Ukrainians have already been facing a war-modified reality for almost a year. The war has become a catalyst for all the possible changes ranging from the way and tempo of life to business running rules to narrative and worldview revision. The way we are being transformed right now is enormous, and this “education” is much more than just something money can buy. This situation reminds me of a marathon, a run where you either learn to adapt or drop to the bottom. We discover and nurture new qualities in ourselves. And the question I would like to address here is this: What lessons does the war teach Ukrainians?
Lesson 1. Resource Mobilization
Getting yourself together, enduring, moving fast, adapting, and working your guts out. These qualities, which apply to everything now, are best demonstrated by businesses.
When the market collapsed, logistics broke down, and partners disappeared, entrepreneurs started looking for new ways. The war forced them to make quick decisions, sign new contracts, open additional niches, and enter other markets.
45% of Ukrainian businesses fully operate in the “pre-war” mode; another 42% do so partially. And this means that resource mobilization skills have been mastered quite well.
Lesson 2. The Power of Networking
The trend of unity and cohesion that Ukrainians show to the world has also been clearly manifested in the business environment.
When the domestic market collapsed, businesses consolidated. First, they volunteered; then, they became a large entrepreneurial community. Finally, they formed new logistics chains and created new partnerships. The exchange of recommendations and valuable contacts allowed many businesses to keep their market shares and opportunities and even to start new operations.
Lesson 3. Social Responsibility
Businesses always have a social component. Today, thousands of Ukrainian companies donate part of their earnings to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine and charitable initiatives. Some businesses have even repurposed their operations to provide for humanitarian or military needs.
Entrepreneurs manufacture or import situationally critical goods and invest in power generators to support the economy and, indirectly, the armed forces.
They also work to improve our state’s image by using their business reputation as a tool to engage international charities and humanitarian funds in joint work and projects. That’s why we can see many such organizations as Doctors Without Borders, World central kitchen, Hope for Ukraine, and dozens more working in Ukraine.
Lesson 4. National DNA
War made us very acutely and instantly aware of being Ukrainians. As a result, we rediscover an interest in our own culture and history, listen to Ukrainian music, switch to the Ukrainian language in our daily communication, and consume and produce Ukrainian products.
Businesses emphasize our national component even in the goods they produce by using symbolism and ornamentation in decoration or packaging.
Today, Made in UA is a trend that has created popularity worldwide. But the most important thing to us is that it became popular inside Ukraine.
Lesson 5. Generation of Funds in Ukraine for Ukraine
Profit has ceased to be the main goal and measure of a company’s success. It has rather turned into the energy that drives businesses and business processes throughout our country. And SMEs have worthily shouldered the task of generating this resource. Since the beginning of the war, 27,000 companies and 205,000 individual entrepreneurs have been registered, and almost all large companies continue to work in Ukraine.
Businesses hold the economic front with all their might by increasing their production capacity, creating new jobs, and paying taxes.
While the state counts on its people and the army, we count on our future in Ukraine.
To sum up, I will say this: The war was intended to turn our nation into a bunch of scared, confused, and helpless people. Instead, it taught us quite the opposite. We learned how to remain stable, resilient, and flexible to changes and challenges; defend our point of view; appreciate what we have; strive for, and work to reach, more as a great unified nation.