Joe Freedman, an Entrepreneurs’ Group (EO) member in Nashville is the founder and CEO of Event Works Rentals. Joe noticed a necessity for entrepreneurs to assist the Ukrainian folks combat their conflict and tapped his entrepreneurial abilities and sources to take action. Right here’s what he shared in regards to 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 drag. 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 may do. I’m a member of EO Nashville, the most important US chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Group—which has chapters everywhere in the world. So, I emailed every of the 23 entrepreneurs in EO Russia and the 48 members in EO Poland. The Russian entrepreneurs needed to assist their associates and kinfolk in Ukraine. A number of Polish EO members are engaged in supporting and offering support to Ukrainians. I had discovered good individuals who needed to assist, in order that was a begin. I started speaking with my community about how somebody in Nashville may help victims of a war on another continent.

After which a drone firm on which I sit on the board of administrators, Red Cat Holdings, began getting emails from Ukrainian drone pilots aiding within the conflict effort–civilians, not skilled troopers. They have been asking for American-made drones to assist arrange refugee secure 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 professional, 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 numerous duties—some humanitarian, some navy. Both manner, they’re saving harmless lives.

That supply was the primary installment in what I hope shall be a gentle 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 preserve folks secure.

Whereas in Ukraine, I additionally met with and vetted the on-the-ground non-profit group, Help Legion, which is able to assist with the logistics of getting the drones to the suitable folks. Additionally, my new associates 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 house 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 dying camp gasoline chambers—in the end, 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 easy methods to use your community and abilities to try to resolve issues outdoors of these encountered in operating a enterprise:

  1. A world community is a superpower that may show you how to resolve nearly any downside. Connecting with entrepreneurs in Poland gave me the sturdy benefit of getting folks on the bottom, in a spot I’d by no means been, whom I knew I may belief–actually with my life. I used to be in a position to belief that they have been who they stated they have been—one thing not all the time potential in a conflict zone—and belief that they’d 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 vitality that drives us are very efficient at rapidly figuring out points and doing one thing about them. The Ukraine Struggle is exclusive in being the primary worldwide battle by which personal enterprise, with out urging or organizing by the federal government, is immediately reaching out to assist. The early use of drones on this conflict is a first-rate 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 combat the conflict, actually, however to offer the humanitarian help folks want particularly throughout wartime.

My effort in Ukraine with the drone firm on whose board I sit is one amongst a whole bunch, 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 blog