Haslam Faculty and Student Receive Grant to Study Ukrainian Businesses

The researchers will spend a year investigating the war’s impact on Ukrainian small business owners.

August 25, 2022

Three members of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business have been awarded a $200,000 Rapid Grant from the National Science Foundation to study how small business owners in Ukraine are coping amid the ongoing war there.

Haslam Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Melissa Cardon, doctoral student Nataliia Yakushko and associate professor David Williams — along with Peter Harms from the University of Alabama — will spend a year investigating how the war is impacting Ukrainian business owners now, how it will affect their future prospects and what the potential for eventual post-war redevelopment in the country might be.

Resilience and Recovery

When Russia launched war on Ukraine in February 2022, many Ukrainian businesses immediately shut down. Amid widespread bombing and destruction, citizens began emigrating away from the most heavily damaged areas, and men aged 18 to 60 were called to military duty.

In their study, currently titled “Resilience and Recovery among Ukrainian Small Business Owners,” the researchers seek to understand the Ukrainian “brain drain” of entrepreneurs who have had to face catastrophic interruption of their lives and businesses. 

“As part of our study of coping and resilience, we are asking small business owners whether they have had to move because of the war, where they have moved, whether they intend to (or have) moved back and how these movements (if any) have impacted their businesses and themselves,” said Cardon, whose research expertise focuses on the psychology of entrepreneurs, including aspects such as stress, persistence, coping mechanisms, failure and recovery.

Yakushko, who hails from Ukraine and still has family there, has been involved in providing humanitarian aid to Ukrainians since the war began. After spending several months in Europe facilitating those efforts and interviewing Ukrainian small business owners displaced by the war, she returned to Tennessee in early July. The research team will continue utilizing her personal and professional networks to locate business owners to survey and interview via Zoom for the study.


Stacy Estep, writer/publicist, sestep3@utk.edu