Quit whining: how Ukrainian business elite tried to save country’s image in Davos

Годі скиглити: як українська бізнес-еліта намагалася врятувати імідж країни в Давосі

Ukraine is a country of innovations, talents, and opportunities. Participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos made attempts to convey this message to the world leaders. For the first time ever, the representatives of Ukrainian business has held #Ukraine House Davos there – the platform, where investment prospects of Ukraine are discussed all week long.

Ukraine House has settled down outside the Congress Centre, where all major sessions of the World Economic Forum are being held. Russia House, which is the official residence of the Russian mission in Davos, is located on one of the streets on the opposite site.

Members of Ukraine House decided not to complain about the war, corruption and slow reforms. Instead, they has focused on those areas where Ukraine has something to boast about.

What was praised

One of the panel discussions was held by AgroHub – the project founded by Yulia Poroshenko. This year, AgroHub jointly with Radar Tech Incubator and Mironivsky Hliboproduct (MHP) have launched acceleration program for agricultural startups. “If you are investor, please have a look at Ukrainian agricultural startups,” – Yulia Poroshenko called upon. Yuriy Kosyuk, CEO at MHP, shared the same vision: “Despite the fact that many businessmen are doing shadowy businesses, Ukraine is one of the best places to do business in Europe. Just believe me. I do business in various countries of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Our country is safe and nice. Moreover, you may easily find smart people able to create success stories.”

Another panel discussion of Ukraine House was about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Or rather, where crypto harbors of the future will be located. Mikhail Chobanyan, moderator of this panel discussion and co-founder of Bitcoin Foundation has immediately told that the purpose of this meeting is not to promote something, but to share the experience and to learn from the experiences of others. After all, discussion was participated by financiers from Canada and Switzerland: Don Tapscott, representative of Blockchain Research Institute, John Hucker, founding president of Swiss Finance Plus Technology Association, and Marc P. Bernegger, fintech investor. They talked about the regulation of financial services and about the need for governmental strategies to support blockchain and crypto industry. This strategy is already deployed in Switzerland, for instance. Lots of projects gradually appear in Canada. Don Tapscott said that thanks to Trump’s anti-immigration laws many Canadian entrepreneurs return from the USA to their homeland. Ukraine may be on a par with Canada, Switzerland, Japan – as a country, where ICO may be conducted and where blockchain-based projects may be developed.

In addition to the above, Ukraine House has talked about artificial intelligence, development of hubs, and about the role of creative thinking in the economy of the future.

Innovation House decided to inquire from the guests of Ukraine House Davos to what extent their perception of Ukraine has changed before and after this event, and how all the above-mentioned discussions may affect the image of the country.

What do foreigners say about #Ukraine House Davos

Alex Fridlyand, Managing Director, Soros Fund Management

Годі скиглити: як українська бізнес-еліта намагалася врятувати імідж країни в Давосі Хватит ныть: как украинская бизнес-элита пыталась спасти имидж страны в Давосе Quit whining: how Ukrainian business elite tried to save country’s image in Davos

Photo: Ciklum

– What are your first impressions of Ukraine House?

– First of all, this is tastefully done. Mostly, decoration. This is of prime importance, since this reflects the spirit of the country that wants to sell its mental power, rather than what is hidden in the earth.

– Are you referring to (Russia) House on the opposite side?

– Exactly.

– How about their decoration?

It’s up to them. But here everything is done in a refined manner, with a strive for the future, for the 21st century. And people talk here about artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain, about the use of technologies in agriculture. Everything is about IT here. And sure thing, this is important.

– Will such project like Ukraine House Davos help to attract investment?

– Dozens of large investors have already visited it, though not all of them say their names…

– Please provide examples.

– Well, I will not tell you.

– At least tell me what fields do they represent.

– Major private equity funds from New York, London. Some of them came here for five minutes, some stayed here for one hour, some has shaken hands. When people come here and see that Ukraine is a story of mental power, they want to come back and to learn more about it. Сonsidering the fact that this is a story of mental power, it will definitely resolve the problem of corruption and everything else.

Simon Smith, Head of Public Sector Division at PwC Luxembourg

Годі скиглити: як українська бізнес-еліта намагалася врятувати імідж країни в Давосі Хватит ныть: как украинская бизнес-элита пыталась спасти имидж страны в Давосе Quit whining: how Ukrainian business elite tried to save country’s image in Davos

Simon Smith is in the front raw

– This year the first Ukraine House is being held in Davos. What are your impressions? What do you think about our country, its potential?

– Ukraine is good at IT sector. Events of Ukraine House prove this to be true. This is rather interesting, because Ukrainians decided not just to promote themselves, but to talk about global trends and how Ukraine is fitting into them.

– What was your first impression when you entered?

– I was amazed, lively atmosphere is here, but there is so little space to hold all of the guests. People on the street are peeking in the windows, which means that something very important is happening here.

– What is your global forecast as to the Ukrainian economy?

– Well, there is clear potential for IT and pharmaceutical industry. But, as you may know, Ukraine has always been strong in the industrial sector and agriculture. Great opportunities still may be found there. But much remained to be changed for these fields to be well-developed again.

– And what about corruption, which is discussed everywhere?

Corruption is an issue that exists everywhere, not in Ukraine only. Of course, this is one of the weaknesses of Ukraine. But if you believe in what people are talking about here, it’s just a matter of time.

Peter Helfenstein, Account Manager for Large Accounts, Ciklum in Switzerland

Годі скиглити: як українська бізнес-еліта намагалася врятувати імідж країни в Давосі Хватит ныть: как украинская бизнес-элита пыталась спасти имидж страны в Давосе Quit whining: how Ukrainian business elite tried to save country’s image in Davos

Photo: Facebook

– What is your impression of the Ukraine House Davos?

– By the way, I often visit Ukraine, since I represent the Ukrainian software company in Switzerland.

– And what do you think about Ukraine House?

– To tell the truth, I am pleasantly surprised. This is rewarding experience for me, I got acquainted with many people, who are interested in Ukraine, Ukrainian resources, who understand the value of talents and solutions. With those, who are interested in technologies, such as blockchain and AI.

– In your opinion, will Ukraine House help to attract investment in the country?

– Actually, I saw here many business cards of people, who are investors, entrepreneurs, who came here and want to enter into discussions. My interest is, of course, to promote the services that are being rendered by my company and to show what we may offer. But there is a common interest in promotion Ukraine as a business location. I believe that my colleagues here are of the same opinion.



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