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EU4Business showed the way to the grants and hard work made the dream come true

Lyudmila Lychmanenko

Private entrepreneur in the field of printing,

city of Kremenchuk, Poltava region

"If at least one person is interested in your idea, continue to develop it, don't stop. Even if that person is you"

How many times have you heard that a woman on maternity leave loses herself, her purpose, her dreams and her desires? Our heroine proves that, in fact, everything depends on the person himself and his environment. You can be the most purposeful person, but have a toxic environment in which everything beautiful will be lost. Conversely, when we have a supportive environment, we can achieve the most unattainable goals.

Lyudmila Lychmanenko has been interested in printing since she was in college. In the early 2000s, she was the editor-in-chief of a college newspaper, then worked as a designer. Before maternity leave, she worked as an HR specialist in one of the city's IT companies. The company placed many orders for printing, and, of course, Lyudmila closely cooperated with the city printing house as a customer of services on work issues.


At one of the local events, the head of the city printing house told her own story of business success. Inspired by the life experience of this woman-entrepreneur, gaining her personal support and having enough life experience, Ludmila decided to open her own business in the field of printing after her maternity leave.

"I was inspired to develop a business in this direction by a conversation with my relative, who works as a commercial director in one of the Kremenchug printing houses. She complained to me that many customers currently have to refuse, because the equipment of their printing house does not allow them to fulfill orders in small quantities. It was in their situation that I saw an opportunity to develop my own business," - Lyudmila says.

In July 2022, Lyudmila registered as a private entrepreneur. She started making hand-made archive boxes from binding cardboard, took orders for subcontracting printing of stickers, labels, forms. But for the further development of the business, she needed to attract additional funds and find sponsors.

The business idea was to develop the already existing activity in the field of printing to the level of a printing house, which will provide services for the production of various products: labels, business cards, brochures, advertising booklets, posters, stickers, mostly in small runs, focusing on small businesses that are now begins to revive. The plans include a full production cycle: from design development to production.

At a local meeting for entrepreneurs from the "Diya.Business" center, Lyudmila learned about the state program "eRobota" and about the possibility of receiving advice on writing a business plan at the Kremenchuk Development Institute, which was conducted in cooperation with the EU4business international support program.

"In this, I saw my chance to receive a grant and prepare well for participation in it. I asked for help. Thanks to cooperation with the Kremenchuk Development Institute, I managed to write a high-quality business project, which I later defended. It was a good decision to take part in this project. In the "Own business" category, the mandatory condition was the creation of two jobs. I decided that this was a good chance to add some extra hands to the case. The most difficult, perhaps, was the competition, because there were a lot of worthy applicants. I believe that now is the time to act, because we create our future every day by making decisions," - Lyudmila Lychmanenko shares her impressions.

At the end of September 2022, Lyudmila applied for a grant for the development of her own business on the Diya web portal. After a comprehensive check of the business reputation and evaluation of the business plan, she was scheduled for an interview, based on the results of which the grant was then approved, and in December Lyudmila already received the funds.

In January 2023, Lyudmila purchased high-quality modern equipment and materials for printing in her mini-print shop: an inkjet printer with inks, sublimation equipment, thermal transfer paper, blanks for sublimation, a plotter, a digital printer, and a laminator. And also hired two workers.

"Our first order on the new equipment was thermal transfer of the inscription on sweatshirts and T-shirts. We printed the image on a digital printer and tried to transfer it to a t-shirt. But the paint was absorbed by the fabric by almost 90%. We decided to consult the equipment supplier. We were told that there is a film on the thermal transfer paper that is generated with the ink. It must be separated from the base, applied to the fabric and pressed with a heat press. We separated the film, but the image separated along with the white background. Then we came to the conclusion that we need to cut this image with the plotter that we just bought. We cut out the letters, but they had thin lines and were breaking. After several unsuccessful attempts, we finally got it right — we carefully separated the main sheet from the letters, put it on the T-shirt and pressed it. Our joy knew no bounds, despite the fact that we faced new challenges at every step. Thanks to this work, we gained invaluable experience and fulfilled the order on time and with high quality," - Lyudmila recalls in her story.

In April, Lyudmila plans to use the remaining grant funds by purchasing paper for sublimation.

"Thanks to the capabilities we now have, we have been able to significantly expand the range of products we can manufacture, as well as increase our competitiveness. In this short period of time, we have already completed orders for figure stickers, lamination of calendars, thermal application on t-shirts and hoodies. We also developed a client base and received orders by recommendation. We are currently working on an order for the printing of a book with a laminated cover, the production of color postcards and booklets, and shaped labels," - Lyudmila says.

This story is about a woman who did not give up on her dream, started her business in the most difficult year for the country, found opportunities for the development of her business and used them 100%. Hard work and determination work wonders!

For reference: Business consulting for entrepreneurs at the Kremenchuk Development Institute was provided from September to November 2022 by order of the European Union and the German government within the framework of the international cooperation program "EU4Business: Competitiveness and Internationalization of SMEs", which is jointly financed by the European Union and the German government and implemented in German by the federal company Deutsche Gesellschaft fürInternationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The purpose of the program is to create better conditions for the development of Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to support innovation and stimulate exports, which is the way to sustainable and uniform economic growth. EU4Business is an initiative of the European Union that helps small and medium-sized enterprises in the Eastern Partnership countries. More details: Зміст публікації є виключною відповідальністю КП «Інститут розвитку Кременчука» і не обов’язково відображає позицію Європейського Союзу та уряду Німеччини.

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