In the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, small businesses have come together to keep the economy going. Co-founders of design firm O0 and internet-connected laser-toy maker Petcube, Andrey Klen and Alex Neskin, have relocated more than half of their 50 employees to western Ukraine and Europe. Despite the ongoing conflict, Petcube has become an entirely remote company, paying full salaries and making donations to the Ukrainian defense.
Two weeks later, the “Spend With Ukraine” campaign was launched to promote over 100 Ukrainian brands, including smart gadgets, productivity software, entertainment apps, and fashion companies. The campaign received enthusiastic support from all Ukrainian companies approached by O0, and it’s the sense of unity in the face of disaster that Neskin says is one of the country’s biggest strengths.
Klen and Neskin’s teams launched the campaign with a well-produced YouTube video and by posting it on popular platforms such as ProductHunt and Y Combinator’s internal message boards. They aim to increase awareness of the significant economic impact small businesses have in Ukraine, even under martial law.
Klen stresses the importance of supporting the economy, saying that while armies win battles, economies win wars. Neskin adds that all money invested in Ukraine will help the country. The effort of creating the campaign has also provided a mental health boost for displaced employees who can work on something meaningful.