Small and medium Ukrainian business have shown remarkable resilience in face of war

70% of Ukrainian SMBs have continued to operate and 38% intend to hire more staff this year.

 A boy waves a national flag atop of armoured personal carrier at an exhibition of destroyed Russian military vehicles and weapons, dedicated to the upcoming country's Independence Day, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the centre of Kyiv, Ukraine August 21, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)
A boy waves a national flag atop of armoured personal carrier at an exhibition of destroyed Russian military vehicles and weapons, dedicated to the upcoming country's Independence Day, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the centre of Kyiv, Ukraine August 21, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)

Despite the ongoing war happening around them, small- and medium-sized business (SMB) owners in Ukraine have dug in their heels and are continuing to operate, and are even looking toward expansion.

According to a July 2022 survey run by commerce technology platform Payoneer, Ukrainian SMBs businesses have shown remarkable resilience, with 70% continuing operations and 38% even intending to hire more staff this year.

Ukraine has garnered a strong reputation in the global hi-tech field, being responsible for a fair portion of outsourced tech work in countries around the world, including Israel.

Following the onset of the war with Russia in February, many global companies feared that they would need to find other outlets for their outsourced work, consequently suffering a dip in work quality; however, the survey report highlights that the well-established Ukrainian technology industry was able to recover quickly from the war’s outbreak, as almost two thirds (64%) of Ukrainian businesses were able to retain all or most of their customers in the face of the ongoing conflict.

"As a Ukrainian, I am extremely proud of the resilience of our people,” said Liubov Danylina, director and acting country manager of Payoneer in Ukraine. “Even in the darkest times, Ukrainians find the strength to do business, support the economy and the army, and actively volunteer. We are all working through thick and thin, bravely — and most importantly, together — to achieve our goals and allow our businesses to prosper.”

The survey gathered data on issues experienced by business owners this year: 36% of respondents reported experiencing financial pressure, and 27% reported high stress among employees.

“Even in the darkest times, Ukrainians find the strength to do business, support the economy and the army, and actively volunteer."

Liubov Danylina, director and acting country manager of Payoneer
 A man stands next to a business and entertainment centre heavily damaged by a Russian military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine September 9, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/VIKTORIIA YAKYMENKO) A man stands next to a business and entertainment centre heavily damaged by a Russian military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine September 9, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/VIKTORIIA YAKYMENKO)

Despite these challenges, many companies have discovered a great way to increase morale: 84% of Ukrainian small and medium business owners believe that joint volunteering and helping the army has increased the team spirit of their companies during this difficult period.

How else have Ukrainian businesses been affected?

Besides the war, the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected employers — though in some cases, positively. 58% said that the experience of going through the pandemic has allowed them to quickly adapt to new realities.  

“The Ukrainian workforce has shown remarkable resilience since the war began,” said James Allum, SVP of Europe at Payoneer. The company has been present in the Ukrainian market since 2010, mainly serving businesses and freelancers offering services, such as IT and marketing, to international clients.

The company recently expanded its partnership with Ukraine’s largest bank, PrivatBank; the expansion helps customers in Ukraine move funds more easily across borders and directly into customers' accounts.

“It is amazing to see how SMBs have continued to operate under these terrifying conditions, and my message to the global business community would be to continue to engage with businesses and freelancers in Ukraine. This is how we can show our support through the hardest of times,” said Allum. “We’re extremely proud of the work being done by our team in Ukraine to support SMBs and innovators, and we will continue to work with our partners in the country to drive their growth efforts through this challenging environment.”