10 December 2009

Corruption is still a BIG problem in Ukraine

During the past week, many international diplomats in Ukraine have been voicing their opinion on the continual problem of corruption in many government organisations.

Unfortunately, corruption has got worse in the six years I have been in Ukraine.
It's a sad fact that the majority of employees in government organisations, consider that they are 'entitled' to a form of extra reward for providing a service.
Personally I NEVER pay bribes to anyone. This includes the police, who have stopped me on many occasions for speeding or minor motoring offences. I simply refuse to pay anything, which results in me being kept waiting for a long time at the side of the road until they decide how to deal with this 'foreigner who is being difficult'. They always just get frustrated and finally let me proceed. I always ask for things to be done the correct way, expecting to get a speeding ticket in the post, but it never happens.
Strange as it maybe to foreigners living here, the majority of Ukrainains just accept that corruption is a way of life. So when a policeman stops a local person driving a car, the driver fully expects to just give the policeman a cash payment and he will soon be on his way.

But its not just small cash payments we are talking about. Many international companies get hit hard by government agencies like the fire department and the whole range of others who have the powers to grant a certificate or not as the case may be. Some examples from my experience include:

1. A friend who works for a major airline based in Kyiv, told me that they were contacted by the local fire brigade. The fire brigade senior staff were demanding a large discount off the price of air tickets for themselves anywhere in the world. If the demands were not met, then maybe the airline would have many problems with its fire and health and safety certificates. Maybe the airline would be closed due to fire risks at its head office. So senior fire brigade staff now get big discounts on air tickets. (Can you imagine the Head of the London Fire Service calling a senior manager in British Airways and demanding the same?)

2. I was personally involved in helping a company obtain a bank loan from Cyprus. (Bank lending in Ukraine is still very expensive and many Ukrainian companies now borrow from abroad).
However in order for a company to obtain a foreign loan, a certificate must be obtained from the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). As usual in Ukraine, the paperwork trail is a lengthy process and agreements have to be approved in bi-lingual format by the NBU. The bank employees are only looking for 'problems', so that they can then 'help you' solve this problem in exchange for a bribe. I was informed by an employee from another local bank that most applicants for loan certificates just pay whatever is required in the brown envelope, when meeting the NBU employee in some private location. The NBU employee in our case was asking for 2 percent of the loan value. This represented Euro 5000.
I advised not to pay anything and use a lawyer to process all the documents and do things in the correct way. My choice of process delayed the granting of the certificate by 2 months and the NBU employees still tried to cause problems as they knew they were not getting a bribe.

Its a sad situation. I also think that Ukraine should forget about any possible EU membership.
Until corruption is controlled, I think Ukraine does not deserve to become a member of the EU.

09 December 2009

Private Hospitals in Ukraine

Well, I did not stay 'well' for very long. A few days after the flu virus was beaten (so I thought), I developed "Severe Chronic Bronchitis". My medical insurance company introduced me to a new private clinic in the city centre of Kyiv, called "Healthy and Happy" (In English).

So much of a contrast to a typical Ukraine polyclinic or local doctors centre. Everything in this centre was NEW. They provide total analysis. I visited various doctors in their consulting rooms within a few hours including, ENT, X-Ray, Eye test, Blood test etc.
These doctors advised me to enter hospital immediately as a result of the Chest X Ray.

Next stop - Boris Hospital. A well known local private hospital in Kyiv. (For those who have medical insurance or can afford to pay the fees). WHAT a contrast to the Ukraine state hospital previously visited. I was given a private room with Cable TV, private bathroom, modern adjustable electric bed. Introduced to a variety of doctors who conducted further analyses.
Informed I had a very bad case of PNEUMONIA. This explained the high temperatures (40), head aches, lack of sleep and loss of apetite and a feeling of no energy. During the next 11 days I had CT scans of all my body. Ultrasound on my heart (WOW it's interesting, when the sound is switched on). Although I was receiving various drugs via a drip it was not working at first and I felt I was getting worse.

