Dmytro Lukomskyi, the co-founder of Avenston Group tells us about solar energy during military aggression.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Dmytro Lukomskyi: Ukraine is currently going through very difficult times. Russia’s vile, insidious and unprovoked war has brought a lot of grief to our country. The invasion of February 24 changed the relationship between our countries and the lives of every family forever. The world was shocked due to the events in Bucha, Irpen, and Borodyanka.
Fortunately, my family and I are safe now. We are still staying in Ukraine. As long as the war continues, everyone in Ukraine, Europe, and the rest of the world can’t be 100% safe. It was impossible even to imagine that terrible wars could still be possible in the 21st century, and people would start killing neighbors just like that for no reason.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Avenston.
Dmytro Lukomskyi: I am an entrepreneur, investor, and solar energy expert. My career began in 2001 and has always combined work and business with science. At first, I worked for a Ukrainian company that was a major producer of silicon, wafers, solar cells, and solar modules. At the same time, I was engaged in scientific activities and obtained a Ph.D. degree.
My own business started in 2010. The company was a general contractor for the construction of utility-scale solar power plants. In addition, we have been a distributor of solar PV equipment. Since 2020, due to changes in the “green” legislation in Ukraine, we have switched more to own investments and operation and maintenance services for previously built solar power plants. In total, our group of companies has designed more than 400 MW and built more than 150 MW of solar power plants. These are large volumes, and I am proud of these results. To imagine the scale, let me make a simple comparison – the area of all the facilities we have built is about 300 hectares.
Due to the war and the difficult domestic economic situation, my business is now focused on expanding beyond Ukraine. We focus on engineering services as well as technical and business consulting, offering our competencies and experience in the field of solar energy for Europe and MENA countries.
I am also a member of the governing bodies of several local industry associations, which aims to support the business development of Ukrainian companies worldwide.
How does Avenston market its product/services online?
Dmytro Lukomskyi: We have a corporate website that also includes information sections with expert information and market analytics. And we work with social networks and the media. But the majority of customers come to us thanks to recommendations. Experience, reputation, and networking are very important in our business.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Dmytro Lukomskyi: The coronavirus pandemic was mixed with negative changes in the field of state regulation of our industry. The last two years have been difficult. The Ukrainian solar market had been starting to recover since the beginning of 2022. Avenston had big plans for this year. But the war stopped everything. Although the COVID pandemic was an important factor, there are more important and powerful factors in the world that are changing priorities more significantly. Things that were important until recently have receded into the background.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Dmytro Lukomskyi: Like many other companies, we work with a variety of software that helps automate our business processes. These are CRM systems, tools for marketing analysis, etc. We involve both internal specialists and external consultants in brand promotion. Our industry is growing very fast, so our business processes are very flexible. And accordingly, the list of marketing tools also does not remain constant.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Dmytro Lukomskyi: In Ukraine, our company is among the top players. But due to current events, our competitors and we are reviewing our own plans, the geography of work, and even key areas of activity. Entering foreign markets, we face new competitors and try to find our place in new conditions. It is flexibility and willingness to change that is the basis that will allow Avenston to stay afloat and develop further.
Your final thoughts?
Dmytro Lukomskyi: Several months of war have made many things from old life unimportant and irrelevant. Both private life and business have changed for all who live and work in Ukraine. We spend most of our time defending our homeland, including the economic sphere. Ukraine and worldwide humanity principles will win, but it may take some time.
This year has been a year of trials and challenges for all Ukrainian companies, but it has also opened a window of new opportunities. Avenston will do everything possible to take advantage of these opportunities and come out even stronger in a new life after the victory. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Heroes!