Thomas Whitfield, CEO Oxford Biolabs
Ivanna Gurmak

Oxford Biolabs about its operations in Ukraine

Oxford scientist Thomas Whitfield first became interested in Ukraine from a business perspective seven years ago, when he was working on his start-up project. The expansion of his business saw the need for qualified outsourcers who could be involved in the development of the company. The following year, Thomas decided to visit the country and find out more about the business opportunities there. Since then Ukraine has become his second home, and even the current political and economic challenges the country is experiencing have not changed this.

“Ukraine is rich in talented and dynamic people. Despite all the problems they have faced, most people look into the future with great hope and optimism,” says Whitfield. “If you do not overcome difficulties, they will never turn into opportunities.”

Dr. Thomas Whitfield is the founder of the UK company Oxford Biolabs. In a 2009 interview for The Telegraph, the Oxford scientist promised to make baldness a thing of the past by using a novel molecular food supplement for hair called TRX2. It looks like he has kept his word, as the bright scientific idea born at Oxford University has since developed into a successful global business, with offices in multiple countries, one of them located in Ukraine.

The company started operations in Ukraine just one month before revolution came to the country. At the time, Ukraine was on the verge of the crisis which eventually enveloped it.

“The days were crazy and filled with chaos”, says Thomas Whitfield.

Despite all the difficulties the current political situation has caused, the founder of the company has not stopped developing its local operations.

According to Whitfield, “Even with all the problems that exist in Ukraine, you can conduct successful operations here, although a lot of processes are organised very differently than in Europe. Some things might initially seem confusing or unusual to foreigners but I believe in the country. Ukraine is currently going through a difficult period in its history; one that will determine how its future looks.”

The Oxford Biolabs office is located in Lviv, in western Ukraine. Outwardly, everything might look calm in this part of the country, but people are worried about the future and the violence unfolding on the other side of the country.

Thomas explains that his Ukrainian colleagues sometimes ask him about the similarities between Oxford and Lviv. He tells them that both cities have their unique charms and similar peculiarities. In particular, he highlights the love of the inhabitants for their city, and the sense of local pride they feel, which is typical of both Oxfordians and Lvivians. In fact, walking through the streets of Lviv’s historic centre, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list, he is reminded of walking through the streets of Oxford, UK, where the company is headquartered.

The Ukrainian office became the third structural subdivision of the company, after those in the UK and Germany. The office started life with just a few people. Before long, however, the company provided jobs for several dozen workers from both Ukraine and overseas. The multinational team manages Oxford Biolabs’ worldwide marketing, finance, IT and customer support needs. Today the company has operations in four countries: the UK, Ukraine, Germany and the US.

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