Woman Entrepreneur Receives First Business Development Loan Funded by WFCU’s $500,000 Resilience Initiative in Ukraine2023-09-01
Affordable financing is key to the business growth of any community. It is now especially crucial in Ukraine, where many people continue to run and expand their businesses despite Russia’s ongoing full-scale invasion.
During the war, more women like Valentyna Mochalka, who runs a café and a small grocery shop in the village of Bilashky, Cherkasy Oblast, are taking leading roles in entrepreneurship. But they are still struggling to get access to finance, as are the internally displaced and those returning home from abroad.
To address this issue and help Ukrainian businesses prosper in such a challenging environment, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU) and the USAID/WOCCU Credit for Agriculture Producers (CAP) Project in June launched a $500,000 Resilience Initiative through the network of credit unions in Ukraine. Leveraging the funds raised from global credit union donors to the Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund, WFCU and the CAP Project designed a liquidity support program for credit unions to advance business lending in their communities.
Valentyna is the first person in Ukraine to benefit from the initiative, receiving a US $5,500 loan to expand her business, hire another employee and continue to improve the customer experience for her clients.
Located at a busy road junction, Valentyna’s café is popular among locals and residents of neighboring villages. She also serves meals to the employees of the Road Reconstruction Agency of Ukraine.
With many displaced people coming to Cherkasy Oblast from the east and south of Ukraine because of the war, Valentyna realized she needed more capacity to meet the growing demand for her services. In addition to adding an employee, she also needed to renovate the premises and upgrade her cooking equipment—all of which required financing.
So, Valentyna asked her reliable financial partner, Credit Union “Kredyt-Soiuz”, for help. She was very glad to find out that her credit union cooperates with international partners and that she qualified for a subsidized loan under the Resilience Initiative.
“I am truly happy that my business passed this competition and now I can do and purchase what I wanted. I did not have the opportunity before”, said Valentyna. “A sincere thank you to the international foundation and the work of my “Kredyt-Soiuz” for all your help. Supporting rural entrepreneurs in such a difficult time to grow and improve is very important.”
Since the start of Russia’s invasion, WFCU has implemented seven relief programs totaling over $645,000 that have focused on providing immediate assistance to the Ukrainian credit unions and their members. For more information, please see the WFCU Relief Results report.
To donate to the Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund, click here.