Level Up Ukraine 2018: What drives transformational changes of the Ukrainian business
The third annual business forum Level Up Ukraine was held on 28 November 2018. The event was organized by Deloitte Ukraine and the Taxpayers Association of Ukraine.
Level Up Ukraine is a unique platform for communication and exchange of experience between business representatives and state authorities. During this year’s forum, the participants discussed global trends and internal drivers that would prompt the Ukrainian business to change. Therefore, the forum was mainly dedicated to transformation.
To help the companies implement quality changes, Nataliya Ulyanova, leader of Comprehensive Business Transformation practice, announced a pro-bono project of Deloitte Ukraine for small and medium businesses: “We announce this initiative to fulfill our social mission and dispel the myth that change is a difficult and frightful process.” In particular, the project envisages a competition for a comprehensive reorganization of a company free of charge.
During the forum, a special consideration was given to the issues of transformation of the Ukrainian small and medium-sized business. In its welcoming speech, Andriy Bulakh, managing partner of Deloitte Ukraine, said, “The fact that the Level Up Ukraine is organized with the participation of Deloitte shows that the small and medium business is very important for us. We believe that through joint efforts of such companies it would be possible to achieve success in transforming the Ukrainian economy.”
Raffaele Petruzzi, managing director of Transfer Pricing Center, Vienna, was one of the forum guests. In his opening speech, he stressed out the fact that Ukraine needs to develop medium-sized business. Otherwise, the country's economy will not grow at a fast pace.
During the panel discussion “Tax and Financial Security of the Future”, the participants discussed such aspects as global trends, in particular, the BEPS, current and expected changes in the Ukrainian legislation. Grigol Katamadze, president of the Taxpayers Association of Ukraine, presented a draft concept of the Development Tax Code, which was approved by the Ukrainian Business Council comprising 68 Ukrainian associations. “Establishing trust is a two-way traffic, but the state has to take the first step. Business expects a reduction in tax burden on payroll fund, introduction of tax on withdrawn capital instead of profit tax, and a radical reformation of the State Fiscal Service,” said Grigol Katamadze.
During the discussion of the future of investments in Ukraine, the participants talked about the main requirements of international investors to business. The speakers concurred that Ukraine has the required talent pool as well as technological and intellectual potential, but businesses usually do not know how to sell their innovations. Deborah Feyrlamb, coordinator of the Ukrainian National Startup Fund, and Alex Romanovich, managing partner of BeachHead Partners, SEO Social2B, also placed emphasis on this aspect.
The companies mainly invest in the Ukrainian agribusiness and food production. The investors also show interest in education and pharmaceutical industry. And in the opinion of Givi Topchishvili, founder and president of 9.8 Group, in Ukraine, it is teams and people who are willing to survive in a tough environment with a lack of transparency, that are interesting in terms of investing.
The practical aspects of transformation that took place over the last four years were analyzed through the examples of success stories of the Ukrainian companies. During the discussion, Andriy Pyshnyi, Chairman of the Board of JSC Oschadbank, presented some impressive figures: market share of the bank increased from 7% in 2014 up to 22% in 2018. Andriy Pyshnyi named the project management and communication as key components of the bank's transformation, because personal involvement of each employee in the transformational process is very important.
Andriy Bulakh, managing partner of Deloitte Ukraine, summed up the panel discussions by saying that transformation is possible even under the most difficult conditions. “The most significant transformation takes place at the level of thinking and actions of a particular person. Business cannot move to a new level without a mature leader and strong team that is ready for serious changes,” said Andriy Bulakh.
In addition to the main stage, the event participants could attend two more panels.
During the functional transformation session, leading world experts gave master classes to share personal recommendations. In particular, the agenda included the following topics: work structuring, team building, opening of accounts abroad, and capital raising.
Master classes from representatives of successful agrarian, infrastructure and pharmaceutical companies of Ukraine were held as part of the industrial transformation session panel. The experts also provided advice on steps to be taken to enter the international market.
During the industrial session, a competition was held among the Ukrainian start-up projects. HUB 4.0, business forum partner, selected projects for the Startup Pitching Zone. The innovative solution teams presented their projects to a professional jury panel with Deborah Feyrlamb, coordinator of the Ukrainian National Startup Fund, as a member. The winner was a start-up that proposed converting the vehicles to run on both fuel and electricity.
At the end of the eventful forum program, the participants shared their impressions about the event and master classes while enjoying jazz music.