When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, 33-year-old Kyiv-based entrepreneur Andrey Klen knew he needed to help the people of Ukraine anyway he could. His first thought was donations. So he used Petcube, the laser toy company he co-founded, to donate to employees' local defense groups and to give more than 1.5 million in local currency, roughly $50,500, to the Ukrainian defense.
Meanwhile, he used his other company, a design firm, to take a different tack. In mid-March, Klen challenged his team of about 20 employees to ask the rest of the world to support the besieged country by direct purchasing from hundreds of small Ukrainian companies like his. The firm launched a YouTube campaign video of Ukrainians, some wearing traditional clothing, others wielding rocket-launchers. It was the first promotional video for a new campaign: Spend With Ukraine. The campaign's website features more that 100 Ukrainian brands customers can shop from, from smart gadgets to fashion brands.