25 March 2015

Corruption in Ukraine

Today the government made an open display of what happens to government officials suspected of corruption.

Senior Ukrainian state official Serhiy Bochkovskiy has been arrested during today's session of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers. Bochkovskiy is accused of corruption and embezzlement connected to the procurement of fuels and lubricants for the State Emergency Service. Bochkovskiy's first deputy Vasyl Stoyetskiy was also detained.

See the video in the report here from Ukraine Today.

18 March 2015

UKRAINE TRADING FUND - Now is the time to do business with Ukraine

Ukraine Trading Fund

BUY GOODS AND SERVICES FROM SMALL BUSINESSES IN UKRAINE
NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO DO BUSINESS WITH UKRAINE
The Ukraine Trading Fund helps foreign buyers to find goods and services in Ukraine and enter into successful business contracts. We help foreign buyers to:
            1. Source a Ukraine business to supply goods and/or services
            2. Negotiate an agreement
            3. Agree prices and delivery terms
            4. Reduce risk by managing the delivery and payment method

         To discuss your requirements further please contact:
     Gerald Bowers – Director – Ukraine Trading Fund
email: gerald.bowers@bbcu.com.ua

16 March 2015

Ukraine - A clash of two mentalities ?

Andrey Kurkov the famous Ukrainian writer provides a clear insight into the mentalities of the 'two sides' of Ukraine.

People involved in business is a good example explained here:
So what really divides Ukraine?
It’s a clash of two mentalities — the post-Soviet collective mentality, where people lack initiative and are taught to depend on the boss or factory owner for perks. And people who start businesses and take responsibility themselves.
In Donbass (in the east) you won’t find many small businesses. But if you check the register in Lvov, you’ll see tens of thousands.
He makes a good point. On a visit to Lvov in the far west of Ukraine you will find many small businesses. In the service sector many small cafes and restaurants can be found in Lviv (Lvov) and the owner of each business can be found actively working on the premises and greeting customers. This is pretty much like it is across Europe.
But.....even in Kyiv the capital city it is still unusual to find a small business in the service sector where the owner(s) have hands on experience. The situation is at its most extreme in the troubled eastern parts of the country. Very few small businesses and very few people involved in entrepreneurial activities. Some will claim it is due to the fear of the local mafia who want to control as much as possible. We all know that the words mafia and local government can be used together in this part of the country.
Kurkov is right when he explains the 'post soviet collective mentality', where people are fully reliant on the local factory or owners to provide everything for the 'workers'. Many in other parts of Ukraine will gladly comment that ''Those people in the east think we owe them a living''.
On a positive note, small businesses in many parts of Ukraine (owner managed) are desperate to find new customers both local and foreign. We must do all we can to help them.
You can read the Kurkov interview here

24 February 2015

Ukraine Tomorrow

Ukraine government has announced the launch of a new TV channel - 'Ukraine Tomorrow'

'Ukraine's Minister of Information Policy, Yuriy Stets, has announced the creation of a new channel called Ukraine Tomorrow and a new so-called "i-army" to combat Russian propaganda in an increasingly bitter information war between Moscow and Kyiv.'

The country needs to get the message out to the rest of the world about what is happening in Ukraine and what needs to be done to help put the country back on its feet.

See Ukraine Tomorrow

More than ever before Ukraine needs help both in the public and private sectors.

17 February 2015

Crowd Funding Appeal - Ukraine Trading Fund

See our appeal here on Indiegogo

http://igg.me/p/ukraine-trading-fund/x/9925660

Ukraine Trading Fund

Ukraine Trading Fund - An Appeal via Crowdfunding

Not wanting to 'throw in the towel' on Ukraine, I have decided to try and help small businesses in Ukraine as much as possible.

As I am currently publishing and editing a magazine in Cyprus, I decided to outsource the printing of the magazine back to Ukraine and discovered the great cost savings to be made by doing business again in Kyiv. I have also appointed a designer and translator to do work on the magazine from their bases in Ukraine.

