Ukraine: Seeing Opportunities in a Time of a Great Disaster

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The shock of the war has rapidly accelerated the time for Ukrainians. Now, a peaceful life seems like a distant past, but the month of war passed before our eyes in a second. Yet, Ukrainians and their creative industries managed not only to immanently recover from shock but also found impetus and resources for development. 
Ukrainian bombed houses

The repeatedly announced Russian attack still took everyone by surprise. In the first weeks of the war, the economy fell into the abyss, with millions of people leaving their jobs and homes, and business activity receding significantly. Millions of professionals were forced to move and settle in safer places. Many digital specialists went to war on the front lines, and the rest remain actively involved in volunteering outside of working hours. 

IT companies have managed to cope with the challenges most effectively. A survey of market leaders found that most firms transported their employees to safer cities or even abroad. New offices have been opened in relocation places, or existing ones have been enlarged. IT companies had also created even broader conditions for remote work for their specialists. Some have even expanded into the EU and are already hiring people there. 

Thanks to mobility, migration within the country was relatively painless for freelancers. Programmers, developers, web and graphic designers, copywriters, and other creative industry representatives have already returned to fulfilling their functions. Moreover, the recent decline can be quickly followed by growth, which is stimulated by favorable external and internal factors. 

Official Support Measures

The disaster of the war united Ukrainians, the society rejected its differences and focused on a common goal — victory. The state's relations with business are no exception here. Authorities have adopted a very outspread program to stimulate the economy: the number of taxes has been reduced or significantly decreased, some administrative processes simplified, and inspections banned during wartime. Freelancers and small entrepreneurs were mostly concerned about official procedures. Private entrepreneurs were dismissed from prerequisite tax payments, yet many decided to keep the obligation to contribute to the economy. At the same time, large companies help the state by paying taxes in advance. 

In addition, long-awaited changes have been made to the legislation. Finally, many official services were allowed to use cloud services. These steps are meant not only to simplify operations and certain procedures but also to encourage building Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud data centers in Ukraine.

The government also stepped forward in legalizing the crypto sector, but the mechanisms have not been made clear to the point yet. To improve cybersecurity, the officials allow individuals to "bug bounty" public information systems which are also important. Hundreds of thousands of specialists are already working successfully in the “state IT army”. This is just one of the volunteering initiatives led by creative industry representatives who keep on their work and seek new challenges in difficult times. 

World’s First Aid

After Ukraine’s victory, newly rebuilt cities will most likely have streets named after Elon Musk. Starlink supplies are difficult to overestimate in combat. Satellite Internet stations have benefited not only the military and critical industries but also private businesses, including IT. There have been no global problems with the Internet in the rear, and now, thanks to Musk, there will be none. Moreover, most companies rely on Starlinkin cases of emergency. 

Market leaders have shown their support to Ukrainians

Some more good news for freelancers and all Ukrainians in general. After several unsuccessful attempts, PayPal entered the Ukrainian market, albeit with limited functionality. In addition, the lack of a convenient service for receiving money from abroad has shackled the hands of experts providing their services remotely. Now there are three major providers: in addition to PayPal, Wise and Revolut have also entered the Ukrainian market. 

Market leaders in professional tools for techs, such as Adobe, Figma, and Sketch have shown their support and allowed users not to pay for their services for some time. Improving skills, upgrading skills, or mastering a new profession has also become more accessible. Coursera has granted Ukrainians access to all its courses indefinitely, and Epidemic Sound offers a year of premium access.

Access to Global Markets

Sympathetic conditions and opportunities to improve people's skills are undoubtedly necessary, but they are inseparable from the situation in the labor market. According to a survey of the major professional media in Ukraine, IT companies have not lost a significant part of their employees and are gradually reaching pre-war levels. Despite some decline in hiring at the beginning of the war, most have now returned to active recruitment. Moreover, businesses remain profitable thanks to large foreign contracts and local endorsements. 

UDDU helps specialists find new contracts and customers abroad

Small companies, which mostly worked in the local market and freelancers, were less fortunate. Now in search of new clientele, they have to enter the international market and compete not only with foreigners but also with compatriots.

Yet, Ukrainians unite not only on the battlefield. Ukraine Digital Design United appeared as a volunteering initiative, but now it helps qualified Ukrainian designers and IT specialists find new contracts and customers abroad. Nearly 200 seasoned professionals in UX, visual and motion design, software developers and creatives are motivated and willing to take on the complex tasks to ensure the successful transformation of businesses abroad. UDDU say that the pool of their pros is big enough to ensure tailored teams for any business needs. Moreover, they not only strive to provide fellow designers with paid work but donate 20% of their profit to support their country withstand.

Since February, aid to the army and the state has become a matter of honor for all Ukrainians. Driven to win, Ukrainian professionals and activists understand that feeding the economy of a homeland is no less important than fighting at the front or helping the victims and displaced citizens. The profits and paid taxes as well as personal and corporate donations support the military and humanitarian causes support refugees and help overcome the terrible aftermath of russian aggression. Despite all the sadness Ukrainians keep believing, that the night is the darkest before the dawn and the future they are fighting for is built also on creativity and innovation.

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Creative director, Project coordinator

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Head of US Development

Anton

Product designer, Project coordinator

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