They placed a vegetable garden, orchards and nut orchards, a vineyard, and an apiary on four hectares of land. And more grow ornamental plants for sale. The Hvozdiievska’s couple are still far from pre-war prosperity, but they already have a tractor. It will be managed by a woman – this is her desire.
WHAT DOES A WOMAN WANT
Lebedynske village, Volnovakha district, Donetsk region, is located almost on the front line. During the years of active hostilities, it was shot through. So most of the villagers have been escaping left and right. To save their lives, Oleksandr and Olha also had to escape to peaceful Kyiv. But six months later, they returned to their home – they could not just throw everything away.
Before the war, the Hvozdiievska’s farm had a lot of land, whole fields of wheat and sunflower, their own granary, machinery, 150 sows. The man did the road with his own money, put a transformer on the street, in 2013 Oleksandr handed over a generator to the Maidan – he could afford it. He officially paid for the yard reconstruction project, planned to repair the house, but now he cannot afford it.
In the first war year there was no farm at all: there were active hostilities. Then they calculated the losses and estimated the possibilities. A part of the land was given to their four children. They left only 4 hectares. Oleksandr dug the garden by hand – there was no more equipment. They raise money for a tractor – not too big to pass between the trees – but the costs were added every year, they did not manage to buy it themselves.
The tractor became Olha’s dream. In the end, she had the idea to take part in a grant program. But where to begin? Where to go to?
– A friend told about a business school for women in Mariupol: “Why are you sitting, go to study!”
Training in Mariupol Association of Entrepreneurs on the basis of the educational space “Khalabuda” lasted from August 2019 to December 2020. There were 30 participants in the group, half of them from towns and villages of Donetsk region. Free classes were held weekly; participants were even compensated for travel and accommodation in Mariupol, as well as provided with food.
– Initially, there were general lectures on Saturdays and Sundays. And then each individual business idea was analyzed individually with the coach, – Olha says.
Liudmyla Zavaliei, financial consultant of Mariupol Association of Entrepreneurs, became her business coach:
– Olha is a very purposeful woman. She had a negative experience (unsuccessful participation in the grant program), but did not give up. In business school, a woman learned how to make a business plan, how to attract customers through the Internet, how to register a business and file tax reporting. All knowledge was provided in an applied form so that it could be used in everyday life. After the training, Olha was able to get into a mentoring support program, with our help analyze her previous mistakes, write a competitive business plan and re-submit it to the UNDP grant competition.
READ AND STUDY
The business plan was defended by Oleksandr, and finally managed to buy a long-awaited tractor for the received grant! Seasonal ground work has not yet begun, so there is nowhere to try it, but the couple already has a lot of plans and ideas.
– We want to develop and increase from one hectare to two walnut orchards, to establish the cultivation of flowers – Olha is sharing her plans. – And the man from time to time returns to idea to adjust processing of production, the same apples, on a place.
The couple manages the household on their own, occasionally inviting assistants. Trade in what is grown on their land, established through the Internet and friends and acquaintances. Seedlings of juniper, boxwood, pine, firs, grapes are sold on the advertising site. Vegetables and fruits are sold on the market. Recently, they started running their own page on social networks.
A profound tour of the estate is waiting for those who want to buy quality homemade honey. With their interest in growing plants and working on the land, the Hvozdiievska’s family inspires others and become an example.
– A young couple has already come to us, they were interested in how we run the farm, they asked for advice. And the advice to people who want to start their own business, but are hesitant, is as follows: mostly scares lack of information and lack of awareness. In order not to be afraid, you need to know more, that is, read and learn a lot.
And Oleksandr adds that you should start with small, take small steps to realize your dream.
By the way, new recruiting for the women business school continues. Maybe this is a chance for one of our readers?
Yuliia CHEBRETS/Gromada Skhid №2 (35) 2021
Dmytro CHYCHERA, founder of the educational space “Khalabuda” and Mariupol Association of Entrepreneurs:
– Our center is one of the three regional centers to support women’s entrepreneurship. There are also centers in Kramatorsk and Sieverodonetsk, which are also implementing this project with the financial support of the Ukrainian Women’s Fund.
Current entrepreneurs teaches in our business school, this is its uniqueness. We continue to advise and accompany our graduates even after graduation. We have a classic commercial business school, but given the social component of all Khalabuda projects, we are always looking for opportunities for free training for the most vulnerable groups. So, in 2020, we recruited 2 groups of 30 people who were trained for free. They were selected on the basis of submitted applications. The employee competition was 10 participants for one place. The selected women ranged in age from 20 to 60 and had different experiences in entrepreneurship: there were both those who had been working for many years and those who came up with their idea for the first time.
Currently, some courses have been transformed online, and we are looking for additional funding
to give more women in our region the opportunity to acquire new knowledge.