From the Ukraine with Love


One of the great joys and blessings of modern business is the opportunity to connect and transact with dynamic, emerging growth companies all over the world.

I recently had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. Vladimir Lempert CEO and founder of Spetztekhosnastka, or “STO”, a plastics design and manufacturing company headquartered in Dniprodzerzhins'k (about 200 miles Southeast of Kiev), in the Ukraine.

Vladimir is a great example of the both "tough as nailsand visionary global entrepreneur that make this by far the most exciting time in human history to start and build a business.

While the media focuses on various distractions - debt crises, currency swings, the price of gold, deficit super-committees - that passes as business news these days, Vladimir is just laser focused on profiting from the new world of opportunity exploding all around him.

Like the unique combination of high-quality engineering talent, low labor costs, and a surprisingly stable tax and regulatory environment that is the modern Ukraine.

Like the increasing consumer purchasing power throughout Eastern Europe that is exploding demand for STO's innovative packaging technology, creating for Vladimir the very "high class problem" of managing and financing hyper - growth.

And like his opportunity - even though STO is a relatively small 300 person company - to credibly compete for and win business all over this 7 billion person world of ours.

Does Vladimir have his challenges? Of course.

But the eye-opening thing is that even though his business is located in a place that, for a lot of us, our first reaction to it is some combination of "too business unfriendly," "too out of the way," and "you have to be kidding me," if you got under the hood of Vladimir’s business as we have these last few weeks those challenges would seem very familiar to a business near you.

Or one in Shanghai. Or Rio. Or Seoul.

Or Lagos or Monterrey.

Or Prague or Peoria.

Like entrepreneurs everywhere, Vladimir needs to manage his cash flow, motivate and develop his employees, balance his focus between new and existing customers, and incorporate Internet and cloud technologies into his business practices.

And while doing all of that, he also has to constantly adjust his strategy and tactics in response to the ever-swirling, always storming competitive seas that is modern, global business.

Now, I won't get into the macroeconomics or the geopolitics as to the effect of new entrants like Vladimir into an old-line industry like plastics, other than to say to Vladimir’s "first-world” competitors simply that it is high time to either get better or get left behind.

And heck, isn’t this true for the competitors of the literally tens of thousands of companies like STO that are flowering in emerging economies around the world?

As for the rest of us, we all win.

My firm has a new client 7,000 miles away, a lucky financier will be connected with STO and make a very pretty return on capital, jobs and prosperity will be created in a locale where until recently there has been mostly heartache, and consumers the world over will benefit from innovation on products and services that improve their quality of life.

As for Vladimir, well this new, blessed world of ours – with new customers and technologies and management and competitive best practices always just a click away - is just one massive life-changing boon.

As it is, if we just let it be so, for the rest of us too.

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