Sunday 29 November 2009 willbe a day never to be forgotten. For some reason my heart decided to jump to around 180 beats a minute. Then go down the opposite scale.
I could see four doctors and four nursing staff all concerned with watching the minitor.
This was going on for far too long and I started to think......well maybe this is it, its the big goodbye.
One doctor told me they would inject a drug to try and bring my heart back to normal.
It didnt work. They dried another drug. Didnt work. Then the same doctor tells me (In English by now...as I had requested that I needed to speak in English as things were getting tricky. I did not want to say yes in Russian when maybe I should have said no)
He says, they may have to put me to sleep and try and restart my heart 'electronically'.
Luckily (I believe in God), my heart went back to normal in a few minutes and everyone started to relax a little.

Things just seemed to get better from then. Although I needed to change the bed sheets and my bed clothes on a regular basis due to high temperatures. (It always looked like someone had thrown a bucket of water over me). During the next seven days, I received a very good standard of care from both doctors and nursing staff. Problem is they never seem to communicate with each other, so everytime I see a doctor, I am repeating exactly what I have just told the previous.
Doctors would appear from no where and examine me. Nurses would take blood samples from me without a word..

So, I am now recovering. They still wanted to keep me in hospital for observations, but I had had enough. I now feel I have a new set of lungs, I 'think' about my heart more and I have not drank anything alcoholic for 8 weeks. It was a wake up call, which I will always remember.

I strongly recommend Boris Clinic/Hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine.

17 November 2009

Hospitals in Ukraine

Most people will be aware that a 'flu pandemic' has been the major focus in Ukraine for the past few weeks. Unfortunately, the virus found its way to me and I must say its the worst case of flu I have ever had. Its approximately four weeks today since I fell ill and I am only just getting back to normal.

Getting sick in Ukraine is a tricky business if you have to enter hospital.
As I tried to battle with the virus for the first week at home, my wife finally called in the doctor and he ordered an ambulance to take me into hospital. I had a very high temperature, my throat was closing up and I was having difficulty speaking.

To my suprise, instead of sending the ambulance to a private clinic, he told them to take me to a specialist public hospital dealing with the virus.
Anyone who has visited or had the unfortunate situation of being a patient in a Ukrainian hospital will know that it is close to a nightmare experience.

I will never again make any criticism about the British national health service.
In a Ukrainian hospital they provide you with NOTHING. OK they provide you with a bed. The mattress looked like it had received blood from many of its previous occupants.
The bathroom and toilet would have been condemned in a western european country. Plus there were no light bulbs in the toilet or bathroom, so I could never see what I was doing.
Luckily, I am covered by health insurance, but felt as if it was not providing me with any benefits.
The hospital doctors informed me that they would only start treating me, when my insurance company had delivered the medicines to the hospital.

When I say the hospital provides you with NOTHING, I am talking about:
No toilet paper, no water or drinks etc. My wife knows the situation too well as she is a Ukrainian and came the next day with a bag of basics including a KETTLE, Cup, 5 liters of water, food etc.

If a foreign person found themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to stay in a Ukrainian hospital and they had no friends or relatives to help them, I shudder to think how they would survive.

After a few days I convinced myself I would be better off at home, so checked myself out of the hospital. Outside the hospital, I witnessed the longest queue of ambulances I have ever seen.
The hospital was becoming over run with patients and it was obvious they could'nt cope with demand.

I went home and confined myself to the security of our own apartment.

I NEVER want to visit a hospital in Ukraine again. But it has helped me to understand how bad the situation is with the Ukraine Health Service. I think a good guide on the economic/social status of a country is provided by the state of its health service. Unfortunately, in Ukraine it is on par with a third world country.

BBCU Meeting 29 October 2009

Unfortunately I have been very ill during the past few weeks with the dreaded swine flu virus.

So, I missed the Otcober networking meeting on 29 October at the Radisson Hotel in Kyiv.
However as usual it was well attended and an excellent presentation was provided by our member company - Bold Endeavours. The theme of the event was " e-marketing, Extreme Website Makeovers. Some of our members volunteered their web sites for analysis.

