Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine became a test not only for Ukraine itself but also for the entire civilized world. At the same time, the war forced many people, in particular, entrepreneurs, to reevaluate their values. In times of crisis, issues of partnership, charity, and responsibility become most prominent.
Oleg Krot, the Managing Partner of TECHIIA Holding, an entrepreneur with Ukrainian roots, analyzed these changes in his column for delo.ua. ValiantCEO publishes his main theses.
1. Entrepreneurs are rethinking the importance of philanthropy
Oleg stresses that Ukrainian businessmen hold the economic front and give everything they can to support the defenders and the civilian population. “This is the perfect case when a moral call is firmly in tune with logic: if you don’t support your country today, you won’t have anyone or anything to work with tomorrow.,” says the entrepreneur.
He explains that modern entrepreneurs see their consumers as participants in the business process. Success is impossible without a paying audience. Accordingly, society must live well enough to consume products and services.
In this case, the business must implement strategic social projects in the territories where it operates. These include educational initiatives or assistance to the health care system. Solutions can be quick or long-term, depending on how many years or decades the business is looking ahead.
According to Oleg Krot, the same budget could be used to send 20 children for surgery abroad — or to set up a modern surgery in the region to help talented doctors operate on children locally. Similarly, with education, instead of sending students abroad, we can create educational programs or entire institutions of a modern format in the country.
“The usual “contribution-benefit” marketing approach does not work in social initiatives,” emphasizes Oleg. — Businesses invest in well-being often blindly and because of their values, not understanding when and how a good deed might benefit them back. And whether it will benefit them at all. They simply invest, because it is a social norm, a form of gratitude to the places and people with whom the company grew up and in which community it develops.”
He is sure that after the victory, the habit of helping others will stay with us.
2. Businessmen got clear criteria for choosing partners
According to Oleg, the invasion of Russia revealed a simple criterion for choosing partners: either they help Ukraine protect its freedom, or they don’t. The war became a valuable watershed for business.
“In the first weeks after February 24, I put business matters aside and immersed myself in setting up the humanitarian aid system,” Oleg Krot recalls. — The lion’s share of time was and still is spent on negotiations with foreign partners. Fortunately, most of them supported Ukraine in every way possible. And this makes sense: if we share different values, we can’t be trustworthy partners.”
According to him, the “nothing personal, only business” approach is not working today. If a person wants to do business in Ukraine, it is necessary to support the country in any way possible – otherwise, this market may cease to exist.
The entrepreneur emphasizes: if you unite individuals with a similar value foundation, it is not so important if one of them does not pass the crisis test. The vast majority will stay.
3. Entrepreneurs feel more influence and responsibility
Oleg Krot claims that the war has slowly but surely been changing officials’ minds. They started to understand how the draining of money from enterprises leads to the collapse of statehood. The generation of oligarchs is passing away, and there are people in power with whom it is possible to conduct a dialogue regarding the healthy development of the business environment.
Due to this, entrepreneurs of Ukraine feel more influence and responsibility. ” If we talk about TECHIIA, earlier we were thinking about how to make more American businesses, and now — how to increase the amount of investment in the Ukrainian segment. I hear similar things from other big Ukrainian entrepreneurs.,” writes Krot.
He sees several reasons for this. The first is moral. The business has the opportunity to significantly improve people’s lives, and seizing such an opportunity is a small price to pay for a sense of self-respect.
The second reason is business. Entrepreneurs should think about what will happen after the victory, thinking about what the recovery process will be, what infrastructure should be created, and how to attract partners. “Only a strong partner will be given respect and help,” Oleg Krot believes.
In his opinion, the future of the country depends on how effectively the Ukrainian government will be able to interact with businesses — domestic and foreign. For this, officials will have to change and create conditions for fair competition and transparency. I have no illusions: the war will not wipe out our “peculiarities” completely. But it will significantly affect the improvement of the business climate.
It is worth a reminder that Valiant CEO interviewed Yura Lazebnikov, another Managing Partner of TECHIIA Holding. Yura told us about the path of a businessman, and about leadership, and shared pieces of advice for young entrepreneurs.