Resilience and Reform: Ukraine’s Journey Through Crisis and Recovery

The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 profoundly changed the lives of Ukrainians. In the face of advancing Russian troops and relentless bombardments, many were forced to abandon their homes, seeking refuge either in other regions of Ukraine or abroad. This upheaval led to a significant displacement of individuals, the destruction of businesses, and a widespread disruption of daily life.  

Confronted with these dire circumstances and demonstrating resilience and determination, Ukrainians swiftly mobilized, not only in defense of their homeland, but also in a concerted effort to sustain Ukraine’s survival. They addressed the immediate needs of their countrymen and started laying the groundwork for a future vision of Ukraine, one that is resolutely anchored in the values and principles of the democratic West. 

Members of the Ukrainian Business Council and National Business Coalition took part in a hearing of the Parliamentarian Committee on Economic Development on February 7, 2024.

CIPE Continues to Support its Partners 

CIPE was there every step of the way, leveraging its extensive network and relationships built over the previous three decades to pivot its focus towards addressing the immediate challenges encountered by its partners. Our partners jumped into high gear to re-establish domestic supply chains and logistics hubs. These partners included:

  • The Association of Private Employers (Kharkiv region)
  • Business Community Club and Lviv Regulatory Hub (Lviv region)
  • All Ukrainian Professional Association of Entrepreneurs (Odesa)
  • Terytoriia Uspikhu (Kropyvnytsky region)
  • Siaivo Sivershyny (Chernihiv)
  • Ukrainian Association of Business Support Centers (Mykolaiv)
  • Ukrainian Business Council (Kyiv)
  • Ukrainian Agri Council (Uman) 

CIPE’s efforts were crucial in ensuring the provision of essential supplies and the continuity of economic activities, providing small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with vital guidance on legal issues, marketing, and communication strategies for expanding into foreign markets, especially as the domestic demand waned. CIPE’s support also strengthened Ukraine’s private sector capacity to cooperate more effectively across regions, build coalitions, and engage in public-private dialogue. These efforts were instrumental in advocating for beneficial short-term regulatory measures, reducing administrative burdens and thereby sustaining Ukrainian businesses’ ability to operate and respond to the country’s humanitarian needs effectively.  

Andrii Dykun, Head of the Ukrainian Agri Council, talks to the members of the organization.

CIPE’s partners adeptly navigated additional challenges, notably, the significant internal displacement of Ukraine’s population caused by the war. Many internally displaced persons (IDPs) found themselves in unfamiliar regions, facing the immediate needs for shelter, supplies, and employment, which exerted pressure on local communities.

To alleviate these challenges, CIPE worked with five organizations across different regions:

  • NGO “Poruch z toboyu”
  • Regional Branch of Ukrainian Marketing Association in Rivne
  • Sumy Regional Development Agency
  • Business Incubator Group Ukraine
  • Khmelnytskyi Cooperative Trade and Economic Institute

With CIPE’s support, these organizations provided targeted training programs for IDPs, facilitating their local integration and enabling them to use new skills to secure employment and contribute to the economic growth of their new communities. 

Oleksandr Chumak, Head of the Association of Private Employers from the city of Kharkiv, addresses regional media on the challenges of conducting business activities in the frontlines

Evolving Needs and Priorities of Ukraine’s Private Sector 

Based on this initial response to the crisis, CIPE continues to adapt its strategic focus to meet the evolving needs of Ukraine’s private sector. Its current work aims to elevate the voice of Ukrainian business in the ongoing discussions surrounding the country’s recovery and economic reform process, thereby helping to set priorities and drive policy discussions. 

Through comprehensive surveys of Ukraine’s SMEs, CIPE has identified their primary concerns regarding the reconstruction process. This insight has enabled several of CIPE’s Ukrainian partners – the National Business Coalition, the Ukrainian Business Council, and the Union of Ukrainian Entrepreneurs – as well as their members, to coalesce around key issues and provide a unified front, strengthening the position of business in Ukraine’s reconstruction and reform process. While there is still much work to be done, the private sector remains a pivotal force, working with government and civil society to determine recovery priorities and steer discussions on economic reforms essential for fostering a robust and resilient business environment. 

Corruption continues to be a significant concern for Ukraine, especially as the country seeks continued international assistance and support and pursues membership in the European Union (EU). CIPE is supporting business to address this concern through advocacy and capacity building initiatives. Today, firms are advocating for enhanced transparency and accountability in compliance and business operations, recognizing these conditions as crucial for maintaining competitiveness and for successful integration into the EU market, which promises significant financial aid and assistance. CIPE’s recent report, Rebuild with Trust: How Ukraine’s Private Sector Can Strengthen the Integrity of Reconstruction and Combat Corruption,” acknowledges ongoing challenges, yet also highlights the progress Ukraine has made in enhancing business integrity and combating corruption over the past decade.

Moreover, the private sector has been instrumental in supporting women as they take on new roles in society. With many men on the frontlines, women have had to take on the roles of sole caretakers, business managers, and entrepreneurs. CIPE’s partners have provided consistent support, equipping women with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully own and operate a business.  

Ukrainian Association of Business Support Centers (Mykolaiv) delivers humanitarian aid to the city hospital

Ukraine at the Forefront of the Fight for Democracy 

Over the past two years, Ukrainians have not only demonstrated their resilience in the face of adversity, but have also achieved significant progress under the most trying circumstances. As the war enters its third year, old challenges remain, while new ones emerge and need to be addressed. CIPE remains committed to adapting its support for the private sector in sustaining Ukraine’s economy and bolstering the country’s overall resilience.  Ukraine is a pivotal battleground in the conflict between democracy and authoritarianism. It is imperative to maintain unwavering support, ensuring that Ukraine does not waver in its resistance to overt Russian aggression. CIPE remains dedicated to its role, working with its partners to facilitate Ukraine’s successful integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.  

Published Date: April 03, 2024