29 September 2009

Ukrainians - How to do business with them - Opera Hotel 24 Sept 2009

Summer is over and we are back into the Autumn season of meetings.
The BBCU held its September monthly meeting at the Opera Hotel in Kyiv.
The theme: Ukrainians - How to do business with them.
This was a pure networking and social event and as usual we had a high turnout and for the first time we had to restrict the number of guests as the hotel was getting full.

The Opera Hotel is managed by Mr Benoit Kuborn and he is a breath of fresh air when it comes to hotel management in Ukraine. He is a true professional who knows how to make people feel welcome in a 5 star environment. I think we will have more events at the Opera.

Talking of doing business....unfortunately there is not alot of it about. Ukraine is still suffering from the Financial Crisis and many people are using the old excuse of "Lets wait until after the presidential election to see what we do next". So many projects/deals are being put on hold until post 17 January 2010.
Its a long time to hold your breath.

10 August 2009

BBCU Golf School - Launch

We have had so many people requesting more about golf, that we have decided to launch a BBCU Golf School. One of Kyivs long time expats - Bill Bennett, is a great golf player and has stepped forward to lead on this project.

We will form a partnership with Royal Kyiv Golf Club, we have known them for some time during the construction of the golf course. The course is almost finished and already has a great Driving Range, Chipping and putting green and an excellent 6 hole Academy Course for beginners. So we have the basic facilities in place to start teaching people the game.

However, as usual in Ukraine its not without problems. Due to the economic crisis, the club house is not even built yet and the driving range building is not complete. We are just being honest with people and telling them that they cannot expect VIP service for some time. Hence our initial green fees and school fees will be low, plus we will introduce a 'Pay and You Play' scheme to make it easier and just get people playing.

We know we have many expats who have been waiting a long time to play on a REAL golf course in Ukraine. Visitors will be pleasantly suprised when they see the layout of the 18 hole course.
Designed by Martin Hawtree (British Golf course designer), the Royal Kyiv Golf Course will be THE first professional level course in Ukraine.

01 August 2009

BBCU Golf Day

We escaped from the city centre of Kyiv on Friday 31st July to visit Golf Stream, approximately 30 km to the west of Kyiv. Golf Stream management were kind enough to provide a bus, to avoid any drink driving after the event.

With 42 members and guests a great time was had by all. Although we only had six real golfers.
The winner on the 9 hole course was Peter Burningham, with Tim Huxtable a close second.

Those who took part in the "Golf Clinic" throughly enjoyed their introduction to the game.
Everyone had the opportunity to play on the chipping green, putting green and driving range.
The best performance was from Ben Hunt closely followed by Ursula Silling and Sergey Savchuk.

I still think golf is like a drug. You get addicted to the game and want to get more of it.
Maybe we should challenge our American friends at the ACC to a tournament?

08 July 2009

Networking Meeting 7 July - Feedback

Last night the BBCU held what many say was our best ever meeting.
The first time we have held a meeting in a restaurant and it was a great success.
63 people attended.
The theme - Agricultural Investment in Ukraine proved interesting to our members and guests as most people understand that agriculture presents itself as one of those 'just around the corner' opportunities that Ukraine MUST take to the full.

The old problem of the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land still creates restraint towards foreign investment. But we all live in hope that soon, the ban will be lifted and serious thought can be given towards the utilisation of the rich fertile land in this country.

We intend to provide further information soon via our web site on the opportunities of agri investment in Ukraine.

04 July 2009

Agricultural Investment in Ukraine

The next networking meeting of the BBCU will be at Ciros Pomodoro restaurant in Kyiv on Tuesday 7 July. The theme: Agricultural Investment in Ukraine is timely as many consider agriculture to be one of the many sectors still ripe and ready for serious development.

Ukraine still has the opportunity to become a major food producer for EU markets.
Investment and Management are the key to making Ukrainian farms more productive and profitable.

More feedback after the meeting next week.

