Posts in септември
Петък, 23-ти септември, Словакия…
Марк де Турк беше поканен от неговите приятели и партньори от Колежа по администрация Хъбърт, Словакия, на Годишната конференция за бизнес развитеи. На нея заедно с много международни гост-лектори беше отбелязана 15-тата им годишнина.
Ukraine, Odessa, September 2016. The regional government invites me as guest speaker on one of the seminars delivered to the newly appointed District Heads, The target given was to inform the local district heads about creating investment opportunities in the Odessa region and if possible enthusiast them about it. A local tender procedure choose me to do this.
Since I do strongly believe in Ukraine and its people, my enthusiasm at first was answered by the classical cynicism- typical but also understandable for the Odessa region, Little by little, however, the local District Heads could see that my enthusiasm was not founded on nothing and so the new local District Heads started to be positively affected by my enthusiasm and started to look at opportunities to attract investors.
New Year Eve 2013/2014, Kiev. Looking from my hotel room over the „Maidan“ and having wandered during the day in the main streets of this beautiful city, I could sympathize with the emotional ups and downs of the Ukrainian people. I also felt pity of what was happening to this beautiful country and its strong people,
It is then in Kiev that I took the decision to help this country. I do know that if one want to help a country, one starts with the entrepreneurs and artists and those will then help the others. So I started to tour the country to strengthen its business people and went on radio and television to give a positive message to the people of Ukraine.
Today I start to observe some positive changes in economics, art and politics of Ukraine.
I remember the words of Liam Neeson (Oscar Shindler) in Steven Spielberg’s movie Shindler’s List. When his wife asks him what was the reason of his success his answer was „War“.
Do not believe I am an advocate of war, far from it. But in war, sometimes, people wake-up and pushed by the increased necessity to survive find new opportunities they would never have found before. And that is what I did observe in Ukraine in the last 3 years.
Not only did a lot of business people wake up but at the same time the whole world has heard about Ukraine. This was not necessary the case some years ago when one would have asked a Texan, Nigerian or Chinese on the street about Ukraine. Today Ukraine is known worldwide. And this BRAND RECOGNITION can be used in business. Something like: „Made in Ukraine under hard circumstances“
This brings us to foreign investment and the opportunities Ukraine opens today to local and foreign investors.
Yes an investor is looking for clear application of the law. And in Ukraine the application of the law in some occasions has been a mysterious cocktail of uncertainties. This formed a real wall in attracting investors. Clear application of the law does not mean the law in itself. In the extreme, the law can be really bad for some economic sector, but as long as the application of the law is clear and uniform, an investor can still find his way.
Meaning, corruption in itself is not the problem, it is the NOT UNIFORM application of corruption which creates the problem.
With the appointment of totally new local Heads and a new government, this unclear and dis-uniform climate tends to have been changed in the positive direction. At least this is what I do observe. And this is a positive message to investors.
On the other hand – considered today trouble area- Ukraine can apply for different international funding which it could not apply for before. Today’s European, World Bank and other Social Funds increase the possibility of local entrepreneurs to fund – at least part of – their enterprise. Intelligent investors can take advantage of it.
Ukraine has a strategic location towards Russia, Europe, the Middle East and Asia and is less victim of terror attacks in comparison to its main competitor Turkey.
Ukrainian people are known to be hard and intelligent workers and with their low labor costs compared to those iN Western Europe, can compete strongly with the West.
All those elements if not creating – at least attract the idea of investing in Ukraine.
I am indeed advocating foreign investment in Ukraine in order to bring more peace and stability to this country and its economy and at the same time I am advocating the development of art. Art tends to have this positive effect on people to look for understanding instead of war.
When asked about which sectors to invest in, my tentative answer would be: art, agriculture, agro-chemical, cosmetic herbs, minerals, logistics, outsourcing of working force (building, nurses, elderly assistance) and outsourcing of brains and why not – once the war climate tempered – educational tourism or plain tourism.
But I am sure to forget a lot of other “Blue Ocean” opportunities Ukrainian entrepreneurs might have found already. I recall some entrepreneurs on my seminars coming with fantastic new ideas for export to me and for which I am determined to find investors.
And to those entrepreneurs I tend to say, the value of a company for an investor is not necessary the land, the buildings, the machines not even the clients portfolio.
The value of the company for a business angel or risk capitalist is the IDEA and the KNOWLEDGE a company possesses.
And in this we train founders, leaders, managers and every person interested to find new ideas, to make those ideas a reality with clear strategy and strong planning.
Part of our help is to find the necessary money energy with the classical 3 Fs: Family, Friends and Fools. Now in most difficult situations one realizes that the family already helped a lot; a lot of friends tend to lose this status in difficult situations when help is asked; remains the fools who invest in ideas, knowledge and opportunities.
And Ukraine today has a climate of spring for those fools.
I do wish Ukraine and its people success in attracting investors.
Marc J. de Turck