Entrepreneur Sews Together Success with USAID Support

Speeches Shim

Monday, November 16, 2020
Antonina in her sewing workshop in Toretsk
USAID’s Economic Resilience Activity (ERA)

Antonina Borodina, lived and worked in Toretsk, Donetsk Oblast, before moving to Kyiv to complete her studies. Last year she returned to develop her business in Toretsk.

After graduating from the Kyiv Higher Vocational School, where she stood out because of her sewing skills, Antonina opened a sewing workshop in Kyiv focused on making costumes for athletes and dancers. The high cost of rental space in Kyiv forced her to move her business to her hometown. 

Her simple marketing and advertising efforts quickly achieved results.

“Different dance groups from Kramatorsk and Druzhkivka immediately started to apply. Now I am developing a customer base,” says Antonina.

Today, the business woman sews designer costumes for athletes and dancers across the country and beyond.

In winter 2020, she took part in the Frankfurt Style Award international design and fashion contest. Antonina’s work, under the name ”Coal”, reached the semifinal and was among the 60 best entries.

”My father worked in a mine. I remember I used to worry a lot when he was even a little bit late coming home from work. That’s why coal and mining  is an important topic for me and how I came up with the idea,” Antonina explained.

Looking for new opportunities to excel, Antonina came across a Facebook announcement in which USAID’s Economic Resilience Activity (ERA) offered an online mentoring support program for entrepreneurs from Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. She applied without hesitation and shortly afterwards was selected.

Currently, she is receiving individual coaching on further developing her business. Together she and her mentor have worked on execution of contracts and developing employee job descriptions to better manage her staff.

“The mentor helped me learn how to develop job descriptions correctly, so that now I know what I can demand from the employee in terms of work performance,” Antonina said.

Recently Antonina received a large international order for costumes from Polish and Lithuanian entrepreneurs. She said that USAID’s support was very timely.  “Private legal and accounting consultation is expensive. Now I am preparing contracts for foreign partners on my own, which I hope will lead to a successful collaboration,” Antonina explained.