30 May 2009

New Rules - 180 day system- enforcement

on 15 May Ukraine introduced new laws for restricting the movement of foreign citizens in the country. Some see this as a negative step towards protectionism of the labour market. Many expats are concerned, due to the fact that in Ukraine the state agencies are never correctly informed about changes and procedures, so there is never a clear system to follow.

However, I think the new system is a positive step to ensure that any foreign citizens who are living here are 'legal' and they have gone through the correct processes to obtain work permits and residency status. During the past few days many expats living here have contacted me for help. Many of them live here on a normal multiple entry visa, but some of them 'work' or do some 'business' without having work permits. So I decided to introduce a special service from the BBCU to help these people who needed to become legally employed and be provided with the correct documents.

The new rules mean that a foreign citizen can only stay in Ukraine for a maximum of 180 days out of 365 per year. The ONLY way to remain longer is to have a work permit with temporary residents status, which is usally for one year, or to obtain Permanent Residency Status.

Because this is Ukraine, many of the new rules have not been thought through correctly.
For example it would appear that the law makers completely forgot about spouses and children of expats living and working in Ukraine.

However, I still think its a positive step. Ukrainians certainly know how to endure the hardships of going through a strict employment process as foreign citizens in EU states and in particular in the UK. So, I'm advising my expat friends who are not 'legal' in Ukraine to stop complaining and just do things as per the rule of law.

I met with the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, this week and he informed me that they too are taking this very seriously and helping their citizens to get on the right side of the law. (AMCHAM have 5 times more in their staff team than the BBCU).

Business Opportunities in Ukraine - Networking Meeting

On 28 May we held another succesful networking meeting together with the International Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine. 72 people attended.
Our guest speakers were: Vladimir Mikhailov, First Deputy Chairman and Secretary General of ICC Ukraine and Ihor Shevliakov an economist from the International Centre of Policy Studies (Ukraine Think Tank).
Generally it was agreed that we will still have a difficult year in Ukraine and many investors are waiting for the results of the Presidential elections, however, a feeling of optimism was shared regarding the prospects for opportunities late 2009 and through 2010.

24 May 2009

Charity Auction a great success

Last night we held a charity event to raise money for the Kharkov Childrens Cancer Clinic.
Supported by many of our partners including: IDISA Clinic, Open Up Communications, EBA, Kyiv Lions Club, Radisson SAS Hotel Kyiv, Canadian Embassy, EU-Ukraine Business Council, Engarde Law Firm, Institute of Stem Cell Research, Ol & Rust (Law Firm).

We raised UAH 138,100 on the night via an auction of artistic photos kindly donated by the well know artist Ksenia Shevchenko.
(Other works also donated by the famous artist Oksana Mas, and local well known photographer Leonardo Dixon)

Many thanks to all those involved in organising and planning th event and those supporting the night and also those succesful bidders who purchased artwork at great prices.
The money will go to a good cause.

03 May 2009

Networking Meeting 29 April - Feedback

Our meeting on 29 April in Kyiv was a great success with 84 people attending.
The Theme: Property Market in Ukraine.
We had presentations from DTZ, CBRE, EFG Property Services and NAI Pickard.

Many members told me later that this was one of the best events they had attended this year.

25 April 2009

Damien Hirst Exhibition in Kyiv

Last night my wife and I visited the opening of the Damien Hirst Exhibition at the famous Pinchuk Art Centre in Kyiv. The usual VIP guests were in attendance, including Pinchuk and many of the so called famous Ukrainians and we met many expats who had been invited.

This is the first time we have seen any of Hirsts 'material' in Ukraine. Fellow brits are only too aware of the reputation that Damian Hirst has established. On display were the usual 'Shark in Formaldehyde', followed by 'sheep',etc etc. The stunning slaughter of the cow exhibit is also there, plus a seperate cows head, with blood and flies etc. Most of the exhibit is concerned with SKULLS, ASH TRAYS and lemons............ Even a collection of Cigarete Butts, a collection of tablets and a display which looked like a display cabinet from Boots the Chemists???

