Nearly a year after the conflict in their country began, some 80 displaced Ukrainians determined to get back on their feet in Ireland have completed a Start Your Own Business programme thanks to a collaborative effort between the Fingal Ukrainian Response Forum and the Irish Red Cross.
The initiative encompasses a programme tailored to the requirements of Ukrainian nationals living across the country and is delivered as a hybrid course, both online and in-person. It covers a variety of modules including finance, business management, networking and legal requirements.
Recognising an opportunity to do more at a local level, the Irish Red Cross approached Fingal County Council to do develop a course for Ukrainians who were interested in start their own business in Ireland. That led to the Fingal Local Enterprise Office (LEO) rolling out a customised Start Your Own Business programme that could be delivered bilingually.
With strong links to the Ukrainian community through their hubs across Ireland, the Irish Red Cross were well positioned to identify interested candidates and set about the registration process that saw them recruit some 80 participants with varying backgrounds and business ideas.
Congratulating the first tranche of those taking part in the programme, Fingal Ukrainian Response Forum Chairman and Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony said: “This is a fantastic initiative that gives budding entrepreneurs from Ukraine the right tools and business insights to enable them to be positive contributors to the economic growth of the country.
“Those taking part see an opportunity to not only generate employment for themselves, but support the creation of small businesses. They are bringing their own ideas, expertise and varied backgrounds to really make a go of being here after fleeing the horrors back in their own country. I am delighted that Fingal continues to be a warm and welcoming hub for those coming to Ireland and hope that this type of business incubator concept can be replicated with success elsewhere.”
Many of those taking part have signed up for the programme having had businesses in Ukraine and are looking to start their business in Ireland. Others have an idea for a business and wish to start up for the first time. Participants hailed from across the country, including a strong number from Dublin, as well as Galway, Sligo, Wexford and Roscommon. The Irish Red Cross provided transportation to and from the venue for those that required it.
Charlie Lamson, Head of Fundraising at Irish Red Cross said: “The focus of the Red Cross over the past year has been to enable the people that have arrived in Ireland to find their way forward. Part of that process has entailed language training, as well as providing employment opportunities, simply so people can start to engage in the next step of their lives. This idea of promoting entrepreneurialism, of encouraging people to start their own business and to bring the creativity that they have via a structured programme is invaluable to so many people and we’re delighted to be a part of it.”
Head of Enterprise at the Fingal Local Enterprise Office, Oisin Geoghegan, said: “We’ve put together a tailor made Start Your Own Business initiative that will enable Ukrainian nationals to set up their own firm. From our discussion we’ve found that there are a lot of budding entrepreneurs looking to commence a business, many of whom have already been running a business back in Ukraine. The fact that they want to continue to contribute and share that knowledge and expertise is certainly good for our country.”
The course content, which was developed by the Enterprise Academy, will enable participants to understand the business environment in Ireland, how they can establish a successful enterprise, and gives ongoing support to help them set up their own business. They will also learn about the legal aspects of business formation, including health and safety and insurance considerations here in Ireland.
While many Ukrainians that signed up for the programme have strong English language skills, some require translation, so all of the programme, including video content, was delivered in both English and Ukrainian. Along with online and in person modules, participants could also gain insights through “You Ask, We Answer” sessions.