“I spent my entire life as an employee, but then I decided to become an entrepreneur. This was the biggest challenge because I needed to change my mindset 100%.”
Dmitry Stenko moved to Yaroslavl, Russia when he was 15 years old, in pursuit of higher education. He studied chemical hardware at Tech University of Yaroslavl and later obtained a masters in machine equipment technology. While in school, Dmitry wished to start a business but remained hesitant because he feared his ideas would not be successful. After graduation, he decided to seek employment as an engineer at a factory in Yaroslavl stayed there for three years.
In 2014, Dmitry was asked by the factory to create covers for prostheses using a 3D printer. Through his research for this project, he learned that there was a large market for prosthetics in Russia and around the globe. Dmitry and his team realised that no company was developing cosmetic solutions for prosthesis in the way consumers wanted them, so he decided to fill this gap by creating his own 3D printing business.
At first, Dmitry continued to work at the factory while creating CCOVER, his 3D printing business. His original studio had a team of like-minded people, but many of them left when faced with the challenge of working at both the factory and the start-up company. Eventually, Dmitry decided to leave the factory and focus on his business. This was the biggest challenge he faced because he had to completely change his mindset from being an employee to an entrepreneur.
Since 2018, CCOVER has been focusing on improving the appearance of lower limp prostheses. Dmitry and his team help people who have undergone prosthesis to make their lives better and overcome the desire to hide their prosthesis. CCOVER produces cosmetic linings which they named “contour cover.” You can apply any image or embossed pattern on this lining and transform the appearance of the prosthesis to make it look like a modern gadget.
As CCOVER began to grow, Dmitry sought out additional support from ImpactHub Moscow and Youth Business Russia (YBR) through the Social Impact Awards (SIA) in Russia in 2019. The business received high scores from the jury members and was selected as one of three winners for SIA 2019.
Through YBR, Dmitry developed additional business skills and learned the importance of positioning a business within a market. The organization allowed him to engage with other entrepreneurs socially while also teaching him important entrepreneurial skills. Dmitry began to focus on the impact of his business as well as the clients and beneficiaries connected to his work.
Looking forward, plans are in place for the company to expand. Dmitry hopes to update the technology of the business and partner with larger companies that provide prostheses to consumers. The business currently focuses on prostheses for legs, but in the future Dmitry believes they will use 3D printing for arms as well. He also wants to expand the company to additional locations within Russia so that clients can visit physical offices when working with CCOVER.
Youth Business Russia supports young entrepreneurs to start businesses in 11 regions in Russia and provides training and advice on business development, access to start-up capital and mentoring support. It is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.