Peter Mejer-Ramussen is one of the founders of Lviv International Rotary Club and a CEO of J&L Consulting LLC in Lviv. This company provides startups and turnkey solutions for business, legal & accounting services, HR solutions, taxation, business development. At the moment of taking interview he had been working there for 1,5 weeks. “But I have been living in Lviv for 4 years so I know about the society, the city and about what is happening in business life” - said Mr. Mejer-Rasmussen and told us everything.
Ukraine is beneficial for making buisness
If you are a foreigner and you like to make business, Lviv area and Ukraine right now is really beneficent due to a lot of reasons. First of all, we have a good level of labour salaries, a good level of qualified personnel and a good level of infrastructure as well. But also there are changes in Ukraine and Lviv that made everything not just possible, but also very easy. What has changed?
Due to the latest trends that are happening inside the customs clearance and cooperation with the authorities, things are getting very easy now. It’s becoming the same as it is in Western Europe. Moreover, since the 1st of September the Ratification of the Association agreement with Europe will be fully completed so it will be even easier. Ukraine will also be developing Western European legislation, standards, way of making business.
Development of the city
If you see the picture of the city today, you will notice that it’s developing really fast. You have a lot of new buildings coming up all over the city. There are a lot of opportunities for foreigners to come here. It’s easier for them to establish their company, to find a place to live and clearly it gives some opportunities for the city to develop even faster.
I remember when I came here in 2012 it was very difficult for me to communicate, even though I spoke to very young people. Not many people had knowledge of English or maybe they were just afraid of using the language. But now I see a lot of people speaking English. Now it’s easy to walk around in the city and to get help. Also local companies started to understand the importance of being able to communicate in English. It means that if you’re calling another companies, normally they have somebody in the system speaking English.
Political situation is getting better
I would say that political situation in Ukraine is moving ahead in a positive direction. Otherwise you would not see the international organizations helping financially, helping with advice and you wouldn’t see this interest from Europe, if there were no improvements.
Corruption is the top issue everywhere, in most developing countries. Now there are many positive trends here like NABU, the anti-corruption bureau, that is actively working, this business Ombudsman that we have in Kyiv, who’s taking care of business issues on behalf of foreign businessmen among others.
The foreign business community actually has a very good cooperation with local authorities. Even if companies are not so big, they can actually go to local authorities, and they will be listened to. If they can do something to help, they are actually putting a lot of effort to improve the situation. It’s a very good move and also good to show to the foreign society, that they are ready to help.
Living in Lviv is interesting
Lviv is an amazing city, and you can always find something interesting to do here. I’ve been here for four years, but I’m still amazed, when I walk around because there’s always something I didn't see, or a story I didn’t hear.
We have all the benefits, that you may find in all European cities. You can go to the cinema, to the gyms, you can go shopping and there’s something for each taste. But also you have the possibility to go to the Carpathians. In the summertime you can just enjoy the nature down there and, of course in the winter, you can go skiing.
Advices for foreign businessmen
As I have experience as a producer in Ukraine earlier, then for me me it makes it naturally to make the change in my career to help other businesses to come to Ukraine and make sure that they get the best foundation for growing their business as easy as possible and participate in the further development of Ukraine as well as the local societies.
Information is important.
One of the most important things is to be able to communicate and inform about the strategies, that you make and things, that you would like to do in your company. And you have to be consistent about it.
It’s very important for your employees to know, what to do in any situation. You need to educate your workers, you need to give them attention. But of course you have to understand, that you can’t come and make a quick revolution. Like in many other countries people are used to work in systems here. They can be a little afraid of changes. Foreigners have to know, how to give a goal to the people and slowly develop in small steps ahead.
You have to be aware of rules, that works in Ukraine and how to move around in them. You have to use the legal system, even if sometimes it seems a little bit heavy.
I believe it’s a good idea to contact a company like ours and maybe get some advise from some of the organisations, that are working in Ukraine and that are able to help foreigners like European Business Association, Danish Business Association. They are always ready to open up for new investors. You should hear about the situation here before making any moves.