Many Ukrainains were just trying to keep a straight face I am sure!!! I had to pose the question to most of my fellow expats I met at the exhibition: "So what do you think?"The answers ranged from " Interesting" (That sly British diplomatic way of saying it was not so good) to
"No comment" and even "Maybe I am missing something". But I had to remind my friends that Damien Hirst made USD 198 MILLION last year from the sale of a complete collection at Sothebys. (Plus he has made other sums) but this was a record by an artist in one sale.

So, what is it about his 'works'? Why do people pay vast amounts for his work. If as I suspect, the main intention is to SHOCK and cause comment and wide spread discussion, you have to take your hat off to him. BUT IS IT ART? What is ART??

Finally, as usual, my dear wife summed up our visit very nicely:"Its all garbage...just garbage.....lets leave and go for something to eat". So we did.

But a visit to the exhibition is recommended.

11 April 2009

Ukraine Property Market

Yesterday, I gave a short presentation at the Ukraine Real Estate Club meeting in Kyiv.
I was asked to talk about the attractiveness of the Ukraine market for foreign investors and also the problems they face.

The main attractiveness of Ukraine right now (mostly Kyiv) is that investors can purchase an income producing asset at a greatly reduced price!!!!
However, the large investment groups are staying away from Ukraine and it will be a LONG time before they return. The people we are meeting now are opportunists (and why not) who are looking to see what they can pick up in a market that is getting hungry for business.

I think the prices from the boom years will NOT return in Kyiv and we are going to see more realistic property prices.

The next BBCU meeting in Kyiv will also look at the current situation in the property market and it will be a round table event.

10 April 2009

Financial Crisis in the UK and Ukraine

This week on 7th April we held another joint meeting with the British Ukrainian Society here in Kyiv. 88 people attended to listen to our guest speakers - Richard Spring MP (Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party) and Igor Mitiukov (Managing Director of Morgan Stanley in Ukraine and previously Ukraine Ambassador to the UK). My personal thanks to Richard and Igor.

Many of our members informed me later that this was one of the best meetings we have had this year.

The outlook for the remainder of 2009 is gloomy in both of the above mentioned economies.Interesting and thought provoking how SO MANY people now work for the government, both national and local in the UK. The salaries of the CEO's of many local authorities outways those of senior managers in large private sector companies.

In Ukraine we have the dual problem of economic 'mess' and political instability.
Ukraine does not have the social support infrastructure as in a developed economy.
I could go so far as to say that 'Capitalism' is supreme in Ukraine and we have more socialism in the UK!!!

We will see what is happening in the property market in our next meeting on 29th April.

28 March 2009

Legal System in Ukraine

I am often asked by business visitors if I can recommend a 'good' law firm that they can use in Ukraine. The BBCU has many law firms who are reliable and I have no problem in making introductions.

There is an interesting article this week in the Kyiv Post written by a young lawyer - Warwick McDonald from Salans law firm. "Establishing confidence in Judiciary will be a key barometer".

The BBCU is involved in a project with the EU-Ukraine Business Council - 'The Rule of Law in Ukraine". If the project moves forward, and I am sure it will, it will require a tremendous amount of work in helping Ukraine to improve how judges are trained, selected and monitored etc.

The former Lord Mayor of London, Sir Gavin Arthur gave an excellent speech back in February at the British-Ukraine Law Society meeting about how the lack of 'the rule of law' is holding back investment into Ukraine. See: http://bula.org.uk/20090205.htm

The EU is funding a project to also help increase the legal system in Ukraine. The project has a budget of Euro 6m. See: http://www.jp.coe.int/CEAD/JP/Default.asp?TransID=146

However, most expats here use a popular phrase to answer just about every problem. "This is Ukraine". Lets be honest, we all know its going to be a huge mountain to climb when it comes to tackling the problem of corruption in the legal system in Ukraine. Judges are poorly paid and 'financial incentives' are still very much a part of life in this part of the former soviet union. Moreover, judges are still used to the system of poltical interference in cases (Is there any other way they may think?).

