- When you say "community," you mean U Hub, right? Tell us about that whole thing
Yeah, the U Hub. We do not just provide services. At this stage, we don't charge for our services. We mainly just answer questions from what we already know or what we have in the documents. Or what our community members can share from their experience. That's the power of community - someone asks a question, and whoever knows, addresses it. You can find answers to complicated issues really fast by reaching out to the right people.
Our community is super-friendly and supportive. One can get answers faster within the U Hub community than from some overpriced consultant. It's like an aggregated database from everyone's minds.
The whole thing runs on kindness, love, and mutual support. I know it sounds cheesy but for real - I love helping people and I found a niche where I can do that.
We actually just won a grant, so U Hub gonna get financing soon. And I will be able to satisfy my need to help.
- What’s your mission?
Our mission is to allow a soft landing for startups in a new country by leveraging the power of the community and our developments. The community consists of Belarusian emigrants in Poland - about 96% of startups are from Belarus. But we are also open to funder from Ukraine and Russia. We realize that those who emigrate are those who don't support Putin, Lukashenko and all the other orcs. That's why we allow startups with different backgrounds and try to make it easier for them to turn around and start doing business here. We help them with finding people who will close legal issues, accounting for them. We also tell them how to find investors, where to go to pump up their skills - gas pedals, incubators and what to read. In short, we are like Chip and Dale for those who came to Poland with their innovative idea.
Our goal is to make the transition for startups coming to a new country smooth. As a community, we use our knowledge, experience, and know-hows to make it happen. The community consists of Belarusian immigrants to Poland mostly - 96% of the startups have Belarusian roots. But we're open to founders from Ukraine and russia as well. We understand that those who escape are the ones who don’t support putin, lukashenko, and the rest of those war criminals. So we welcome startups of all backgrounds and wanna make it easier for them to hit the ground running here. We help them find people to handle legal and accounting issues, for instance. We also tell them how to find investors, reccomend good accelerators, incubators, and content for leveling up their skills. Basically, we're like Chip and Dale helping innovative ideas to find their place here in Poland.
- How many projects reach out to you for help basically?
If we look at our startup database, we had around 60 on the list 6 months ago. Recently we had some pitch sessions and added like 40 more startups. So the total is 100 at the moment. Those are the ones we've helped take root here in one way or another. Let's call it 100 clients I guess. But I don't really think of them as "clients" - they're friends.
We've got a private club of founders to meet up - share problems, set goals, say who needs help and where they're at, where to go next, etc. It's more like friends helping friends, not that official. Like if someone asks "How do I find investors?" I drop them a list of investors I know. That's generally how mutual assistance happens.
It's hard to track effectiveness because of that. But I wanna find some way to measure it - I'm really into metrics motivation, that’s important.
When you run something voluntarily for 2 years, you need motivation. For me, knowing I'm helping people and meeting their needs keeps me going.