Attorneys at law “Bachynskyy and partners” provide legal assistance and consulting to foreigners from almost 85 countries of the world. Lawyers do not only provide their service professionally, but are interested in the lives of their clients, as well. Because they can tell a lot about their countries and its inhabitants – their traditions, rules of business, politics and laws. In addition, it’s always interesting to find out why successful businessmen and employees from other areas move to work and live to Ukraine. That’s why AL “Bachynskyy and partners” decided to create a video blog “Expats in LVIV blog” and to communicate on these topics with guests of our city from other countries.
The first guest of the newly created blog is a businessman from the United States Leon Guerrero. In his country he worked with Real Estate Investment and Technology Start Ups. He moved to Lviv a year ago and now is a Managing Partner at Lion City, LLC. Taras Bachynskyy, Managing partner of AL “Bachynskyy and partners” met with Leon to hear answers to the most interesting questions – from a comparison of doing business in both countries to the advantages and disadvantages of insurance medicine.
The number of foreigners who come to Lviv and stay here for a long time or even forever is increasing every year – says Taras Taras Bachynskyy. Each person comes here for different reasons. Among them are business affairs and family reasons. Lviv is becoming more and more interesting for investments. Lviv is the place for international conferences and international meeting are held here. The city attracts tourists with its festivals and architecture. However, it is still interesting why foreigners are coming to Ukraine and what is the reason to come here. Let’s discuss this issue with our guest. His name is Mr. Leon Guerrero, who has come here, and is residing here more than one year.
– There were several reasons. Basically, when I was traveling when I finished university, I have visited Prague, Czech Republic. I saw how dynamic and how it was growing and how it was coming out of USSR era. Everything was moving forward very fast. The beautiful cities that has never been known to anybody in the western world until that time, late nineties or early two thousand. So, it was transition era and everything being just crazy to actually starting to be actually businesses. That is one of the things I see in Ukraine. So, I see a lot of potential in this country.
Yes, like Prague and like Lviv, Kyiv and there is a couple of cities here, in Ukraine that I have the same field, the same bide, the same energy of everything moving forward and coming out of cloak that were Russia and USSR and actually coming out into the western society.
So, the western world is still barely catching up to here. It is the country that has a lot of really smart people, very hardworking and they would bridge the gap between what I know from my experience in North America to Ukraine, bridging that and making the business forward.
So, culturally it verges differently from the USA. It is because of the USA is not so much catholic, religious country. Mexico is much more similar to Ukraine than the USA.
Yes, it is supernatural for Mexico and Ukraine!
There are a lot of similarities in Mexico with Ukraine. There are a lot of very similar mentalities in work. Mexico does have one great thing. It is a neighbor, one of the strongest and powerful country in the world. So, we get a lot of influence from the USA.
Mexico does a good thing too. It takes an influence and makes their own. Sometimes they do not grab the best things. But normally do so. It is much more progress like in the USA in business. But certain things, like you said, that priest blessing the cars, houses etc. That is much more like people have the people eye are raised Mexico in Ukraine. The great different in the USA is that you never know who is your neighbor, because you do not talk to your neighbor. In Mexico you talk to all of your neighbors.
That thing with food here is very different. Also, the incentive-based market is not here, so, in the USA and Mexico there is a big incent of the tip.
That makes people work harder so they are bringing the food on time and everything. And here it takes hours to get service done.
Yes, there is little sort of difference. What I see here is that everything is moving forward so it is going to catch up to the world, because everything is now connected by social media, internet and communication is so fast. So, everything is connected now. What you see over there, it comes here. You can see younger generation, everybody has smartphones and everybody can see everything. The generation of twenty years ago from now has change a lot. They moved forward faster than we did before.
Basically in Mexico I have a couple of business. One of the things I want to do is to bring that here. We do a couple of outsourcing staff in Mexico too, including real estate. I am general entrepreneur so I have many businesses. My last business was an application for the cayray sharing businesses that you can actually do prepaid system where you do not need a credit card or a bankcard to use this services, which you need. So, I did it in 2015 and I sold it in 2016. I finished this transition in late 2016 and I came for the first time here in summer of 2017. So, basically I sold that business and cane here to start thing that we could do. I have been here for more than year as for now.
First impression was that everything was moving forward and there is a lot of energy and a lot of people want to do a lot of businesses, but sometimes they have not tact to North America. So, basically you have to make an investigation. You cannot just come and know what to do, because you have no idea how the people act, how the people work.
