Integration through veteran business: members of parliament, together with the relevant ministries, the Ukrainian Veterans Foundation as well as veteran entrepreneurs, discussed mechanisms and means to help defenders reintegrate through their own business.
The relevant developments were presented at a meeting of the Committee on Social Policy and Veterans’ Rights. In particular, they discussed the draft law “On Veteran Entrepreneurship” and the mechanisms for employing veterans.
“Our goal is to ensure that the opportunities for financing veteran businesses are secured not only at the level of bylaws, but also at the level of the law. All these opportunities should be set forth in the law “On Veteran Entrepreneurship,” says Tetyana Berezhna, Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine.
According to the deputy minister, as of today, 116 female and male veterans have received business development grants from the Ministry of Economy in the amount of up to UAH 1 million. UAH 109 million has been allocated for grants for veteran businesses in 2024.
“The Ukrainian Veterans Foundation has two programs to support veteran businesses: reimbursement of expenses (20 thousand) and competitive programs (from 500 thousand to 3 million UAH). Our experience shows that we need to stimulate veteran businesses and support them to make them legal. We need to demonstrate that it is not difficult to work with the state, you just need to follow the rules. In addition, by stimulating veteran businesses, we can reduce unemployment among veterans, because very often veterans employ veterans,” said Ruslana Velychko-Tryfoniuk, Acting Executive Director of the Ukrainian Veterans Foundation.
Since October 2022 and by the end of 2023, the Foundation has supported 508 veteran-owned businesses. The projects that won the VARTO competition amounted to almost UAH 293.8 million, and UAH 6.4 million was paid to veteran businesses under the reimbursement program.
“IREX has been involved in the work on the draft law from the very beginning. We have to take a clear and balanced approach to the opinions of all stakeholders, especially if we are talking about the veteran community. Because there is nothing for us without us. All our activities to support veteran businesses should be aimed at increasing the state budget, as it allocates funds for defense. A veteran who is an individual entrepreneur needs support. At the same time, they must make a choice whether to use or not to use these opportunities,” says Kostyantyn Tatarkin, a veteran and representative of the international organization IREX.
During the committee meeting, the importance of access to business financing opportunities for the families of the victims was emphasized. Participants also discussed the need to introduce business-related educational projects for the families of fallen soldiers.
The main points of the draft law “On Veteran Entrepreneurship”:
- Special tax conditions to stimulate entrepreneurship.
- Prioritized involvement of veteran businesses in the implementation of scientific, technical, social and economic programs.
- Lending and other loans.
- Professional development for veteran businesses.
- Simplification of licensing procedures for veteran businesses.
- Promotion of works and services of veteran businesses to foreign markets.
- Attracting international investment in veteran business projects.
- Stimulating the development of social entrepreneurship.
“It is necessary to approach the finalization of the draft law ‘On Veteran Entrepreneurship’ with a constructive approach. We need to create opportunities for veterans, not for some personal, backstage goals,” said Yulia Kovalenko, a member of the working group that worked on the draft law “On Veteran Entrepreneurship.”