USAID helps entrepreneur restart bakery in Lviv

15 April 2024

Entrepreneur Yevhen Molchanov re-established his bakery in Lviv with support from the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA), after being forced to leave behind his business when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Yevhen started his first business, Good Bakery, in 2012 in Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk Oblast with the opening of a small grocery store, followed by the production of pastries. In 2020, USAID ERA co-financed his investment in new bakery equipment, which allowed him to get professional baking equipment that significantly helped him expand his production capacity and increase sales. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, he had no choice but to leave behind his home, business and native town, and move with his family to Lviv. Unfortunately, none of the new bakery equipment made the trip and he lost almost all his assets.

In response to the war, USAID ERA awarded new grants to entrepreneurs like Yevhen, who had lost their business and needed to rebuild. With a second grant from ERA, Yevhen got new ovens, a refrigerated table and cabinet, freezers, a generator, laptop and other equipment for re-establishing a bakery. With this equipment – and his experience, enthusiasm, and faith in the future – Yevhen opened Crazy Buns Bakery in Lviv.

“Fortunately, we were able to preserve the recipes that were developed with leading technologists back in Stanytsia Luhanska. However, we had to modify many of the products, since tastes are different here in western Ukraine,” Yevhen said. “There is also quite a competitive environment in Lviv in terms of craft bakeries, which requires us to keep up and be innovative with new product offerings to remain appealing to our consumers.”

Crazy Buns currently employs four staff, all of whom are internally displaced persons (IDPs). They bake over 15 types of pastries, baguettes, bread varieties, and buns. Yevhen already has plans to expand production, restore confectionary manufacturing, and supply products to a wider market.

“I am deeply convinced that there is nothing impossible in life,” Yevhen explained. “If you have a strong desire to do something, opportunities are sure to come your way. Even if you are going through terrible times, you should not stop – just keep pushing forward.”

Yevhen Molchanov at Crazy Buns Bakery in Lviv, which he was able to start with support from USAID after having to abandon his first bakery due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Crazy Buns has provided four IDPs with jobs, allowing to stay employed despite displacement from their hometowns.

Modern bakery equipment provided through a grant from USAID ERA is allowing Crazy Buns to compete in this competitive market in Lviv.

Crazy Buns founder, Yevhen Molchanov, has tailored some of his bakery’s products to suit tastes in Lviv, which he says differs from those back in his hometown of Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk Oblast.