11:47 06 Sep 2023

New survey reveals what challenges and obstacles Ukrainian women entrepreneurs face during war

The Ukrainian Women Entrepreneurs Hub (U&WE Hub) and the CSR Ukraine Center revealed the results of the survey "Women Power: Women's Entrepreneurship during the War," Rubryka reports.

What is the problem?

During the full-scale invasion, many Ukrainian women entrepreneurs faced uncertainty in running their businesses, and this problem is only growing. 45.7% of women want to start their own business but do not dare to open it due to certain factors. Almost a quarter of those surveyed have their own business, which they founded before the full-scale invasion. But some brave women opened a business after February 24, 2022. Among women planning to start their own business, 66.3% are at the stage of a business idea but don't understand how to implement it.

The Ukrainian Women Entrepreneurs Hub (U&WE Hub) and the CSR Ukraine Center initiated their survey to explore women entrepreneurs' urgent needs in the face of full-scale war. The study included 418 women, mostly aged 25 to 55, who live in Brovary, Hoshcha, Chernivtsi, and Ivano-Frankivsk communities. 40.4% of the respondents are internally displaced persons, and almost 60% are locals.

The survey results showed that women's biggest challenges and obstacles in business development are lack of financing and an unfavorable economy, lack of knowledge and skills, high competition, and psychological struggles, such as self-doubt and lack of support.

  • The most urgent request from businesswomen is investment and grant support. Lack of financial resources is the main obstacle for most respondents:

⇒ Businesses of almost all the interviewed women (90%) did not receive additional investments and grants;

⇒ Only 8.3% of women indicated that they were additionally financed at the expense of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the eRobota governmental support program, NGO Hromada, etc.;

⇒ 1.6% are currently negotiating for grant support.

  • The next urgent need for opening a business is the lack of special knowledge and skills, namely, financial literacy, sales, marketing, advertising, project management, and business administration.
  • The important role of the community, which would support and serve as a space for exchanging business ideas, was mentioned by almost all study participants. Almost half of the surveyed women lack contacts and communication in the environment of businesswomen, and almost a third do not know how to find connections and contacts.

What is the solution?

During the online presentation and discussion of the survey results, experts and speakers reached the following conclusions and recommendations on systemic support for women entrepreneurs:

  • The greatest need is an effective combination of financial support with specialized educational programs because financing alone is not a decisive factor in further sustainable business development;
  • In times of war, women need a community where they can get advice, support, and experiences to empower each other, not compete.
  • Women need comprehensive support from the state, local communities, self-government bodies, etc.;
  • For the vast majority of women, the main forms of support local authorities and self-government bodies can provide to their businesses are financial support, training, and premises.
  • We must raise awareness about available investment and grant programs for women entrepreneurs.

How does it work?

Currently, some of the problems of Ukrainian women entrepreneurs are solved by various non-profit organizations, state programs, and public initiatives. Ukrainian Women Entrepreneurs Hub took on this role as a community of female entrepreneurs interested in developing their businesses and stakeholders ready to support women's businesses.

The community was created to support women entrepreneurs of now and the future in modern conditions and challenges through training, communication, mentoring, and exchange of experience. The goal is to create a global network for Ukrainian women entrepreneurs to strengthen each other, network, and create businesses with social impact.

The UWE Hub program was launched in August 2022 by CSR Ukraine as part of the Dream and Act Program. The center also created offline hubs for women entrepreneurs in four Ukrainian communities: Brovary (Kyiv region), Hoshcha (Rivne region), Ivano-Frankivsk, and Chernivtsi. You can join the UWE Hub community at the website and on social media: Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Telegram.

Rubryka also reported on how the U-LEAD with Europe program supported the community in the Zakarpattia region in creating an investment passport. This document and the proactive position of local authorities and residents are already yielding results. A logistics hub for thousands of new jobs is being developed in the settlement community. Read more in our article: Three new major projects in two years: a village community in Zakarpattia becomes a logistics hub.

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