The military conflict has dealt a blow to every sector of the Ukrainian economy, including entrepreneurship. And I could feel it in my own experience, watching Ukrainian businesses having to adapt to the new reality, shifting their directions and priorities.
I will give you some insights into the impact entrepreneurship in Ukraine and the future it holds.
The state of impact entrepreneurship around the world
While talking about the world as a whole, it is worth noting that focusing on social and environmental values has become possible thanks to increased quality of life. It has allowed us to consider health, education and ecological impacts. These days, more
and more people are paying attention to manufacturers' ethics and the benefits businesses offer.
Currently, most impact investments
originate from the US and Canada, while Eastern Europe (the Baltic countries, Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic) are at the bottom of the list. Impact entrepreneurship exists in Ukraine, but for now, we are still seeking out the path toward attracting
How has the war affected impact entrepreneurship?
The impact enterprises face challenges in large-scale crises forcing them to focus on changing the business direction. Geopolitical tensions cause many entrepreneurs to donate to serve the people. For example, Epic Games
contributed $144 million to humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Google donated $25 million. The crypto exchange
Binance and Grammarly, an educational platform with Ukrainian roots, donated $10 million and $5 million, respectively.
As we all know, any crisis hits the unprotected social groups the hardest: orphans, low-income families, people with disabilities and so on. They are the ones who need material and psychological support. Thus, it is vital that they receive help not just
from the government but also from businesses. And impact entrepreneurship is in line with those goals. Ukraine is seeing the active creation of charity foundations to support people and
I founded the charity foundation Ostrovok Dobra in 2017 in my hometown of Kharkiv. One of its main goals was educating, training, and employing people with disabilities. In Ukraine, only about 26% of people with
this status were
employed at the end of 2021, and the war only exacerbated this problem. And even now, the objectives of this foundation have stayed the same, as they should for other Ukrainian impact entrepreneurs in the face of war. Education and the opportunity to work
will ensure a healthy mindset and growth for Ukrainian society in the future.
This understanding of responsibility toward society gives us impact entrepreneurs a significant advantage over the traditional system of business management, which could simply cease to exist in hard times. Impact means more than charity. It is an action
aimed at changing society in the future. Not just offering a temporary solution for a money-based issue but rooting out the problem for the long term.
The future of Ukrainian impact entrepreneurship
Impact entrepreneurs set as their goals both financial returns and influencing society through their business. But how can we measure the effectiveness of an impact business? For example, the effect can be evaluated by the number of war victims who have
received assistance, amounts donated to charity, the number of people with disabilities who find jobs and so on. It is crucial to recognize that there is a way to find a system to evaluate the effectiveness of such businesses, even in wartime when the data
may appear unmeasurable.
In 10 years, any business in the world could become socially oriented, especially in Eastern Europe and other high-risk areas, considering the work that has to be done to rebuild countries after the war.
Right now, that sort of business is starting to occupy a small but important niche in Ukraine, thanks to its creators being fearless in talking about themselves. My goal is to promote the idea and mission of impact entrepreneurship in the business community
and talk about social responsibility at universities where future business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and other decision-makers are getting their education.
My recommendation to other impact entrepreneurs in Ukraine — set a clear goal and communicate your initiative to investors. You must assert yourself as loudly as possible without playing the pity card. That is the only way to be heard and make the world
a better place.