A rehabilitation center, a crowdfunding platform for start-ups and a consulting company for procurement through Prozorro system. Business plans based on these daring ideas won a competition within the New Countdown project.
The third phase of the program supported by the International Renaissance foundation within the Program for Promotion of Small and Medium Business in 2016–2020 has finished. The project had been implemented in Kharkiv in August–October.
The work was mostly aimed at supporting internally displaced persons and Russian-Ukrainian war veterans and their families in setting up their own business. However this year several Kharkivites were able to join the program as well.
Seventy-five participants had been attending the seminars to be able to write a business plan and to get ready to start implementing their ideas into practice. Only 17 out of them came up with their business plans at the final presentation.
One of the participants supported by the jury was a 52-year-old ATO combatant Vyktor Bessarabov. The serviceman was defending Ukraine from Russian invasion for 1.5 years and came back home in December 2016. He presented his business plan of building domed houses and named his company Kupol Life.
“I found it difficult after the war to get used to the ordinary life. It was also hard to find a job. However, I had some experience in building and found an interesting idea of this domed-shaped roof technology developed in Japan. The process of erecting a new building takes from two to three weeks. It can be used for either a dwelling house or a warehouse like a vegetable store or mushroom conservatory.”
According to Vyktor Bessarabov, the project helped him to understand the economic mechanisms and gave some information on the planning of his business. However, he did not get the financial support which is vital to set up the enterprise. The veteran says his company needs about $35,000 to purchase the necessary equipment and to train the staff of four.
The project organizers state they do not leave their participants to their “own purchase” and are going to provide them with further consulting. As for the finance, the participants can get a loan.
“The main feature of this year’s project is that the participants are not offered grants. Instead, they are given an opportunity to receive an interest-free loan which they have to pay back. This is a certain test of their intention to implement the business idea,” says the president of the Association of Private Employers and the project manager Olexandr Chumak.
Vyktor Bessarabov argues that although the loan is interest-free, it is lent against a pledge of his flat that might be risky. Also, the loan sum is limited. Currently, the veteran is launching his company website and looking for the investor to help his dream come true.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: New Countdown