Mentor for German-Ukrainian startup teams
Ukrainian management researcher Olga Goncharova has joined Professor Carolin Häussler’s international team at the University of Passau with a special focus on Eastern Europe.
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It was in April 2022 that Professor Goncharova realised she and her family would not be able to return to Kyiv in the near future. Fearing for their safety, she left her native city. With the help of a British journalist friend, she managed to find a temporary abode in the municipality of Kleinmachnow near Berlin.
"I sat there with a map of Europe on my lap and rang up everyone I possibly knew,“ she recounts. "What's it like where you are? Does your country accept refugees from Ukraine? Are there any apartments, any job opportunities?" The answer came in the form of an email from Kyiv National Economic University, her home university. It said that the partner university in Passau was offering support and placements for Ukrainian students and researchers who had fled abroad.
This is how Dr Goncharova, who had been born and raised in the million-strong city of Kyiv, ended up in the small town of Passau and came to know Professor Häussler who holds the Chair of Organisation, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Passau. A happy coincidence as the two researchers complement each other in their research and teaching. They have now managed to procure funds for a guest professorship from the DAAD. On the strength of this grant, Dr Goncharova will be able contribute to international management teaching and research with a focus on Eastern Europe over the period of one year.
Hybrid modules for students in Passau and Kyiv
"Olga Goncharova is an asset both professionally and personally," says Professor Häussler. Dr Goncharova has in fact become a key liaison for Ukrainian students at the University of Passau who have fled the war. She is also involved in teaching activities, like the "Business Incubation Hub" of the "Honours Degree in Entrepreneurship", where students get to transform their business ideas into a sustainable and viable business plan. Two of the six current teams are from Ukraine. Professor Goncharova acts as their advisor and mentor. Her English-taught hybrid modules on "Strategy for High-Tech Startups" (New Ventures and Born Global), "Honours Degree" or "European Venture Lab" are open to students from the University of Passau and Kyiv National Economic University, which is named after the Ukrainian politician and finance expert Vadym Hetman.
Relations with Passau were first established ten years ago. The two management researchers intend to use the DAAD guest professorship as a springboard to deepen the partnership and continue networking efforts at European level in full accordance with the University of Passau's European focus. In Dr Goncharova's seminars, students from Passau and Kyiv work in German-Ukrainian teams to develop concepts for business plans for young startups with a European orientation. "It is my heartfelt desire to serve as an ambassador for internationalisation and as a mentor for Ukrainian students and for German students interested in Eastern European countries," says Dr Goncharova.
Researching resources and models of global economic development
The Ukrainian national is associate professor at Kyiv National Economic University where she obtained her master's degree in International Economy and was awarded her doctorate in Global Economic Relations. One of her research interests is studying the resources and models of global economic development. She has also served as visiting professor at the University of Redlands in California.
With her expertise, she rounds out the team of Professor Carolin Häussler who has been bringing researchers from all over the world to Passau with the International Centre for Economics and Business Studies. Thanks to a scholarship from the Volkswagen Foundation, other Ukrainian researchers are currently investigating how Russia's war is threatening nature reserves in Ukraine and what measures conservation organisations can implement in response.
As a member of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (EFI), Professor Häussler advises German policymakers at federal level, whereas at the University of Passau she seeks to foster a corporate and startup culture on campus. Among other endeavours, she initiated the interdisciplinary, English-language certificate programmes Entrepreneurial Pathfinder and Honours Degree in Entrepreneurship.
Professor Carolin Haeussler has held the Chair of Organisation, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship since 2011 and has been bringing researchers from all over the world to Passau with the International Centre for Economics and Business Studies. She is also one of the principal investigators of the DFG Research Training Group 2720 "Digital Platform Ecosystems (DPE)".