Agro-Region: a success story of business recovery
04 February 2019
Kateryna Rybachenko, CEO at Agro-Region, an agroholding operating 38,000 hectares of farmland in Central Ukraine, shared her successful experience of business relaunch with Truman.ua. The story started with the acquisition of Agro-Region by the Swedish investment fund East Capital in 2007. Having retained the old management, a year later the foreign investors revealed that the company’s accounts were empty, the debts were heavy and the staff lost its morale and motivation. It was then decided to reorganize the company.
The management staff was almost completely replaced with young professionals from the spheres of IT, finance and mathematics, who knew nothing about agriculture. The new team headed by Kateryna Rybachenko was highly motivated to optimize all business processes and bring Agro-Region back to life. The company reduced its area operated by 30% to 38,000 hectares while the number of staff members decreased 5 times. The main focus was set on digitalization and introduction of new technologies, as well as on the development of corporate culture and values. The company installed GPS, sensors, recognition systems and QR codes on movable assets (e.g., machinery). These measures helped the new management to retain reliable employees, willing to work transparently, while corrupt staff had to leave the company.
In order to improve the level of qualification of new personnel, Agro-Region developed a training course for graduate students that involved stage-by-stage learning of business processes at the company’s premises. Today the best performing students of the course become employed by Agro-Region.
At present, Agro-Region cultivates corn, soybeans and sunflower, exporting 75% of produced crops. The company continues implementing innovative projects. The company launched a multifunctional business park named Terminal Z close to Kyiv in order to provide the agricultural, food, trade and logistics companies with offices, conference areas, showrooms, demo zones for machinery and so on. Agro-Region expects the project to bring together the companies willing to run transparent and socially responsible businesses, as well as to become a trademark of Ukrainian agri-food sector for the foreign investors.
Adapted from Truman.ua