Yes, basically you have to understand what you can do here. You need to investigate. You need to live. You need to understand country and culture.
I am still learning. I have been here for year. It is not enough. But what I understand you can do here, in Ukraine. Ukraine has very talented people, hardworking people. So, bringing the gap between developing services to where you from that is one big opportunity. So, obviously in ninety outsourcing and business process management outsourcing that is one of the biggest thing that Ukraine has. So, ‘Top 3’ IT and outsourcing country in the world are: The USA – first, India – second, Ukraine – third.
China is like a fourth, fifth, sixth, maybe.
The thing they do have many smart people, but they do not so many them doing IT-sector.
So, those things are very different and basically buying low and selling high.
Ukraine has many natural resources and products that you can buy a very good prices and sell them whatever country you from. They have a lot of agricultural projects. They have a lot of handmade projects here. They can sell the products to North America.
Yes, it was outsourcing services, digital and IT-services.
Well, first thing we will invert is real estate. Real estate is something I really know very well.
Yes, it is a great investment! Everyone wants to invest in real estate. Everything here is moving forward, but still there are some problems with the real estate sector, but it is changing. So, we see a lot of changes.
Yes, bureaucracy is changing for positive, especially in this city. The mayor and deputies, all this team, are doing very well.
So, there are a lot of positive changes moving forward in real estate. A lot of countries are looking to invest in the emerging markets, but do not how and do not people here. So, the real estate is a big opportunity here for Ukraine.
First thing the military threats that is actually a big lie.
Yes, there is a problem in the east of Ukraine. Russia is interested to maintain Ukraine very turbulent for their own reasons.
Also, Russia is finishing from the old guard, like the KGB, the President right now. I think if anybody new comes in that isn’t from him, it will be totally different. Russia has changed. There is no reason why Russia should the enemy of the world. And he still wants to the enemy of the world. That just because he takes personal gain of that. That is the one reason. But everybody else doesn’t.
It is not the true about tanks on the streets industry. The USA State Department says that is only three per cent of Ukraine that is actually has problems. So, that is very little. It`s like saying: “Don’t go to the Florida because there are riots in Los Angeles”, that’s crazy. The country is so big; this is one of the biggest countries in Europe. It`s the politics and media that creates these rumors.
I did get money stolen from my purse, but that happened everywhere.
We paid for services, that they did not do; for some technologies services, that we did not want to get. Also, we invested in digital-marketing company.
It is objective. But the thing is that you always know you can have the problems, you can get a tough all around the world.
Yes, you can get a tough in the USA. You can get a tough in Mexico.
L.G.: Those countries are much more advanced in legal issues. One recommendation is to get a good lawyer that can help you to do the diligence of that. And even with that, you always can have some omission.
There are so many reasons, that things can go wrong. I mean, business is business. There is always a risk. On the emergent market always there is more risk than you are in England than the risk comes down.
I think, it is higher risk to be cheated in the USA, actually. There are much more people, much more sophisticated people.
You can get a tough everywhere. You can have the business problems everywhere around the world. You have to manage them. It can be risk as a part of the business. You can win some, you can lose some, it is the way business is. None have 100 per cent of fail-safe, that you will never lose anything.
My counsel would be to get a good lawyer, such as yourself; just help you to get the local culture, local people and minimize risks as much as you can.
Try to find someone who is local that can speak your language. You know, first is not always the best. So, try to find someone you can contact on the same language, who understand your culture.
Actually, we found someone who studied in London and understands a lot of business stuff, economic stuff, cultural stuff that we understand. So, you have not to explain twice what you need. But there are a lot of people here, you just have to find them; go through an interviews, talk to people, contact to local embassy, they help a lot, because they live here and they know people. So, you get a lot of helped information; you get a lot of business tips; you get a lot of inside information.
Also, you need to have a good lawyer that speaks your language, can understand you culturally and that is very connected locally. That is important, because it helps you with the local system. And just move forward! There is no secret, no recipe. Nothing special. It is not rocket science. Business is business, and sometimes you can win, sometimes you can lose. But you have just keep moving forward. Then you just leave that and move on to something else. If you have a set of business you are going to do, like me, it depends on what you want to do. There are lots of opportunities, just figured it out and move on that.
I did my MBA at the University of Texas at Austin (UTA), Redmond School of Business. It is on the ‘Top 5’ in the world. Basically, I do recommend. Probably, that was the best school I have ever had in my life. I had really awesome teachers, very smart business people, very smart politicians. Their experience was nice. MBA is, basically, an experienced-based: what was if this happened; what would you do in this situation; what would you do in that situation.
