated to the army, but also solved extremely vital issues. This is the same social capital that we must not lose, but on the contrary – we must preserve it and develop it further. This is something that we have failed in previous years, so we must not fail in the following ones.
In the restoration of Ukraine, business should take the leadership role
During the full-scale invasion, millions of Ukrainians left abroad. Most of them are unlikely to return unless the country undergoes long-awaited changes, which it has badly needed in recent years.
If this does not happen, then people will deliberately remain in countries that once passed all those turbulent times that we are going through now. Therefore, our task after the end of the war is to create in Ukraine as cozy and safe a home as Europe is now for those who left. And this responsibility can be assumed by the business, since entrepreneurs never get used to the leadership role.
It should be understood that no one, except Ukrainians, is interested in this process. Yes, we have reliable partners who provide us with strong support, but our recovery is absolutely not their problem or concern.
By helping us, they defend the democratic values of the civilized world and at the same time protect themselves from the aggressor, but the direct responsibility for reconstruction and further life in Ukraine lies only with us.
The Belgian taxpayer should not pay the salaries of Ukrainian teachers. Therefore, business must take on this task: increase its influence, create a scheme of cooperation with civil society and the authorities, and also play a more decisive position in determining the rules of the game.
Entrepreneurs are the driving class of Ukraine
Few people understand this, because we inherited the habit of underestimating business from the Soviet Union.
In Ukraine, there are many stereotypes about entrepreneurs who run their own business. The first is that they are as unscrupulous as we saw in the 90s. This is a common practice, because in those days there were really a lot of not the most pleasant stories.
However, this picture is completely different now, because business in Ukraine today is about philosophy, values and the creative process. It is about an attempt to bring something new, useful and interesting into the life of society: something that was not there before.
Therefore, the main task that every Ukrainian entrepreneur faces today is to create something that will facilitate and improve the lives of people who will use his services, products and services.
The second stereotype is largely related to the fact that most of the so-called benefits that we had in the past were created at the expense of the state for a long time. The role of business at that time was minimal and it gradually turned into a stereotype that business works only for its own good.
Let’s take for example the same high-rise buildings built during the Soviet Union. In most of them, tap water still flows from those pipes that were laid in those times. At the same time, if we look at the countries of Europe or America, we will hardly find anything there that was created and generated by the state, and not by private business.
Because their business has a century of success, crises, bankruptcy and development, unlike Ukraine, where the state laid the main infrastructure independently, minimizing this role for entrepreneurs.
The main regulator for business should be healthy competition, not state inspections
Even now, during a full-scale war, foreign investors and businesses that are considering ways to enter the Ukrainian market are interested in Ukraine. If this happens, then such a step, firstly, will give a great impetus to the country’s economic development, and secondly, it will significantly increase competition, motivating entrepreneurs.
This should motivate, not scare, because healthy competition is an important driver of development and scaling for any business.
Although so far we are observing a different trend – the driver is a large number of inspections and regulations. This is a bad engine, with which it is extremely difficult to achieve the well-being of the country.
But if we really want to acquire and multiply it, then the state should reduce its role and give development paths to entrepreneurs, who, in turn, will have more freedom and be able to compete more actively among themselves, which will become a powerful and healthy regulator for business.
Striving for freedom and well-being – a portrait of a modern Ukrainian entrepreneur
The strength of Ukraine lies in its multiculturalism, nationality and religiosity. If it was necessary to describe our country in one word, it would be the word “freedom”. We are a very freedom-loving nation that has created a society where different cultures, customs and views can coexist.
By our character, we resemble a very hardworking owner who takes care of his own household, always has supplies and strives for the main thing – well-being. And this description clearly reflects modern entrepreneurship in Ukraine. We should be more aware of this energy and use it to achieve the future good of our country.
“Dialogues about the future” is a project of CEO Club Ukraine aimed at crystallization and rethinking of key ideas, narratives and strategies of Ukraine’s development in various spheres. In conversations with leading intellectuals, politicians, public figures, entrepreneurs and experts, the outlines of the vision of the new Ukraine and the way to its realization are formed. The conversation with Vyacheslav Klymov was conducted by Serhii Haydaichuk, founder and president of CEO Club Ukraine.