26 May 2022

Serhii Feilo and Dmytro Pylypenko, MIM-Kyiv alumni and serial entrepreneurs joined forces to manufacture bullet-proof vests for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. When еhey met through the “MIM Helps” community they decided that Ukrainian fighters needed quality armor protection at a reasonable price. Dmytro is in charge of steel parts and designs whereas Serhii sews the vests.

Serhii told his heartbreaking story of the new undertaking.

- I bought sewing equipment and hired a seamstress for my other business before the war. Her husband owned a sewing shop in Bucha. Her husband was killed in the Bucha massacre, and the russians destroyed the shop. She lost everything.

She called me for help. Simultaneously, my friend complained about problems with bulletproof vests because of their low quality.

Through the “MIM Helps” platform I met Dmytro who was making the steel parts for armor protection. They decided to join forces and founded manufacturing.

Serhii tells how things are going now.

- It took us some time to launch the manufacturing. At this point, it has been working for the second week. We are finishing our pilot batch. Making 500 vests is our nearest goal.

Serhii tells an anecdote from his cooperation with his American consultant:

- Ukrainians are quick learners. If in any other part of the world 50% 0f fighters can use the new armament after 10 tries, 70% of Ukrainians are doing it well from the first try and 90% are successful from the second try. It is because of the motivation.

We need our fighters to be professional and motivated.

Our armor protection helps to become true pros. We are making our vests lighter to prevent fatigue and promote better fighting performance.

Quality is critical. Any bulletproof gear offers more chances rather than guarantees protection.

- 90% of fighters die of projectile fragments. Full bulletproof gear does protect but it is heavy. Bulletproof vests are smaller but lighter and could be worn all the time. They protect the heart and lungs. It is critical as it takes minutes to help the injured.

- The MBA program at MIM-Kyiv changed everything. I hope for a prestigious degree and a nice-looking diploma. But the school has changed my priorities, mindset, and even values. Max Goltsberg and Lina Khasan-Bek taught me what is truly important in my life. Meeting people who were more successful and knowledgeable than me was valuable. I also learned to enjoy standing on my own feet. In other words, my world has changed.

That’s why I launched armor-proof manufacturing. I do what I can in the best possible way.

Before the war, Serhii had a pending opening of the plant that would make the special goods for blind people to offer an alternative to the russian goods. So far, Serhii is eagerly working on protecting Ukrainian fighters. “We need our heroes alive,” he says.