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Gennadiy Kurochka and CFC Consulting Company
CFC Consulting is a company of young, educated and resourceful Ukrainians. Their goal is to tell the world about Ukraine and encourage awareness and interest in this country. Another task is to help law-abiding Ukrainian entrepreneurs and to support Ukraine by providing it with new ideas. Led by Gennadiy Kurochka, who is in his early 30s, the company is working wonders…
“One can create miracles even from scratch on condition that you are an ingenious well-knit team,” believes Gennadiy Kurochka, founder and managing partner of CFC Consulting (Kyiv, Ukraine). From his viewpoint, it is essential to have an idea. He is convinced that:
“If you set a goal to fulfil a certain task, then the money is of no importance. The main thing is what you aim to achieve, no matter how much it would cost.”
The team has proved this creed on many occasions.
— As young people should you be willing to present yourselves to the world?
— Our company has never been preoccupied with its own image. We did not make our own PR campaign even in the capacity of the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 Official Promo Partner. The world acknowledged it to be the best ESC for the past 50 years. It was due to each member of the executive group of CFC Consulting (there were 7 of us) who diligently performed the assigned section of the work.
— Just 7 executives for such a complicated project?
— During the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 our team consisted of 24 people. We always outsource capable executives. We also hire the best employees when the need arises.
— People from other countries gave a high evaluation of your achievements. Can you recall any examples?
— For example, the stage that was individually adapted to every ESC participant. Our partners from the NTCU (National Television Company of Ukraine) assisted with the lighting, moving parts and new technological effects. The performance of participants was shrouded in an atmosphere of a unique mystical show. It was the first time in the history of Eurovision that such an innovative idea was used and it did not take long to receive auspicious feedback. Sietse Bakker, Editor-in-Chief of the web-portal www.esctoday.com, said: “A true winner wins the Eurovision Song Contest, no matter the promotion behind it. However, in the case of Ruslana, CFC Consulting organized the promotional campaign, which assured a relatively unknown singer abroad an international career after winning the contest, while previous winners had often failed. After that success, CFC Consulting managed to use the knowledge and experience gained as Ruslana’s promotional partner for the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, Ukraine, where the CFC team outshone once again in its dedicated method of working! We consider our tight cooperation with CFC to be a valuable relationship.”
— They say there was sand and waterfalls on the stage. Is this true?
— The technological innovations and know-how exceeded our expectations. The stage was made of parts that moved, bent, turned upside down and rotated to the dance rhythm. The world audience watched bright stars of the night sky instantly turning into hot desert sand dunes or into a cold waterfall. The Rolling Stones would kill for such a stage, is how Ola Melzig, production manager of the Swedish company Spectra, evaluated the result. Spectra has been providing lighting equipment and broadcasting of the ESC for the last 5 years.
— And what were the so-called “singing microphones” like? Who created them and what for?
— Do you mean the Monument to the Singing Microphone?
— Exactly. Whose brainchild was that enormous statue?
— This cultural event was aimed at showing the unique character and high standard of modern Ukrainian art and high technology. It was to be witnessed by tens of thousands of ESC 2005 guests. We were short of time, extremely short. I was hectically searching for ideas, and God sent me this idea. Within a few sleepless days and nights on the part of Kyiv sculptor Oleh Pinchuk and arts expert Tamara Li, a big portion of work started to move. Kyiv Titanic Plant Antares was the sponsor of the project and producer of the Monument to the Singing Microphone. Hryhoriy Smityukh, the director of Antares, became so enthusiastic about the idea that he spared neither time nor money. The work schedule was very tough. It was decided to make the monument out of titanium because it is a new material in the high-tech field. It is extremely enduring and light. But still, just try to imagine this… the three- column monument with three slabs weighed 42 tons. Why columns? Since ancient times immemorial columns symbolized a link between the human world, the Universe and the Creator. Ukraine is currently the leading world producer of titanium. The monument was raised three days before the ESC 2005 Finals in front of the official venue of the Eurovision Song Contest — the Sports Palace. It symbolized the unity of music, modern art and high technology.
