25 January 2008

First Event was a Success - 24 January

Our first event for 2008 went down well with the membership and guests.
As usual we held our monthly networking meeting on the 6th floor at 25 Turgenivska, Kyiv
(Administration of INTER TV Channel)

The turnout was very good with 76 people registering. Unfortunately I had to start the evening by giving people the bad news that our VIP guest speaker (A British MP) could not attend due to a vote taking place in the British House of Commons. So Richard Brady and I had to put together a double act, quickly and I think we held it together.

We pushed the boat out this time and ordered EXTRA drink and of course as usual it all went and a good time time was had by all. Although, I still find myself trying to explain to our support team that its not good when one of the catering staff replies "shas" (wait) everytime someone asks for more wine or food. (We still have a long way to go on the customer service front in Ukraine).

The live music (Violin & Sax, but not at the same time!!) was OK, but the real enthusiasm was for the 'Stars of the East" exotic dancers to liven the place up at the end.

Our small team put in a lot of hard work and I made sure that this was greatly appreciated.
I think some of the British expats find it hard to understand that we do this for the hell of it.
I hope we can persuade a few more expat volunteers to help out in the future.

Well, thats 2008 off to a good start, now lets get the web site updated.
Need to find a new member of staff who can promote the BBCU to potential new members, do the admin, take care of the web site, plan the monthly meetings and speak fluent English.
Anyone interested?

14 January 2008

Monday 14 January - Great News

The good news - The BBCU has a sponsor for the event on 24 January confirmed.
Two members of our small team Tanya and Elena are already busy sending out invitations to the contacts on our database and we hope to attract 50 or more people to our first event in 2008.

Richard Brady and I had lunch today with a 'new guy' from the Kyiv Post.
Jonathan B Holmberg - a Staff Writer, appears to be a smart guy who is interested in writing about what we are doing through the BBCU in Kyiv. We invited Jonathan to the event also.

Decided that we need to recruit a really smart new member to our team to take care of the promotion and upkeep of the BBCU web site, plus also to communicate with potential members.
We both have day jobs and its not easy trying to do everything via email.

We need to get that web site updated fast and place an advert in the Kyiv Post.

09 January 2008

January 2008 - Joint Meeting with BUS

To start the year off on the right foot, our first meeting will be a joint meeting with the British Ukrainian Society. We have invited John Grogan MP to the event and we hope to attract many local expats and Ukrainian companies to the event.

Plus we have a sponsor: Grishenko & Partners (Well known law firm) who have kindly offered to help promote the BBCU and themselves of course, to the business community.

We are also looking at a joint BBCU and BUS event in February where we hope to attract Nicholas Soames MP and Richard Spring MP on 28 February.

I must remember to ask our administrator Tanya to update the BBCU web site ASAP.

So, here ends my first attempt at blogging. Maybe I have said too much and maybe I have rambled on a bit. (I didn't read any of those 'how to blog' links, I must admit.)
I certainly hope this is going to be a great year for the BBCU and its members.

My holiday ends today, so its back to the office in the morning. I hope my time management skills allow me to keep this blog going.

The BBCU will really take off in 2008

I decided to start writing this blog as a way of helping me to clarify my thoughts. I write many emails to one of my old friends who now lives in France and I think the process of writing really does help you think about what you are doing with your life. So maybe the same will help with a little business support organisation called the BBCU.

So for 2008, I have decided that the BBCU must become a success. Hence the business plan for 2008 and some really interesting new 'products' for the BBCU. This year we will provide INBOUND and OUTBOUND Trade missions into and out of Ukraine.

Ukraine is STILL an unknown place for most Brits and anyone who lives here knows that many business opportunities are available. I have gone through the process of setting up my own company here in Ukraine and the experience was interesting but rewarding. With the 'in country' expereince I now have, plus with Richard Brady and many other expats, we can now offer our services to help others 'enter' Uktaine and make the most of the business opportunities on offer.

What about the British Embassy? We have a great relationship with the staff at the British Embassy in Kyiv. We know the Ambassador Tim Barrow and his team, and we also understand that they cannot do everything. They can only do so much and we will continue to help support them as they support us.

Last year we saw the launch of the British Ukrainian Society (BUS), which is supported by many well known and connected political figures. We have established a close working relationship with their team and I happy to say it will only benefit both organisations. We will concentrate on the business support side and they will promote wider issues like the arts, culture, government realtions etc.

My First Blog....well here goes

I spent some time over the Christmas and New Year holidays playing around on the internet and found myself reading blogs created by many people around the world, but mainly reading stuff relating to Ukraine. I also spent maybe too much time on my wifes laptop, much to her anger, creating a business plan and new materials for the British Business Club in Ukraine.

Why did I create the BBCU? Well mainly because, being a Brit living in Ukraine, I felt that not enough was being done to encourage and help British companies and British people to do business in Ukraine. Likewise, I wanted to help Ukrainian people and their companies in meeting and maybe doing business together with contacts from The United Kingdom. Plus.. to be honest I thought it would be a great way for Brits and Ukrainians to get together at least once per month and 'network'. (I still hate that word) But you know what I mean.

During its first year, the BBCU cost me a small fortune. I say we, because my colleague Richard Brady decided to also put in alot of work into making the BBCU a success. Richard has done a great job in coordinating most of the monthly meetings and finding new members. Although we attracted many members to join and actually pay membership fees, the running costs and the costs of the monthly meetings were in excess of the income. But, I knew this was not a money making venture from the beginning and we quickly decided we would have to find sponsors for the monthly meetings. Thankfully through our relationship with those wonderful people at INTER TV Channel in Kyiv, we were provided with the use of the 6th floor of their administration building for our monthly meetings.

We also launched a web site: www.bbcu.com.ua and we can say that the BBCU has become a success but also an expensive hobby. So why did I decided to write this blog?
See next entry.