Takeaways from the webinar “UA Diaspora: InDeed”

January 12,2023 386
Takeaways from the webinar “UA Diaspora: InDeed”

As 2022 was winding down, the UWC’s Economic Prosperity and Investment Committee (EPIC) organized a webinar, “UA Diaspora: InDeed,” to set the stage for a future series of deep dive webinars over 2023 that will focus on the role of the 20-million strong Ukrainian diaspora in supporting Ukraine’s economy here and now, and beyond.

The webinar aimed to highlight and shine a light on the fact that while Russia is waging a full-scale war against Ukraine on the battlefield and in the information domain, it is also waging a no less devastating war against Ukraine and its people through economic warfare.

It focused attention on how the diaspora can support small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs that serve as the backbones in Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression.  We focused on sharing ideas and experiences on how the diaspora can be rallied to support Ukrainians economically in the here and now, and in the longer term.

Paul Grod, UWC President, opened the event with a video message which highlighted UWC’s ongoing efforts to ensure economic aid for Ukraine and also reaffirming UWC’s commitment to helping build a stronger and more prosperous future for Ukraine.

Natalia Nemyliwska, UWC’s EPIC Director and event moderator, launched the webinar by saying that Ukraine’s diaspora has demonstrated extraordinary unity and effectiveness over the period of Russian full-scale aggression, but noted that the diaspora needs to do more with respect to supporting Ukraine’s economy.  Ukraine’s entrepreneurs and small business owners, Nemyliwska noted, create jobs, pay taxes, fund and arm the Ukrainian army, volunteer and innovate but are under great and mounting economic pressure.  Finding ways for the diaspora to make a positive economic impact on the real economy of Ukraine is crucially important, Nemyliwska concluded.

The event featured three panelists, including Yuriy Fylyuk, CEO, Promprylad.Renovation, Marianna Bonechi, Founder and Managing Partner of Slava Ventures, and Andrii Romanchuk from the Association of Ukraine Business in Poland. Each speaker offered their unique views as experts and practitioners in the areas of impact investing, venture capital, bilateral trade and business relations, respectively.

Fylyuk noted that despite the war entrepreneurs and innovators are not giving up and continue working with greater vigor and determination.  Bonechi noted that Ukraine needs to accelerate its human capital, noting that many world-renowned projects and businesses have Ukrainians on board and that this resource needs to be activated. Romanchuk noted that the economic opportunities opening up between Ukraine and Poland are immense and that benefits can be reaped by both sides in the areas of trade, business and investment.

Pertinent interventions were also made by Emma Turos, Managing Director of the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce with respect to export and trade, and Artem Scherbyna, Chief Investment Officer and Head of R&D at Capital Times. Turos noted that Ukraine’s diaspora is well placed to support Ukrainian exporters by facilitating trade contacts, the transfer of skills, knowledge and expertise, while Artem Shcherbyna echoed the message that Ukraine needs to develop and seek out avenues and opportunities to mobilize and capitalize on the millions of Ukrainians abroad who can support Ukrainian entrepreneurship and business with their financial capital.