On November 24, the Forbes Tech conference dedicated to technological trends and new opportunities in times of uncertainty was held. The topic of one of the panels was the globalization of Ukrainian business: speakers from SoftServe, Liki24 and Parimatch Tech shared their insights on the difficulties they faced when entering new markets, the benefits of expanding the geography of business and the lessons they learned during the full-scale war.
According to Nicholas Tymoshchuk, Government Affairs Director at Parimatch Tech, the main priority for the country now is bringing the victory closer: helping the army, maintaining the functioning of critical infrastructure, finding sources of international support and ensuring overall economic stability.
Nicholas Tymoshchuk: "If the country can assist, simplify taxation, or help some sectors, it's great. But it is best not to count on this for business development right now."
Nicholas also noted that after the victory, it would be essential to deliver a message to the representatives of the state about the importance of creating a favourable tax climate in Ukraine compared to competing countries in the region. If this is not accomplished, an influx of investment from international companies, which is so necessary for the post-war recovery of the economy, should not be expected.
When commenting on recent steps towards globalization, Taras Potochnyi, Vice President of Expansion at Liki24.com, urged Ukrainian companies to be careful when it comes to entering the Polish market. According to Taras, Poland has fairly strict European-level regulations in many areas, including technology.
Taras Potochnyi: "If you choose Poland because you've achieved impressive results building a business in Ukraine, the scenario will likely not repeat itself there. At first, you may get support, especially given the number of temporary migrants from Ukraine, but over time, the support will weaken."
Taras named Romania a favourable alternative.
Romania is a new black. This is a European country with the mentality and portrait of a customer very similar to those in Ukraine. Prices are close to Ukrainian ones, and the regulation in many areas is more relaxed than in other European countries. Romania can be a good starting point for further movement to the west. You need to be careful with the option of Poland, consider Romania and do not rush to Western Europe.
Business globalization tips from Taras Potochnyi:
- A Ukrainian company targeting Western markets needs to become an international company operating in Ukraine. Each vertical should have weight and possess the chance to share the experience with teams in other markets. If your CMO has experience in Ukraine exclusively, you need a marketing director in, let's say, Poland: begin with a search for local specialists. Otherwise, you may fail.
- If capital is limited and time is limited, it is worth spending resources researching a new market, not on the "let's go and try it" scenario. Because of taking the risk of entering a market without analysis, you may lose everything. Analysis, analysis again, and only then enter the market.
- Having limited resources, don't aim for different economic regions, but test out the countries with similar operating conditions.
In Ukraine, the pace of development of the digital services market is so high that it gets crowded rapidly, and globalization remains the only solution. Even though Ukraine is already one of the most digitalized countries in the world, the pace of industry development requires more.
Andrey also noted that internal training policies help SoftServe to globalize. The company invests heavily in educational programs that develop the ability of employees to think outside the box, which is beneficial for the business's future development.
Andrii Stytsiuk: "Search for the best local teams, but don't skip the development of your existing in-house expertise."
According to Andrii, when it comes to the globalization of SoftServe, the "infinite outcome" approach helps to achieve better results in the long run. When entering a new country, the company focuses not so much on the eventual profit and capitalization growth as on contributing to the industry and changing the mindset of the local society. Difficulties may also arise in new regions, so the more comprehensive the company's geography, the better.
Andrii Stytsiuk: "Now you have to go global, not because of the war in Ukraine, but because the risks can arise anywhere."
Summing up the panel results, Nicholas Tymoshchuk said that the globalization of Ukrainian business is not a matter of choice. Enterprises are at significant risk of losing the opportunity for development and worsening those indicators that have already been achieved by concentrating on the Ukrainian market.
The strength of Parimatch Tech lies in the fact that we are an international company, the products of which are introduced on all continents. Thanks to globalization, we are now able to allocate hundreds of millions of hryvnias to support Ukraine. We also have a team seeking opportunities for new investments 24/7.
A successful international corporation is a conglomerate of successful local companies. But despite the importance of local expertise, the corporate core must be unified and come from the centre because you must avoid risking the entire international business's reputation just to get extra profit in one particular region.