It’s often said that bureaucrats and businessmen do not mix.  But the opposite is true when I hold a reception at the residence to mark the national rollout of “Youth Business Ukraine”.

I’m often accused of being too optimistic about Ukraine.  Others accuse me of being too pessimistic.  But it’s difficult not to be optimistic about the future when you meet some of the young entrepreneurs who are being helped by Youth Business Ukraine.  YBU is an organisation that helps young Ukrainians to start up and grow new businesses by providing a comprehensive support package of loan capital, one-to-one mentoring and training.  The initiative in Ukraine was based on methodology of support for young entrepreneurs first championed by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales nearly 30 years ago in the UK.  Its introduction in Ukraine was initially funded by a grant from the British government.  Since then, YBU has been flourishing in Donetsk and Luhansk for five years.  YBU operates within a local association, Socio-Economic Strategies and Partnerships (SESP).

How have those years been?  Well, Youth Business Ukraine is now so successful that it is being rolled out to more than half the regions in Ukraine in the next five years.  That roll-out is supported by businesses; by the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Public Utilities; and by UK-based Youth Business International.  But the further success of Youth Business Ukraine will depend on support from businesses who can provide capital, mentors for young entrepreneurs and support for YBU local branches from specialised skills to meeting operating expenses.  Based on the young entrepreneurs I meet at the residence, it’s working well.  So if you run a business and want to get involved in YBU, please contact SESP.

Leigh Turner

Ukrayinska Dumka


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