Leonid Ostaltsev, the owner of the pizza house, could not afford to rent his own premises, so he got helped by Sergey, who owns Kaizen coffee shop (located at Metrograd shopping mall). Sergey was more than happy to share his business premises with Leonid so he could get his project up and running.

“We decided to launch a pilot project based on the already established business owned by Sergey. It comes much cheaper that way in terms of rent, plus I save a lot of money on my electric bills. There are only two of us: me and my partner Rafael, who works as a pizzaiolo. We are also planning on coming up with our own slogans,” says the owner of the pizza house.

After returning from the ATO area, Leonid Ostaltsev came up with the idea to start his own business. So, he registered with an employment service and took advantage of the opportunity to sign up for a business start-up course. After finishing the course, Leonid came up with the PIZZA VETERANO business project and successfully defended it. However, he did not have enough money to get the project off the ground. By chance, he met a Ukrainian living in the US who agreed to donate a thousand dollars for the project after being told about it by Leonid.

“ATO veterans find themselves more at ease, both psychologically and socially, working with their fellow soldiers. So, I figured it would be a good idea if guys like myself worked at the pizza house and accomplished common objectives together,” says Leonid.

On the opening day, PIZZA VETERANO was full of customers. 10% of the purchase price went to charity, so some of the customers ordered several pizzas to help buy presents for the children whose parents got killed in eastern Ukraine.

“We have received orders for 67 large pizzas today. People gave us 100 dollars or a thousand hryvnas, asking us to make 25 pizzas so they could take them to the railway station and give away for free to the soldiers waiting to board a train there. We will deliver the rest of the pizzas to the military hospital where soldiers undergo treatment for their wounds. We also want to invite in the wounded soldiers and hold a pizza-making master class as so they could learn how to make them themselves,” Leonid says.

PIZZA VETERANO customers can sample seven different types of pizza available at affordable prices of UAH 22 to UAH 155.