Diia.Business centre in Warsaw: first weeks results
Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister of Digital Transformation
A full-scale war in Ukraine has closed some doors for the Ministry of Digital Transformation projects but has suddenly opened others.
For example, our Diia.Business centres provide free consultations and assistance in starting your own business. Before the full-scale invasion, we opened 11 centres throughout Ukraine. We had a lot of projects and development plans. We have believed that digital tools could quickly turn Ukraine into a country of entrepreneurs. And we still believe in that.
However, the full-scale invasion has prompted us to make extraordinary decisions within Diia.Business. Namely, to open the first international centre in Warsaw. Initially we did not plan to expand abroad. Poland received the most significant number of Ukrainian IDPs. More than 3 million Ukrainians came here because of the Russian armed aggression.
Before the war, we came to other countries mostly as tourists. Therefore, we didn't need to know anything about registration, necessary documents or residence rules. Now people are in unfamiliar cities without understanding what the next step should be. We realised that they desperately needed our help.
Diia.Business in Warsaw is a temporary centre during the war. After that, we will decide whether the centre should continue to operate. It may be necessary to transform the centre into another institution that will better meet the needs of Ukrainians in a year.
We can already say that this idea has paid off. In three weeks, the centre provided more than 1,000 consultations. 85% of the meetings were related to starting a business in Poland, 10% regarded employment, and 5% were about staying in Poland and residence.
Key requests for consultation relate to legal details and stay issues. For example, entrepreneurs were most often consulted on exports from Ukraine to Poland, business registration and staffing. And Ukrainians who decided to stay in Poland were interested in getting a tax number, a Polish visa or how to get married.
Of course, not only Poland supports Ukrainians. Almost all European countries provide temporary protection to our people. In particular, this means that Ukrainians can also officially get a job or even start their own business. However, finding information on how to do this is not so easy. That's why we have launched an innovative hotline and chatbot format, where experts will tell you how to register, find a job or start your own business. If you have to move to the EU and need help with any questions, you can get it free in the virtual Diia.Business.
Since its launch, Ukrainians have already received more than 1,000 consultations. For example, a family from Mariupol with a dog is currently looking for housing and work in the EU. Or a team from Dnipro that makes hair care products. Their market in Ukraine has shrunk, so now they want to sell abroad.
Experts from the Diia.Business centres consult Ukrainians on living and working in Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, and Germany. We will gradually expand the list of countries.
Internally displaced Ukrainians can receive the same consultations. After the consultation, everyone will receive an individual road map with a list of useful materials, information about contact centres and other recommendations.
Any business cannot be fully prepared for the economic consequences of a full-scale war. Therefore, the state should provide all possible support for local companies to continue developing and entering new markets. We believe that doing business abroad will help Ukrainians survive the forced relocation times more efficiently and return to Ukraine with new knowledge and achievements to develop our country's economy.