In times of conflict, Ukrainian entrepreneurs are waging their business war

LVIV, Ukraine – Yuriy Zakharchuk dreamed at one time a costume for the game, inventing everything from ancient armor to space armor.

But after February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Mr. Zakharchuk decided to take his business alongside the legend in the war-torn world of his hometown of Kyiv.

His company’s turnaround in the helmet and helmet made the same impression, he said with a smile. He said, “We are always on guard for any need, from the time of the Roman Empire to the fantasy of the future.”

Worse, he added, his business, Steel Mastery, has experience in developing simple and convenient applications for long-term flow. He says: “We know how to calm things down.

Mr. Zakharchuk, whose company of 70 employees provides one-time clothing for thousands of customers in Europe and the United States, not only in the wake of the war. Across Ukraine, many companies are making changes for life in war by making it part of their business.

In the southern city of Odesa, a local style of clothing has all its components, even its outerwear, outerwear to support the plate.

In Lviv, some of the safest businesses in western Ukraine are engaged in the installation of weapons in real cars, military uniforms, and, more secretively, ammunition.

Volodymyr Korud, vice president of the Lviv Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have a number of companies that are improving themselves to help the military. “Some get involved in weapons, but that’s something we can’t discuss,” he said, out of fear that they could become military-minded.

Many companies work with charities to support the Ukrainian military. But increasingly, companies are looking to establish the kind of profits they can support during the crisis – and perhaps even once it stops, looking to export.

Oksana Cherepanych, 36, said it was not only selfishness that prompted her decision to turn her company into a restaurant maker and restaurant chain into a Ukrainian clothing manufacturer.

He said, “It is also about saving jobs for our employees.” We need to motivate people to stay in our community by making sure they can find work here. That way, we support our local economy. “

His plan worked. His company, Gregory Textile, based in Lviv, now has a clothing contract for the Ukrainian military, as well as its air force. It can save the work of 40 seamstresses it has in its staff, and even add 10 new positions. He assigned the tasks to women who had fled fighting in eastern Ukraine.

But although the company earned only 60 percent of its pre-war earnings, it said it was still turning a profit.

Others, such as Mr. Zakharchuk, use this restoration time for information that goes into the background. It produces the ceramic-coated coat – a function that involves selling the bank of the Soviet era and enlisting the help of octogenarian scientists.

The armor usually consists of a bullet-proof vest that holds the weapon plate in front and back. The easiest way is to make the plates out of steel, a skill that would have been easier to get into the fashion weapons industry. Instead, he decided to find a new company, YTO Group, to produce ceramic weapons.

Ceramic plates are very hot, and many soldiers prefer them for the expansion they allow. But they need sophisticated technology and equipment to create it – none of that belongs to Mr. Zakharchuk has.

He says: “I do not know many things. “But if I want something, I’ll find it. That’s my unique skill.”

He will first research how to make such dishes – and then, how to get the required machinery. He assembled a work website to find people with the skills he thought would be necessary, and then calmed them down to ask for advice.

Eventually, he discovered he needed a hot spot, which is typically used in Ukraine to produce special ceramics for the country’s Soviet-era nuclear power plant.

It is called factory after factory, facing a string of rejections. Some companies have already shut down, and others have apologized for having lost their businesses in the fighting.

After two months of research, he discovered a kiln nuclear power plant, built in 1980 and undamaged. He took a bank loan and bought it for $ 10,000.

Kiln, which could fit behind a small trailer, weighs more than 1,500 pounds. It consumes one energy that can provide 3,000 homes. But none of this is a problem.

The issue is here: The generator was in a town in southern Ukraine occupied by Russia in March. Still, Mr. Zakharchuk was disappointed.

We provided contracts for all Russian personnel at the inspection site, and they assisted in removing it. You could call it a ‘special mission’ of mine, ‘he joked – a reference to Russia calling his attack a “special military operation.”

But even in the kiln, Mr. Zakharchuk still wants to know how. As a result, he turned to a group of Ukrainian scientists, aged 75 to 90, who were Soviet experts in physics and other complex subjects.

“They have over 50 years of experience,” she says, “but their advanced age means that they are sometimes unable to communicate.”

Anyway, the plan can pay off. Its YTO team has now released a test case. If the company can grow, Mr. Zakharchuk wants to sell the weapon for about $ 220 to $ 250 each, about half of what they spend elsewhere, he said.

In Lviv, Roman Khristin, 31, also ended up in the arms business. The attack damaged the business of his consultant, who advised on speed and crisis management, after several companies fled the country.

Initially, he wanted to help the war by importing goods, including pasta, medicine and fuel, and military supplies. But he was quickly burned by his possessions and his zeal.

“Then I realized: I should be involved in economic warfare, not civil war. I am not a soldier, I am not a soldier. But I can network, I can import and export. I also know that how to start a business. ”

It was then that he turned into the weapon. “Early in the war, there was a need for 400,000 weapons. Now it is twice. And for acquisition, not even half of that, ”he said.

She bought bulletproof vests. His team had tried and adapted their own method to create a metal plate in them.

He hopes that it will not only help to support Ukraine’s economy in times of war, but also to give itself a chance that could last longer. “Right now, we are starting a group of traders to start working in exports,” he said.

Ms. Cherepanych also hopes to put her new business on the armor, eventually releasing it to the restaurant and restaurant market which she hopes to re-launch after the war.

In the basement of his popular office lounge, which is made of brick, bolts of brightly colored fabric are tucked in at the sides, supported by green olive, beige, and blue navy.

But he insists they are still focusing on the form: “We want our troops in something useful and positive – but it’s also good.”

About Mr. Zakharchuk, he is currently trying to get $ 1.5 million from investors to help him repair his kiln and use it to boost his production and his goal of 10,000 ceramic plates per month. He has received 20 inquiries.

Naturally, that has not stopped him

“We’ll get 100, even 500 denials,” he said. “But in the end, we get the money because we have to show them that we got it.”

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