Polina Khlibanovska had a successful and established business in Kyiv, Ukraine: a private English-speaking kindergarten where Polina and her employees taught and raised over 50 children. In 2022, the kindergarten was going to celebrate its 9th anniversary. But when the war started, reopening the kindergarten was not safe for the children and staff and Polina was forced to flee Ukraine with her son soon after.
When Polina arrived in Poland she was eager to keep working with children and open a kindergarten in Warsaw. Just one week after she left Ukraine, she found support from our member Youth Business Poland (YBP) through our BEST by Futurmakers programme, supported by Standard Chartered Bank. Youth Business Poland has already supported 5,343 displaced Ukrainians through the programme.
“Through BEST by Futuremakers, I received the advice of a lawyer and an accountant, and getting a mentor gave me even more strength.”
When Polina joined the BEST by Futuremakers programme, YBP provided her with practical information on how to open and run a kindergarten in Poland, including accounting and taxation. They also connected her with an expert in this field, who offered mentorship and advice on opportunities for her business.
"I found such great support that I just had to follow through with the decision to open a business in Poland [caring for Ukrainian children and creating jobs!]."
Finally, in December 2022 Polina made her dream come true and opened a kindergarten in Warsaw called Smart Kindergarten. It is an English-Polish-Ukranian trilingual kindergarten with four teachers. The kindergarten is a great place for children to spend their time, make friends and learn new things.
Polina’s goal is to connect Polish and Ukrainian children so they can learn from each other and make new friends. Despite the many obstacles Polina has faced, she kept going. She is an entrepreneur, who sets goals and makes them happen. Her positive attitude is an inspiration for everyone around her. She says,
“Write a business plan in numbers, but do business with your heart!”