One of Parimatch Tech‘s events at this year’s Web Summit was the «Growth and Development Despite the War» panel. This discussion was related to the unique approach of Ukrainian business to overcome problems and maintain power, despite the difficulties that come with war. The panel touched on topics such as change and business development, proposed new approaches and shared their vision of the future.
The panel speakers were:
- Oleksandr Usyk — Ukrainian professional boxer, world champion, and Parimatch Responsible Gambling Ambassador;
- Evgen Belousov — Deputy CEO at Parimatch Tech;
- Nataliia Hilevych — CEO at Parimatch Ukraine;
- Oleksandr Bornyakov — Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine;
- Vadym Voitiuk — Principal Solutions Architect at AWS.
Changes in the business environment in Ukraine
Nataliia Hilevych noted the unity and trust between business and the state, competing companies, brands, athletes, foundations and people in general. According to her, people who could not find a common language for months and years are now united.
What used to take months for employees is now more likely to be resolved by morning, have a team in the afternoon, get funded in the evening, and launch the next day.
Oleksandr Bornyakov confirmed this opinion, noting that, despite the challenges, the country supports the IT industry and most Ukrainian startups were able to move to the next stage of financing.
The government is helping them by talking to their Western counterparts, raising funds and allowing them to attend events such as the web summit to raise money for future development. But, according to Oleksandr, the Ministry of Digital Development can afford to help the IT industry even more.
From a business point of view, Evgen Belousov acknowledged the wartime risks for Western partners of Ukrainian companies. But on the other hand, he sees how the Ukrainian team works every day, their passion and desire to achieve results that confirm the quality of products developed by Ukrainian specialists.
«To understand this level of motivation, you need to see our channels in Slack, other work group chats and e-mail threads. People are very motivated to work because they don’t know what will happen tomorrow and want to ensure their financial stability. Another not-so-obvious point is stress. And the best medicine against this stress for Ukrainians is their work. It is not in the nature of Ukrainians to wait for something to happen, but rather to make things happen and solve problems themselves.»
As for emergency measures, they are being developed on the go. For example, Parimatch Tech provided backup generators and Starlink to prevent power and internet problems in Ukrainian offices due to Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.
Vadym Voitiuk mentioned the phenomenon of instantaneous expansion of Ukrainian business. According to Vadim, the business was forced to move to areas bordering Ukraine. Since the user base has moved there, customers are still using Ukrainian credit cards, willing to help, and willing to spend money in Ukraine. And this geographical change does not change much for them, it is not about moving, but about expanding the business. And this trend is not limited to digital business.
«It [the war] created a situation of immediate expansion. We saw a similar situation for Ukrainian startups and middle-size enterprises. They just said: ‘Ok, if we can’t expand here, in Ukraine, we need to expand elsewhere.’ It is a compelling case of pressure when you’re thinking about expanding, not sometime during 2023, but tonight. And by tomorrow, you need to find a supplier for your services.»
What other countries should learn from Ukraine right now
Oleksandr Bornyakov, Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine: «For example, the digital government ecosystem. Estonia was a showcase for us; we learned a lot from them and built similar things ourselves. But at some point, we outgrow them, not only because the Ukrainian market is more extensive than the Estonian. Technology changes very fast, and our mobile-first concept formed the basis of the government’s technology transformation strategy. Focusing on services available on your smartphone is something other countries could learn from Ukraine because there is not such a vast ecosystem in other European countries where you can do almost anything.»
Evgen Belousov, Parimatch Tech: «The aggressive business environment in Ukraine creates a competitive atmosphere where you need to fight for customers. That’s why we have better services, for example, in restaurants and better internet providers. The balance between service quality, cost, and the time you spend is definitely something Western countries could learn from Ukraine.»
Vadym Voitiuk, AWS: «Ukraine is a very young country. Many services here, such as postal and telecom services, were born from the experience of other countries. Unlike Western European countries, we do not have such a legacy of generations. For example, there are European countries where telecom operators have been working since the 80s: some of these countries still have internal roaming when you move from one region to another. In Ukraine, no one remembers what internal mobile roaming is.
When discussing the will to create the same service as «Nova Poshta» in France, you lose sight of one crucial aspect — you will have to “cut off the old tales.» And if we talk about Western companies, they usually don’t make these cuts because they value stability. No one comes to Ukraine for stability. Ukraine is a growing market and turbulent business environment; it is a country of opportunities, a land of growth, and, I would even say, a country of adventure compared to Germany. It appears to me that closer economic connections with Ukraine will soon lead to stable European countries adopting the Ukrainian experience of ditching the baggage of a legacy with no value.»
Nataliia Hilevych, Parimatch Ukraine: «Don’t postpone it, do it today. Managers used to plan things like: «I’ll do it tomorrow when I get some sleep» or «I’ll finish it next week when the ideas come to me.» But now, every manager says, «I will do it today because I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I don’t know if we’ll have electricity when I wake up.» Doing things today has become a new habit for the Parimatch Ukraine team and every Ukrainian.»
What to expect in Ukraine
«The answer to the question of what Ukraine will be like in 10-20 years has already been partially answered by the students who came to the Maidan in 2013 and said that we should be part of the European family. I see Ukraine as a part of the European family, especially considering that we have already received candidate status.»
Oleksander added that within 10 years Ukraine will become an expert in building digital public services, and the Ministry of Technological Transformation will begin to share its experience with other countries, such as Estonia, Poland, North America and Africa. A potential partner will observe and show interest in what is happening from this point of view. The Ministry of Technological Transformation already has experience in refactoring and reengineering public services.
The application «Diiya» is used by more than 20 million users. Potential partners see this and understand that with so many people using the Diiya application, the developers of these services know what they are doing.
«So, right now, all Ukrainians are doing as much as they can. And we are doing as much as possible and a little more. We are not going to stop, and we will rebuild everything that the aggressor destroyed ten times more beautiful. A Mexican proverb says: «They wanted to bury us, but they didn’t know that we were seeds.» And the aggressors are just fertilizer for our seeds.» — stated Oleksandr Usyk, Ukrainian professional boxer, world champion, and Parimatch Responsible Gambling Ambassador.
About Parimatch Tech
Parimatch Tech is an international product company that develops the Parimatch brand. Established in 1994, Parimatch has grown from a retail bookmaker into an entertainment platform represented on four continents and in more than ten countries. The company’s main office is located in Limassol, Cyprus, with development centres in Ukraine, Cyprus, Czech Republic, and Belarus.
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