European Union External Action

Fleeing conflict and starting a business

19/12/2018 - 11:14
News stories

Larysa Shyriaeva used to be a financial director at a construction company in Luhansk, Ukraine. She left the city in June 2014, following the onset of the conflict in the region. When her company relocated to Kyiv, she started thinking about starting her own business.

Photo credits: IOM/Muse Mohammed

“When I was on maternity leave, it completely changed my way of thinking about my life,” she says. Larysa was looking for natural sweets for her child and realised that there were very few of them on the market, so she decided to start baking healthy cookies.

“In reality, I have been baking cookies and other healthy treats all my life, I love doing it. I just never had the courage to leave my permanent job and do this seriously. I created new recipes almost every day. I won a grant from the EU for 18,000 hryvnyas (€567) and bought equipment and natural ingredients with the money.”

According to Larysa, she had enough clients – mainly young mothers.

“The cookies I made were light, so they were not harmful for the silhouette or health. However, I was lacking knowledge in nutrition science, so I could not prove to my clients that it was safe from the medical point of view, which is why I decided to study dietary science professionally,” she says.

Larysa found a course. The money that she had saved from selling her cookies was invested into her training. “During the six-month course, I got so excited about dietary science that I decided to concentrate only on it. I have been working as a dietician for two and a half years already.”

Now, the entrepreneur has her own client base; she works with young mothers, helps them develop their diets and their children's diets. “It often happens that I come to the client's house and the first thing I do is show them exercises which can help them lose weight. I tell them that changes are possible only when diet and exercise are combined at the same time.”


EU support to Ukraine

The European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of the response to the humanitarian needs in eastern Ukraine, providing financial support to the most vulnerable people. The conflict is affecting over 4.4 million people, of which 3.4 million are still in need of assistance, especially along the contact line and in the non-government controlled territories.

The situation in eastern Ukraine, including in the Azov Sea region, as well as the implementation of the Minsk agreements, was discussed this week in Brussels on the occasion of the EU-Ukraine Association Council.

The Association Council was chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman led the Ukrainian delegation.

The Association Council took stock of progress in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine association agreement and the reform process in Ukraine in a number of areas, including the rule of law, the fight against corruption, as well as energy issues.

The Association Council also addressed the economic situation, including business development and the investment climate. It further discussed bilateral trade and the implementation of the deep and comprehensive free trade agreement (DCFTA).

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