— You are talking about all of this in such a “titanically light style”. But didn’t the Monument to the Singing Microphone weigh 42 tons? How did you transport such a massive statue? How were the logistics covered financially?
— All the expenses, one and a half million dollars, were covered by the producer. And how was it transported and assembled? None of us will ever forget this. The boards of the lorry body that carried the column were burning. It was still 400 Degrees Celsius when the 10-ton column was being unloaded near the Sports Palace. We also had very little time to complete the work and the job could only be done at night. The plant workers and their families came to take pictures next to their “product”. Guests and journalists were amazed as the Monument was made within one month by 70 plant workers operating in 3 shifts. Due to the special lightning of the Monument the installation impressed due to its diversity of colours. Daylight and extra illumination at night enriched the unique accord with all the colours of the rainbow. Combining the music scale and colour spectrum is traditional for Ukrainian folk art.
— Can the Singing Microphone really sing?
— The monument is made in such a way that even a light touch with a metal object sets the titanic column to emit sounds resembling cosmic music. Every column has its own timbre. Guests followed the pattern: they stroke the columns composing a melody to a cosmic song. Numerous interviews were given and many photos taken for the world’s press in front of the Monument.
— It is a pity that such a priceless creation lives for such a short time…
— CFC Consulting Company decided to prolong the life of this project by making it a symbol of the unity between art and high technology, between the human being and the Universe. There are plans to bring the Monument to the country hosting the next Eurovision Song Contest for several days, let it travel around Europe and become a symbol of musical festivals, song contests and other popular cultural and art events.
— We know that you were a partner of the EuroCamp project on Trukhaniv Island in Kyiv during Eurovision-2005. In cooperation with the civil group Pora and the hostess of the Island, Project Leader Olena Hantsyak-Kaskiv, the Island gave a unique opportunity to Ukrainian and European guests to meet new people, communicate and have fun. Concerts that took place there numbered about 200 performers. The tent city — a symbol of the Ukrainian Orange Revolution — became not only an international centre on the island but also a centre of Ukrainian culture. Your supporting projects were the photo exhibition and the exhibition of modern art works under the name “We, peoples of Eurovision…”, the Graffiti contest and the rewarding project itself… The metal for the Scythian golden pectoral itself cost 10,000 dollars. All this information was in the press, not to mention the years of PR and promotional projects involved with Ruslana’s victory.
— Our cooperation with the Ukrainian singer Ruslana could provide enough material for a big heavy book. It would include an A-Z introduction about her talent right up to the scores of countries before and after her victory. I remember her visiting Slovenia. We are neighbouring countries in Europe but unfortunately they know nothing about us. The only question they put to Ruslana everywhere was “What do you think of Ukrainian women?” Though Ukrainian women are famous for being real beauties and good housekeepers, Slovenians knew just one example (recently a Ukrainian-born prostitute infected with HIV/AIDS died in their country). Only after numerous interviews with Ruslana were the negative attitude and image dispelled. Even the Chairman-in-office of OSCE, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, agreed to meet Ruslana. It is just one of our victory stories.
— Those should be quite big expenses...
— If people see that you are taking important unblemished steps and carrying out tasks they offer you their assistance, even unexpectedly.
— By the way, how did you get an invitation to Hollywood? What were you doing there?
— You reminded me of the same question asked by Russians, including the contestant Philip Kirkorov: “What are you, Ukrainians, doing in Hollywood?” In fact, after the successful PR-campaign at the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 we were invited by the owners of the World Music Awards, Melissa Corken and John Martinotti. MARCOR Int. is an international company that owns the awards ceremony in the field of music. CFC Consulting was honoured by the offer. We are the first Eastern European company to receive a contract in Hollywood. Four of our companies were working out the brand development strategy, were responsible for the information campaign. We were PR-partners of the World Music Awards in Europe. It was both challenging and interesting. We took interviews and worked with stars like Bon Jovi, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child and others. And we certainly made good profits for our future projects.
— And what are the other interesting projects of CFC?
