Ukraine: Looking ahead with a resilient economy
Entrepreneur Olga Romanenko explains why it is important to sustain the Ukrainian economy in times of war and how the platform leverist.de supports her.
Olga Romanenko is the CEO of a Ukrainian company named Ecopan, that develops energy-efficient homes and has many customers in Germany. Since the Russian invasion, her company has been facing many challenges: for example, finding developers and architects to work with in Germany. That is why Romanenko decided to join leverist.de: an online platform for matchmaking between the private sector and development cooperation. It is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
In the interview, Romanenko explains why it is vital for the Ukrainian economy to continue despite the war and how platforms like leverist.de can help.
How did your company cope with the war?
The last year was of course a very difficult one. Nevertheless, we managed to keep all our staff and also brought their families to safety. This was very important for me because our business only works through teamwork. Regarding Ecopan, our biggest problem were the supply chains. It was hard to get hold of materials from Europe that we use for energy-efficient building, such as wooden boards. Also, all our regular development projects in Ukraine had to stop. Instead, Ecopan helped to build houses for internally displaced people. Our projects in Germany, however, never stopped. Although some of our clients in Germany were worried that the projects might be affected, we managed to keep going with minimal delays. Many of them were very understanding and supportive. However, it is difficult to find new clients and partners because many people think that it is not possible to work with Ukrainian companies due to the war.
You have joined the GIZ-implemented platform leverist.de. How did you find it and what are you specifically looking for?
As CEO of Ecopan, I am part of numerous Ukrainian business associations that help each other to find business partners, clients or suppliers. It was through this network that I came across GIZ and the platform leverist.de. It is an opportunity for us to connect with potential clients and partners in Germany. Such networks and platforms are important for us because many people do not realize that despite the war, Ukrainian businesses manage to continue and are reliable business partners. Leverist.de gives us an opportunity to connect and be visible.
What does the Ukrainian economy need to continue their work and why is it important?
No country can exist without a functioning economy. In Ukraine, people are very self-reliant and tackle things themselves. That also is true of our economy. I want my team to keep their jobs now and also after the war. So far, we have been successful. By participating on platforms like leverist.de, we hope to continue building our business. Only if we keep on going, it is possible to rebuild the country.