The story of the businessman, Petro Pylypyuk, can be considered without a doubt as the story of all Ukrainian businesses.

He began his business as an ordinary “shuttle” – he drove consumer goods and food from Poland to Ukraine. Then he became a regional dealer of store fixtures equipment. Eventually, Petro Pylypyuk invested all the money he had in his own production. It was a big risk, but he went for it and won – the company Modern-Expo is known in the world as one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of complete retail solutions.


– How did you get the idea to start this kind of business?

– When I graduated from the institute in 1993, the idea of business, entrepreneurial activity was still under its way. The old Soviet form of life was already destroyed and the new one was just appearing. I had a choice: to work within my specialty or to try to set up my own business. There were several attempts: along with my friends we were buying foodstuff in Poland and selling it in Ukraine, also we had an experience in searching and reselling goods in Ukraine. The market was not full of supply, and such an activity allowed us to make a living. But when we broke the car, which transported everything, we asked ourselves: should we do something more predictable and promising?

So, I decided to try myself in a completely different field – in the retail industry. After all, stores had rather unattractive appearance, and buyers were not willing to visit them. We started to deliver simple glass stands, cupboards and shelves from Kiev to Lutsk. But we realized really fast that one will not earn much money just from the resale, and if you can develop and manufacture such equipment on your own, the margin will be higher. In 1994 the company called Modern was established. A company had a registered capital of $ 600 and a production shop in a small basement. Gradually, we “got out” from that basement, the team expanded, new directions appeared. Under the brand Modern-Expo a lot of talented people have gathered, talented Ukrainians. Initially, the goal was to enter the capital market. Now we are talking about the company’s world level, about the mission of making the world better by changing the level of retail that we work for.

– What years were the turning points for you? Which were the worst, and which were the best?

– I remember the year 1997, when the Ukrainian-Polish joint venture was created, and we got access to the European experience, that expanded our capabilities. In 2000, Modern-Expo purchased bought the area for the first factory and equipment for production. We risked, because we acted far beyond our financial capabilities. But it worked out very well – we started to produce solutions with the highest quality. The demand was huge, we did not have time to execute orders. Now we have three factories. The process that started just from believing that we can do something cool – is continuing.

– What motivates you to do business in Ukraine? After all, many businessmen left the country in last years …

– Recently, a well-known businessman also asked me, why haven’t I left Ukraine. It seemed to be a strange question – I have never even thought about it. I believe in Ukraine, I love my country very much and I do not want to miss the chance to build a strong state here. I believe that in order to succeed, there is no need to go anywhere.

Now the opportunities for success in Ukraine are much higher than in neighboring countries, where the competition is fierce. The scope of business activities is simply fantastic. No matter what are you starting to do – there is always a possibility to develop. There are constantly new market demands.

Lately, I offered one IT- specialist to make an accelerator for innovative products development for our market, based on our company. Unfortunately, his opinion on, it is impossible to compete with world centers, such as the Silicon Valley. I think differently: we must try to do our centers of gravitation. Then there will be investments, ideas, and specialists.

In Ukraine we have learned how to improve and develop our skills not thanks to, but against to. We compete with manufacturers from other countries, where the investment climate is favorable.

– What are the plans for the next five years?

– Before talking about plans, let us decide, where are we now. We already have offices and companies in many countries of EU and Middle East. This gives us the opportunity to export products to more than 60 countries and to increase the number of our customers. Today, Moderb-Expo Group unites more than 3 thousand people, who believe in our values.

In the nearest future we plan to create a Retail Business Hub, which will combine already existing advanced technologies with the center of innovation and the training center. In this way, we can change the economic situation of the region and become a driver in our industry. We have already managed to gather a critical mass of talented people and make the industry’s best technology park in Eastern Europe. We have already worked with the philosophy of Lean production, which allowed us to undergo a financial crisis without excessive upheaval.

But our plans are not something that is impossible, they are based on simple math. In five years we want to become one of the three leaders in retail equipment production in the EU and become the center of innovations in retail and logistics.

– By the way, in 2 years the World Expo 2020 in the UAE will be held. Do you plan participate?

– We are already working on the concept of the “Store of the Future”, which we are planning to present at EXPO 2020. This will be a large-scale project, made by a whole group of innovative companies from around the world. I will be very pleased, if our designs could be also used in there.



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