There was once a woman in Ukraine who lost her whole crop to frost.
Some would describe this as failure.
But she didn’t give up.
She chose to dream big.
She chose to rise to the challenge.
Her name is Olga and she is from Ukraine.
Olga is like countless other entrepreneurs who dare the world to tear down their dreams. They admit failure, learn from their experience and then try again.
At MEDA, I am proud to say that we invest in these dreams. I am privileged to be a witness to their dreams and I am honoured to partner with them as they overcome obstacles and succeed. At MEDA, we recognize that women are frequent drivers of economic and social change at the community level and we design our projects with them in mind.
We know that these women are changing their world.
I watch women navigate the challenges of running a business. I watch as they struggle to gain access to markets, remain isolated from supply chains and gain access to financing. But more importantly, I watch them support their families financially, I see them invest in other women and I witness them expanding their technical skills.
When I ask our clients what makes them proud of their business, I always receive many different responses. Some say that having their produce certified as organic is incredibly important. For others, it’s having their product recognized by customers. Some women highlight the importance of good financial results and having a strong team to support production.
My favourite question to pose to our clients is – what wisdom would you like to share with new entrepreneurs?
Here is what our entrepreneurs had to say:
- Say yes
- Be brave
- Be honest
- Be confident
- Be active
Their answers always leave me humbled and in awe of their knowledge, strength and courage.
Over the remainder of this project, I am excited to watch thousands of women step out with confidence. I know that even when they fail, they will look at it with resolution and determination. I know they will find a solution. I know that they will be a stronger entrepreneur because of it.
Alexandra Harmash is the Cross-Cutting manager for MEDA’s Ukrainian Horticulture Business Development Project. In her role she manages: gender equality, environmental benign practices and cooperative development. The cross-cutting department focuses on women’s business development, including youth, older and/or single women. Her focus is to develop a network among women that connects women-leaders and innovators with the more mature entrepreneurs for mentorship and teaching opportunities. The cross-cutting department works closely with data analysis, visualization of marketing materials and development of ICTs which make information of business-opportunities understandable and usable. Alexandra joined MEDA in 2010 and worked with projects MEDA implemented in Ukraine. Prior to joining MEDA, Alexandra worked at Agricultural University where obtained Master of the Research Engineering.