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Consumer Action for the Betterment of Ukraine’s Economy

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Andrey Klen and Alex Neskin, co-founders of design firm O0 and internet-connected laser-toy maker Petcube, faced a difficult situation when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Klen had been preparing his staff for relocation for three weeks, and with Neskin, helped more than half of their 50 Ukraine-based employees to move, mostly to western Ukraine and Europe. Klen eventually relocated to Lviv, but even there, bombs started falling, including on the day of President Biden’s visit to Poland. One of Petcube’s employees joined the Ukrainian army, while another couple agreed to assist local defense branches. Petcube, now a fully remote company, is paying full salaries and donating to defense groups, as well as earmarking monthly contributions from employee paychecks and its own profits.

In response to the crisis, Klen and Neskin launched the Spend With Ukraine campaign, featuring over 100 Ukrainian brands, from security company Ajax Systems to fashion brands and entertainment apps like Reface. All of the companies approached by O0 to participate in the campaign were eager to do so. The campaign, which was created in just two weeks, is being publicized like a new startup launch, including a well-made YouTube video and posts on ProductHunt and Y Combinator’s message boards.

The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness that small companies play a significant role in supporting the Ukrainian economy, even in the midst of war. By spending with Ukraine, people are supporting the economy, which can help turn it around. The founders believe that while armies win battles, economies win wars, and stress the importance of helping the Ukrainian economy to get back on its feet.

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