How EO members are serving to Ukrainians struggle again with donated drones — —

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Joe Freedman, an Entrepreneurs’ Group (EO) member in Nashville is the founder and CEO of Occasion Works Leases. Joe noticed a necessity for entrepreneurs to assist the Ukrainian folks struggle their warfare and tapped his entrepreneurial abilities and sources to take action. Right here’s what he shared concerning the expertise:

Throughout a latest journey to Ukraine to ship donated drones, I visited Auschwitz throughout the border in Poland. On a wall on this place the place so many harmless folks have been killed is a plaque: “Those that can’t bear in mind the previous are condemned to repeat it.”

As a Jew, this warning is particularly current to me, which is why I’ve a deep and lifelong disdain for bullies. When Russia invaded Ukraine, I noticed one other potential slaughter of innocents. Historical past repeating itself. I’ll by no means perceive why so many individuals ignore atrocities—then or now.

However what can I do? I don’t have navy, medical, or different abilities to assist the Ukrainians. I’ve no political strings to tug. I’m simply a mean man, a businessperson, pissed off and deeply affected by watching one other tyrant slake his thirst with harmless blood.

Then I spotted there was one thing I might do. I’m a member of EO Nashville, the biggest US chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Group—which has chapters all around the world. So, I emailed every of the 23 entrepreneurs in EO Russia and the 48 members in EO Poland. The Russian entrepreneurs wished to assist their pals and family in Ukraine. A number of Polish EO members are engaged in supporting and offering assist to Ukrainians. I had discovered good individuals who wished to assist, in order that was a begin. I started speaking with my community about how somebody in Nashville might assist victims of a warfare on one other continent.

After which a drone firm on which I sit on the board of administrators, Pink Cat Holdings, began getting emails from Ukrainian drone pilots helping within the warfare effort–civilians, not skilled troopers. They have been asking for American-made drones to assist arrange refugee protected zone exits, detect and detonate land mines, survey broken buildings for rescue operations, and different humanitarian efforts.

I knew it was time to behave. I rounded up a dozen sturdy and agile racing drones and boarded a airplane with fellow EO Nashville member, Steve Curnutte. Along with a drone skilled, we flew to Warsaw, drove to the border, crossed into Ukraine, and hand-delivered the drones to skilled drone pilots at their hidden headquarters the place the drones are outfitted for varied duties—some humanitarian, some navy. Both means, they’re saving harmless lives.

That supply was the primary installment in what I hope will likely be a gradual stream of drones to Ukraine via a non-profit group, Drones for Good Worldwide. We’re elevating cash to purchase and ship drones to the 400+ drone pilots in Ukraine to make use of in humanitarian methods–serving to to avoid wasting lives and hold folks protected.

Whereas in Ukraine, I additionally met with and vetted the on-the-ground non-profit group, Support Legion, which is able to assist with the logistics of getting the drones to the precise folks. Additionally, my new pals from EO Poland, who themselves have been elevating funds and offering reduction to tens of 1000’s of refugees fleeing Ukraine, helped me scout warehouse area close to the border to retailer the drones earlier than delivering them.

It was Passover after I boarded the airplane to ship drones to Ukraine, a celebration of one other time when oppressed folks efficiently freed themselves from tyranny, although many perished within the course of. And whereas tens of millions perished from the horrors of World Struggle II—each on the battlefield and in demise camp fuel chambers—finally, good prevailed over evil. It’s my want, and perception, that the identical will occur in Ukraine, hopefully prior to later. 

Listed below are my entrepreneurial take-aways from this enterprise about how one can use your community and abilities to try to clear up issues exterior of these encountered in operating a enterprise:

  1. A worldwide community is a superpower that may enable you to clear up nearly any drawback. Connecting with entrepreneurs in Poland gave me the robust benefit of getting folks on the bottom, in a spot I’d by no means been, whom I knew I might belief–actually with my life. I used to be capable of belief that they have been who they mentioned they have been—one thing not all the time doable in a warfare zone—and belief that that they had the enterprise sense and native information to carry success to each the journey and the following non-profit we arrange.
  2. I confirmed what all entrepreneurs know: The market and the entrepreneurial power that drives us are very efficient at shortly figuring out points and doing one thing about them. The Ukraine Struggle is exclusive in being the primary worldwide battle during which personal enterprise, with out urging or organizing by the federal government, is straight reaching out to assist. The early use of drones on this warfare is a major instance. This enterprise started when non-military skilled drone pilots in Ukraine began utilizing their very own drones to assist Ukrainians. Their employers obtained concerned, after which it went worldwide—a wholly voluntary enterprise effort—to not struggle the warfare, definitely, however to supply the humanitarian assist folks want particularly throughout wartime.

My effort in Ukraine with the drone firm on whose board I sit is one amongst lots of, maybe 1000’s, of others being carried out by fast-acting entrepreneurs and different caring folks, identical to you. Perhaps unusual folks can cease historical past from repeating itself.

For extra insights and inspiration from at present’s main entrepreneurs, take a look at EO on Inc. and extra articles from the EO weblog

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