If western politicians/lawyers/investors are expecting the system in Ukraine to change quickly, they are wrong. (I wish I could say otherwise). I think the system will only change when work begins at university level and later the training of lawyers and judges. Judges in Ukraine are NOT like judges in the EU or indeed the UK. Many of the judges here are not even trained as lawyers. Some of them are former policemen or civil servants.

If western investors are waiting for the legal system in Ukraine to change, they will be waiting a long time. It therefore follows that those investors who are prepared to 'take the chance', will probably succeed and learn how the system works in Ukraine.

On the positive side, things are changing because most of the leading western law firms have established an office in Kyiv. For investors, the process of due dilligence in Ukraine can take a long time and be frustrating. But there are no 100% guarantees.

This is Ukraine.

27 March 2009

The British - How to do Business with them

Our March networking meeting 'The British- How to do Business with them was another success.
With more than 90 people attending our 'standing only' meeting was a bit more social than usual and our members and guests told me they liked it.

Our speakers were: Derek Mansfield - President of Bold Endeavours, who gave a super presentation on the ENGLISH. I think this was one of the best short presentations I have seen from one of our members.
Alex Frishberg - Managing Partner, Frishberg & Partners shared some of his experiences of working with British expats in Kyiv from the early days.
Olga Revina - Management Consultant described her experiences of the different understandings between British and Ukrainian people. (Sometimes we Brits are not serious enough)
Jim Hydzik - Editor & Writer, talked about his work with London based media owners and how it pays off to be 'polite' when dealing with the British.
Our own Tony Wood, then gaves us his personal opinion on the future of how the British are going to do business in the UK. He tolds us about his THREE P's -Purpose, People, Partnership approach to doing business.

This month we had a few more members join the BBCU but we still need many more and a lot more effort is being placed on this. I am sure the Radisson Hotel were happy to get our business again, but its getting more expensive. I just hope the new web site is ready for launching early next month.

Our next meeting will be very soon - Tuesday 7th April and will be a joint meeting with the British Ukrainian Society.

12 March 2009

The British - How to do business with them?

The global financial crisis continues to create new and everyday challenges for the government in Ukraine. The big question is 'Will Ukraine default"?
There are many western banks that cannot afford for Ukraine to default. Sometimes it appears that external interests are more concerned about the situation in Ukraine, than the leadership in Ukraine.
The crisis has really caught up with Ukraine and many businesses are in trouble. Many people have lost their jobs. The frustrating bit, is that the countrys leaders still appear to be more interested in fighting each other than with finding solutions to economic problems.

We will see what unfolds in the next few days.

How ever bad things are, we must always try to be positive and think towards the future with fresh hope. (Even if we cannot get our money out of the bank). Business will continue for those who can manage and implement a survival plan. We all know that in times of hardship, there will always be opportunities for some. So, the next BBCU meeting will be about how to do business with the British. We have some interesting speakers lined up to share their views on this subject.

If you can make it we hope to see you there: Thursday 26 March 2009 - Radisson SAS Hotel, Kyiv - 1900

27 February 2009

Three Way Meeting a great success

Our February meeting last night was another great success. Over 100 people attended our joint BBCU, BUS & EU-Ukraine Business Council meeting - The Rule of Law in Ukraine.

Our two main guest speakers were John Grogan MP (Member for Selby) and Sir Brian Neill.
John inspired people with a positive speech about the relationships between the UK and Ukraine, but reminded everyone that the 2012 Euro football events must be a success, or it will prove a disappointment for Ukraines image abroad.

Sir Brian Neill gave an outstanding presentation on the findings from his first visit last year along with Sir Henry Brooke. He gave an interested account of where Ukraine currently stands in legal process terms. (Copies of the report were made available at the meeting in both English and Ukrainian). I must say I admire him the way he just stands up and without any notes and remembers names and places and dates and gives an accurate account of things. He is a very professional man and a fine example of a former senior British judge. They dont make them like him anymore. He makes me proud to be British.

