By Viktor Andrukhiv (pictured) , Co-founder of Fibermix and Savex Minerals

Business in Ukraine has been like a wild ride recently – sometimes showing promise, other times facing tough challenges. Even with all this back and forth, entrepreneurs are dealing with various problems but managing to keep their businesses afloat. Let’s break down the situation and see what’s really happening.

The Impact of the War

Many business owners say that if it weren’t for the ongoing conflict, their businesses would be doing much better. The threat of the war, with fighting across the country and occasional rocket attacks, has made things hard for businesses. Shockingly, statistics show that 41% of big companies have suffered losses since the war began. With safety being uncertain, businesses are either trying to continue at their usual locations or moving elsewhere.

But interestingly, the big invasion has pushed Ukrainian businesses to explore foreign markets, especially in Europe. The Ministry of Economy says that exports to European countries went up by 4.2% to a huge $28 billion last year.

Fewer Customers and Orders

This year, the numbers reveal that businesses have only reached 71.6% of their goals – meaning they’re not doing as well as planned. But surprisingly, more companies are saying their results are better than expected. The war changed the local market, giving even small businesses the chance to go after orders.

Not Enough Skilled Workers

There are a lot of job openings in areas like special work and production. Requests for these jobs went up by 4%, but fewer people are looking for work in these fields. Businesses are struggling to find skilled workers. Many talented people have left the country and aren’t coming back. So, businesses need to hunt for skilled experts, start training programs, and keep looking for new talent.

These problems are the main obstacles for businesses right now. They aren’t exactly great conditions for starting something new. But even with all this uncertainty, there are some good signs too.

Economic Picture: The economy’s decline has slowed down, and it might even grow by about 3% this year. This shows that the country’s economy is getting better.

Getting Help from Outside: Grants, which are like gifts from other countries and the government, can really help. They give businesses the chance to start, get better, do bigger projects, or train their workers.

Starting Again in the Local Market: The war made many companies stop working. Now, everyone has a more equal chance in the market. If you play it smart, this could be a great time to find your place.

Business Groups Growing: Entrepreneurs are joining business clubs and groups. In Ukraine, there are around ten big business communities and lots of smaller, specialized groups. Every year, more of these groups pop up. Here, business owners share advice and contacts. What’s really important is that they’re coming together to think about the future of business in the country. They’re speaking up with ideas, complaints, and suggestions, pushing the government to talk about making things better for businesses.

So, is Ukraine a good place to do business right now – whether you’re improving what you’ve got or starting something new? There’s no easy answer. I’m an optimist when it comes to business. I haven’t closed any of my companies, and I’ve even started a small new one. Because, honestly, taking action is better than waiting around.