EBA Personality: Piret Haahr, CEO DP Lvivtex
In your opinion what role should Western Ukraine play in the broader Ukrainian economy?
Due to its geographic position and provided that infrastructure development does not cease, Western Ukraine is destined to have stronger economic relations with European investors than any other part of the country. For most foreign investors, acquaintance with Ukraine begins either in Kyiv or Lviv, therefore chances of new industrial, agriculture and IT enterprises will starting here are quite high. So Western Ukraine should take the role of ‘Gateway to Europe’ not only due to its location but also because of the high rate of well-educated people.
Which business sectors present the most interesting investment opportunities in today’s West Ukrainian market?
In my opinion, agriculture.
What 5 steps would you advocate tothe Ukrainian authorities to improve the business climate in Western Ukraine?
1. Creating effective mechanisms for protecting property rights, especially for foreign investments.
2. Cutting bureaucracy and controlling agencies. In this endeavour Ukraine should follow the successful example
3. Providing conditions for fair competition, especially in the field of government procurement.
4. Finally solving the VAT-refund problem.
5. Establishing ‘industrial parks’ for new business activities.
Will Ukraine in general and Lviv in particular be ready due in time to host a successful Euro 2012 tournament?
Of course. The country has so far made huge progress and there’s no way back. I only think that Ukraine should pay attention to the border-crossing issue in order to make it faster since I’m not sure that people arriving to Ukraine by cars and buses will not appreciate long delays.
What are the biggest benefits of EBA Membership for your company?
I remember the times when foreign investors were not united within the EBA and it’s obvious that communication with authorities through EBA has become much easier. The access to information that we now have is very helpful as well. Personally for me it saves a lot of time for the business I’m actually doing and it gives different networking possibilities for my team.
What do you regard as your biggest business success story to date?
Lvivtex, the textile company with 500 employees has already been in business for 10 years. I am proud that we have managed to implement European management methods in a Ukrainian company: connecting two business cultures and taking out the best of both.
What are your personal recommendations for anyone who wants to succeed in business?
Believe the unbelievable. Believe in yourself. Be clear about your goals and have a plan how to reach them. Understand that your most valuable asset is energy. Don’t do it if it’s not fun.