Is Ukraine a good place to invest?
In 2005, writing for Maidan, social business pioneer Terry Hallman warned of the risk of the Orange revolution being betrayed by corporate interests:
“Elimination of graft and corruption, and raising the overall standard of living for ALL Ukrainians rather than a few insanely greedy oligarch clans, was the main underlying and implied reason for the Orange Revolution — at least from hundreds of people, activists and otherwise, I talked with on the ground during and after the Revolution. Further, as director for any sort of peace institute, Aslund is obliged to review the connection between poverty and peace. Peace does not and cannot exist for people in unless they are harshly suppressed by or other forces. Poverty is a horrible existence and lifestyle, and is bound to breed violence, not peace.”
In a 2006 interview with Forum magazine, Hallman spoke of his work in Ukraine and his focus on applying business to childcare reform. “Ukraine is the best place to spend the rest of my life”, he tells Forum, speaking openly about the obstacle of corruption.
“I have little doubt that the US side will help Ukraine any way possible in solidifying Ukraine’s new democracy, and in dealing honestly and toward the best advantage of ALL of Ukraine’s citizens toward a better life. At that point, the new project begins, and to answer your original question, so does the Crimea project, finally, after three years of effort and one revolution. There’s just a little more to be done, to expand the original Crimea project now to all of because now all of Ukraine clearly deserves every honest assistance toward building your new democracy and fulfilling the enormous potential of Ukraine. That means the human potential of 100% of Ukrainian citizens — most especially those that at present have no voice, no protection. Your children. Your children are my personal boss. I will do anything for them. “
The following year, he delivered his strategy plan described as a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine. Forum published the plan, in two parts in August. Part 2 described a centre for social enterprise development and the application of capitalism for social and financial return.
“Profits can be directly applied to help resolve a broad range of social problems: poverty relief, improving childcare, seeding scientific research for nationwide economic advancement, improving communications infrastructure and accessibility, for examples — the target objectives of this particular project plan. The same financial discipline required of any conventional for-profit business can be applied to projects with the primary aim of improving socioeconomic conditions. Profitability provides needed to be self-sustaining for the purpose of achieving social and economic objectives such as of a nation’s poorest, neediest people. In which case, the enterprise is a social enterprise. “
“In this case, for the project now being proposed, it is constructed precisely along these lines. Childcare reform as outlined above will pay for itself in reduced costs to the state. It will need investment for about five years in order to cover the cost of running two programs in parallel: the existing, extremely problematic state childcare scheme, and the new program needed to replace it for the purpose of giving children a decent life. The old program will be phased out as the new program is phased in. After this phase transition is complete, the state will from that time forward pay out less money for state childcare. Children will have a better and will be more likely to become healthy, productive assets to the nation rather than liabilities with diminished human development, diminished education, and the message that they are not important — the basis for serious trouble. There is no need whatsoever to give these children less than a good quality of life as they grow and mature. The only problem is of existing resources. “
“Hallman is currently investigating the setup of a multi-million dollar fund offering split financial ROI if needed, that is, a portion (s) and the remainder to P-CED.
The funds will be directed to concluding a project in the Ukraine which involves funding the training of residents to develop social businesses. Included in this work is supporting children who have disabilities, many of whom have been left to die in secretive locations. P-CED is helping to move these children to safety and give them access to modern healthcare.”
True to his word, he spent the rest of his life in Ukraine, as reported by Maidan leaders who had been friends:
“The author of report “Death camps for children” Terry Hallman suddenly died of grave disease on Aug 2011. On he was speaking only of his mission — rescuing of these unlucky kids. His dream was to get them new homes filled with care and love. His quest would be continued as he wished.”
A decade later, he’s followed by a far more prominent figure, who has come around to the idea that business should focus more on solving social problems.
When social unrest led to violence and conflict with Russia and the downing of MH17, Branson and other business leaders offered to help.
“We all have a responsibility to work towards peace in so that people can thrive without putting their basic human rights at risk. Join us in this call for peace. We will do our best to ensure that your voice is heard by political leaders. We will also bring the right groups of business leaders together to work towards a better, more peaceful future.”