Many people from the audience shared my views also and came to express how impressed they were. One young woman asked me why we dont form a road show and tour around the country inspring young people inlaw schools and universities. A great idea, but a full time job also.

So, another successful event and many people stayed on later as usual to 'celebrate'.

I would like to thank James Wilson of the EU-Ukraine Business Council and Vera Kravchanko from the British Ukrainian Society for helping to organis this three way event.

22 February 2009

Ukraine cannot afford to default

Many European banks will be hit hard if Ukraine defaults as a country.
The Austrian banks have a significant level of exposure in Ukraine so do the Hungarians and Germans and many others.

Times of recession bring people back down to reality. But I still think we have a long way to go in Kyiv. Anyone visiting a shop, bar, restaurant or cafe in Kyiv city centre will see that prices are still very high when compared to other European cities. Many visitors still find this hard to understand about Ukraine.

Property prices have now reduced. Although the evidence is weak as very few transactions are taking place. Many people have lost jobs and companies are going to the wall in Ukraine, but the ones that survive still hold onto a unique system that is only practiced in former soveit states.
That practice is; they just DO NOT PAY STAFF.
Ukrainian employees will continue to turn up for work everyday knowing they will not get paid and living in the hope that they will get paid 'one day'. The mentality is that its better to have a job than no job. I still find this hard to understand and smile when I think about what would happen if you told your employees in the UK that they can continue working without pay!!!!

Lets see what happens in the country this week.

18 February 2009

February Event - The Rule of Law

I am sat in a hotel lobby in Athens reading my emails.
Cannot help but notice the big difference between Athens and Kyiv right now.
Everyone seems to be forecasting more doom and gloom for Ukraine. "On the brink of collapse" etc etc. Maybe they will prove to be right. BUT, life will go on. Things may get pretty bad this year in Ukraine. But we must all continue to remain optimistic about the long term future.

So optimistic, that our next meeting on 26th February will be about the RULE OF LAW in Ukraine. This will be a joint meeting with the British Ukrainian Society and the EU-Ukraine Business Council.

So, back to the airport. Ukraine still offers opportunity. Many still waiting to be discovered.

31 January 2009

January - Off to a great start

The BBCU had its first monthly meeting on 30 January and we had a very good turnout from members and guests. It was a good opportunity to find out what is going on in the local business community. Our speakers were: Terry Pickard (Current situation in the property market),
Richard Brady (The rule of law in Ukraine , update on the project), Stuart McKenzie (Burns night event), Clive Hunter-Dunne (economic crisis), Peter Burningham (Some positives on the current situation), Tony Wood (Whats happening in Banks).

We will be moving to our new office on 2 February and will make sure we inform all our members, clients and friends about our new contact details.

The BBCU web site will be re-designed and we will have a new look thanks to the work of our new members " Bold Endeavours". I can certainly recommend this company. Visit to their web site: www.boldendeavours.com

15 January 2009

BBCU Plans for 2009

2009 will be a very interesting year in Ukraine.
We have already kicked off with the usual dispute over gas supplies with the Russian Federation.
Towards the end of the year we will see political campaigns developing for the Presidential Elections in January 2010.

The economic situation will be challenging this year for all businesses in Ukraine.
Perhaps the first quarter will be a trying time for survival of the strongest.

During 2009 the BBCU will grow into a stronger business organisation. We have structured the BBCU into three parts: BBCU Business Club, BBCU Business Centre, and BBCU Teaching and Training Centre. We have already developed a strong reputation in our teaching and training courses and we have many clients throughout the Kyiv business community.

We intend to continue increasing our Business Club membership and our monthly meetings will see a high turnout from the business community. We are encouraged by the feedback from our members that they actually 'enjoy' our meetings and find them interesting, entertaining and a place to meet really interesting people.

We will get the web site update soon and promote the full range of services we offer.
We are also preparing to move office to the heart of the city centre.

This is going to be a GREAT year in Ukraine.