So, I got to thinking that many other businesses in other countries can benefit from having a trading relationship with both entrepreneurs and small companies back in Ukraine. We all know that times are very difficult and the economy is in a bad state. But there is so much talent available in Ukraine and so many small businesses eagerly looking for new opportunities. Gone are the days of 'advanced payments' and this has really upset the apple cart as customers are afraid to provide advance payments for fear of loosing out and suppliers are reluctant to provide products/services because they fear non-payment. Plus who knows how the banks will perform. Add to that the fear of Marshall Law being declared and we begin to understand why small businesses are living in fear of survival.

Therefore, I'm about to launch the UKRAINE TRADING FUND, with an appeal for funding via crowd funding methods. The fund will act as a bridge between customer and supplier. As follows:

1. The Ukraine Trading Fund helps small businesses to find foreign customers.
2. Supplier & Customer agree prices and terms. (Via the Fund)
3. Ukraine Trading Fund provides a guarantee to the supplier.
4. Supplier produces the goods/services
5. Customer completes payment to Ukraine Trading Fund
6. Ukraine Trading Fund completes payment to Supplier.

This will be a FREE service, provided we can attract the seed funding for one year.
The FUND will act as a buffer/risk fund just in case one of the parties in the planned business deals fails to deliver. But with careful planning the fund should remain in place.

Further details available via the BBCU website.

05 February 2015

The State of Ukraine - Time to 'Draw the Curtains'

The situation gets worse each day.
Today, we see the Hryvnia (UAH) decline to 22 against the USD, and that is the official bank rate as per the NBU. The black market rate will be approaching 30 to $1. But dollars and euros are just not available to buy in Ukraine anyhow.
Inflation will soon be reaching over 30%. Bank lending rates have been increased today to 19.5 %
The country has only $6.5 billion in foreign currency reserves.
(As I was writing this the Head of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeriy Gontareva has just announced the rate will now be 25 to the $1)

Many people thought something would change today, when US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Ukraine. Although the US will provide much needed financial assistance, they will not provide any military support. Plus the latest news is that German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande have also refused to provide any military support.

So what is the future for Ukraine?

The IMF will no doubt provide financial support. So the future for Ukraine would appear to be a country heavily dependent on international loans and aid.
The international/multi-national companies already in the country may well continue to try and survive. Plus a whole range of NGO’s, quasi autonomous foreign funded organisations and the like will continue to provide employment to a few. Many local businesses have already gone out of business and the media in Ukraine are not reporting the true situation in the economy. (They are not reporting anywhere near enough about what is really going on). Far too many businesses and entrepreneurs do not have any money to pay taxes.

The lucky winners are those individuals and businesses who receive income in the form of foreign currency. Those with contracts for IT support and software development will be OK. Ukrainians and Foreigners who have agreed to be paid in USD or EURO will be laughing all the way to the bank. But inflation will catch up with everyone.

The majority of the people in Ukraine are suffering badly. Wages are in short supply if payable at all. Many are already in survival mode and concentrate on providing food for their families on a daily basis.

The economy has only days before it collapses if the IMF does not provide funding next week.
Therefore, I cannot see the situation improving for many years. Although I have a business in Ukraine, together with private property, the time has come for me personally to ‘bring down the curtain’.

This decision was not taken quickly or easily.

Ukrainians are very good people. The great majority are honest and hardworking and reliable. They deserve better. They deserve to be part of Europe.  They cannot understand why we from the ‘west’ have failed them. Why have we not provided them with military support against an aggressive Russian Federation under the control of Vladimir Putin.  Moreover, the great problem of corruption still hangs like a millstone around everyone’s neck in Ukraine.

Ukrainians are talented people. They are highly skilled in many professions.  During the early part of 2014 they set an example to the rest of Europe when they decided to overthrow a corrupt President and his corrupt government.  Unfortunately this proved unacceptable to Vladimir Putin and as we all know led to the invasion and annexation of Crimea and the continuing invasion into Eastern Ukraine.

I sincerely hope and pray that one day in the not too distant future the people of Ukraine can live in a peaceful and calm civilised society aligned to true Western European values.

Gerald Bowers

5 February 2015