It is true. But then you are learning from the biggest, the best companies in the world. So, we called it Howard type teaching. It teaches you what other smart people other smart companies have been done.
So, you cannot say: ‘Oh, just because I have grown my own business, I know more than GE, Microsoft.’ No, you do not! So, you take an experience from Microsoft, an experience from GE and you apply it to your company. I hope, it does help you. I think it is better to have a few years of experience in business, corporation or something. I have not always been an entrepreneur. I worked in the Component, the Telecom. After doing the Telecom and starting the business, then I got my master degree which helps me a lot. Also, networking is a really good do. You meet lots of interesting people; you will be friends with them forever.
L.G.: So, my family is in the USA now. We have the foundation called ‘Teleton’. About what we help with. Right now the number one in the world is to get help for kids with disabilities, for any type of disability that kid has.
One service aria is the hospital that we have in every state. It is free, 100 per cent free. If the kids that have a walking disability, a learning disability, some types of physical disability, they can come for free of charge and get the help they need.
Right now we also launched the oncological (ред. – hospital), for kids with cancer. We have just started doing it in the two states in the USA; and they are in every state of Mexico. I think, the couple of states left where we can do that in Mexico.
Actually, we do too big pharmacing in the year. From the December, that has just been coming up, we have raised almost ninety per cent of money we need to manage everything for the kids.
I recommend, if you are here, to give back. So, we have two foundations now. One of them is to help the grandmothers here. There is a great prom with the money for pensions they get, but it is not enough. Also, we have couple of things with the local government to help as much as we can.
We were to a private clinic “American Medical Center”, they speak English there and serve almost all foreigners as well.
Yes. They did. Also they have a really good staff, it`s basically the same as in the US, but a lot cheaper. There are lots of problems with the medical system in the US, but Ukrainian system is pretty good. One time we were at local (clinic) just to test it out and to see what it is like. And it was fine, except the language was a problem. The doctors here are very good. Of course, like everywhere else, there are good and bad doctors, but in the private clinics they are pretty good, so you will be fine.
Yes, it`s not a problem, because there are enough private clinics now and the numbers are still growing.
Yes, but not in the way it`s done in the USA, because it`s very bad in the USA. The prices are inflated, the cost of particular medical service and its real cost differs a lot. Sometimes it can be 15-20 more expensive for something that shouldn’t cost that much. And that is a big problem with the insurance services in the USA.
Partly, yes. If you don’t have medical insurance in the USA you are going to wait in the waiting room to get medical services for a while. And here it`s pretty fast, at least from the experience I had personally. The issue with the insurance system in the USA is really big and it`s systemic problem. 80 % of the budgets spend goes to Medicare and Medicaid, which is helping the people in the USA.
In the USA and Mexico you can have a really good lawyer for 200-400 dollars per hour.
A little bit cheaper, but again – a good lawyer is a good lawyer. The prices here that we`ve seen are 25 -30 % cheaper, comparing to the USA and Mexico. Of course there are “top 5” lawyers that make 300 dollars per hour, but it`s exceptional cases. Normally it`s a lot cheaper. For instance, lawyer in the USA makes 400 dollars; he\she might make something between 80 and 100 dollars per hour here in Ukraine for the same type of level of the lawyer.
Yes, I would recommend one thing is to talk to your embassy, if we invest money in Ukraine our embassies will help us in case of a problem. For instance, if some type of politician or political problem, or some gangster comes in and want to take whatever we have, all we have to do is to contact our embassy. Our high lever government will talk to Ukrainian high lever government and the problem will get resolved. I remember a story you told me about a person that came to Ukraine and was going to invest, but there were some problems and the embassy did helped him. My point is to rely on your embassy while you are here.
The first month we came here we needed to get our legal documentation for several things: for forming a corporation and for residing in Ukraine legally – Immigration services (temporary residence permit), and for real estate issues, of course. With BK Partners we had a very professional service, the staff that you have is also very professional and very intelligent, they know what they are talking about, and that is why we get everything resolved very fast and without any problems. We actually never had any immigration issues. The real estate is one of the things we needed to talk through and with any other legal issues that we`ve been going through you helped us out. The service that we got was very high level, very professional and very knowledgeable, because you know what you are talking about. And something that what we recommend is to get a local lawyer who has ties and who understands what he`s doing.
L.G.: Thank you, we`ll keep on working with you.