— The most interesting ones are still to come. Recently in Singapore CFC was working on promoting the National Chamber Ensemble of Ukraine Kyiv Soloists directed by conductor and artistic leader Bohodar Kotorovych. Three representatives of CFC Consulting went to Singapore. We worked hard during this business trip as well. For over 2 months Singaporeans had been looking forward to the concert of our violinists. It was a big honour for us that the world famous author of the “Singaporean economic wonder”, Minister-Mentor of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew visited the concert. This project is one example where no state funds are needed. It was undertaken by the president of the URGM company, Andriy Karpenko, under the auspices of the Ukrainian Embassy in Singapore. Our country Ukraine is beautiful both inside and outside its borders. It just needs to be highlighted.
— What is the most effective way of highlighting the wonders of Ukraine?
— One needs to have solid international experience. Just within one year, 2005, our company paid 40 visits to different countries. We provided consulting services to potential foreign investors and businessmen. CFC Consulting developed universal patterns. The strategy we use includes know-how and encourages investors to come to Ukraine.
— When do investors come?
— When they see that a given company works on comprehensible and transparent schemes, when they see young, educated people who keep their promises and do what they say, then investors become interested in cooperation.
— And what if they fail?
— Our schemes ensure businessmen against any losses because we care about the result ourselves. At present a great number of interested investors are satisfied with their work in Ukraine (Monaco, Iceland and other countries).
Within a period of 3 years our company conducted 15 presentations on business opportunities in Ukraine in Nevada, USA, Uruguay, Iceland, Denmark, the Sultanate of Brunei, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sultanate of Oman, Tunisia, Malta, Monaco, Germany, Singapore, Thailand… Of great importance is who establishes initial contacts with countries where Ukraine is less known. It is very favourable when professional companies appear on international markets since their image serves as a stereotype for evaluating Ukraine. We hold Western university degrees and are educated about the culture of the countries we establish contacts with. It is high time that large professional Ukrainian companies not only make money in Ukraine but also reach the international level of cooperation and attract foreign capital to Ukraine. Just don’t forget that the investor who has questioned your credibility once will never return to you again and will dissuade others from doing so…
— I read press reports about your company’s successful experience in organizing or, perhaps, establishing, the institute of Honorary Consuls in Ukraine. Have I named this institute correctly? If CFC is known in these undertakings please tell us about this range of your work.
— Back in the days of the Zaporizhska Sich affluent Ukrainian merchants started to establish their representations on territories of foreign countries to improve trade relations and protect their interests abroad. The heads of such representations were elected from well-known residents of Ukrainian communities abroad or deputed foreigners. These are prototypes of modern Honorary Consulates. Presently about 40 countries have appointed their Honorary Consuls in our independent country. And Ukraine has 63 Honorary Consulates in 51 countries around the world. This institute contributes to protecting and improving trade, economic, scientific and cultural relations. Most Honorary Consulates of foreign states are located in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. However, they are also present in big trade cities like Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa and Lviv. They perform as the foundation for maintaining economic interests and protecting foreign citizens in the region. The status of an Honorary Consul does not presuppose any political activity, only economic and cultural work. They carry out a gigantic range of projects and events to increase trade turnover and the investment flow.
— Can you name entities that provide professional support to these Consulates in Ukraine?
— In Ukraine there is only one enterprise that provides professional consultations on the functioning of Honorary Consulates…
— And is this CFC Consulting?
— Yes. We are the pioneers in fostering economic and cultural relations with countries that do not have diplomatic ties with Ukraine. For instance, with the Sultanate of Oman in the Persian Gulf or Iceland… We have the know-how to strengthen these relations.
— Finally, please decipher the name of your company.
— Our institution was founded by graduates of the Institute of Foreign Relations at the Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University. These are our origins. As a third year student I became actively involved in social and public activity, and later came up with the idea to open “the window to the world and from the world”. I called it almost spontaneously, under the influence of a TV journalist — Club of Five Continents (CFC). The principal goal of this “club” is to create a positive image of Ukraine worldwide. This is what we live for, doing our best and perfecting ourselves in our work.
CFC Consulting recently was invited to become a member of the Image Policy of Ukraine Working Group (IPU) of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council at the President of Ukraine (FIAC).
By Maria VLAD. Translated by Maryna Skomorokhova
At the CFC Consulting request WU publishes this article