01 March 2022 |
Fintech CEO Supports Ukraine Team During Russia’s Invasion
By Nicole Casperson
People can rebuild businesses, but you cannot replace people you trust.
Fintech founder Dmitry Norenko is financially supporting his Ukraine-based employees and their families as some relocate and others stay to fight for their home country.
Three weeks ago, ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Dmitry began the process of relocating his Ukraine-based employees and their families to safety. The company paid the relocation fees, like plane tickets and housing, upfront. More than 600,000 civilians have fled Ukraine, according to the UN.
Dmitry is the CEO and Founder of upSWOT, a fintech startup with a white-labeled portal that gets deployed into customers’ private cloud and connects with online banking applications. The platform is used by dozens of financial institutions to help increase engagement with their SMB clients. The company does not do business with Russian entities.
Half of upSWOT’s 81 Ukraine-based employees decided to relocate. They moved to locations in the state of Georgia. Those that chose to stay in Ukraine did so for two main reasons:
- To fight back alongside the Ukrainian army.
- To be with family members that cannot physically travel.
Dmitry, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, is doing everything he can from his laptop to financially support his team members who chose to stay in Ukraine.
“We support our people by sending cash in addition to their bonuses and salary so they can overcome this challenge,” he said. “War is war, people are dying. When we had the chance to move the team out, we used that opportunity. Right now, we are much more limited in supporting those who decided to stay.”
upSWOT is a U.S. corporation. By doing business in the U.S. and hiring people in Ukraine the company then supports Ukraine’s economy, pays taxes, and helps the country more. For Dmitry, who is also originally from Ukraine, making upSWOT successful means generating positive incomes for his home country.
With the Russian invasion, the business is still chugging along, Dmitry said. Sure they’re closing deals, hiring folks in the U.S., and trying to move forward. However, Dmitry’s parents still live in Ukraine and refused his offer to help them relocate. So the company’s focus is on helping the people in Ukraine.
“I will fight for you even by sitting in my room in front of my laptop,” he said. “Obviously I’m safe. It’s incomparable to what is happening and what those people are facing in Ukraine.”
More than Business
When talking with Dmitry, he’s humble and realistic about what he needs to do to protect his team. To him, this is more than just protecting the business.
“Our team has delivered to us much more than employees should,” he said. “When we face problems, they do what’s best for our company. This is the time when the company should do what’s best for them.”
For everyone who stayed in Ukraine, Dmitry gathered personal information on their families, like spouse contacts, in case one of his team members is impacted by the war. That way, upSWOT can continue to support employees’ families.
At least 102 civilians in Ukraine have been killed since Russia launched its invasion last Thursday, with a further 304 injured, but the real figure is likely higher, Reuters reported.
“As entrepreneurs, we will always build new companies,” Dmitry said. “But to save the lives of our people who trust us, this is the goal. All of us will die eventually, and we won’t take money to the grave like there is no value in there.
To support the people who trust you is very important because one day if something bad happens to me, I know that my people will do everything possible to help me.”