Director of the USF Pavlo Kartashov: We make every effort to save and develop Ukraine’s startup ecosystem (Іnterview for “Ukrainian Clusters”)

Startups are the hope of the Ukrainian economy. They are moving the country forward. This is confirmed, for example, by the record investment of Ukrainian startups in 2021 – $ 832 million, said the director of the USF Pavlo Kartashov in an interview with the community of Ukrainian regional clusters – “Ukrainian Clusters”.

“Ukrainian startups will play an essential role in the post-war economic recovery, as they will be the basis for the formation of the new Ukrainian economy of the future. The IT industry of Ukraine provided a record $ 2 billion in export revenues in the first quarter of 2022. And this is despite the martial law, mobilization, and forced relocation of businesses and teams, “said Pavlo Kartashov.

However, according to the director of the Fund, these indicators do not mean that startups do not need support: “Right now, it is very important to make every effort to save and develop Ukraine’s startup ecosystem, “said the director of the USF.

The Fund launched an initiative to host and seek help on the SaveUAStartups platform, an interactive map that is constantly updated so that you can see the help of startups who need it. On the platform, you can fill out a form for both partners/sponsors and startups, indicating which type supports the ability to provide/receive.

Today USF allows receiving free mentoring sessions. Individual mentoring sessions are distributed in the following areas: artificial intelligence, manufacturing, finance, logistic, NFT, healthcare, blockchain, cybersecurity, e-marketing, business models, PR and communication, planning, strategic partnership, etc.

In early April, USF and Baltic Sandbox organized an online event UKRAINIAN WOMEN-LED STARTUPS, which brought together the best Ukrainian startups, where women (as founders or as management) play key roles. The event program consisted of a two-day intensive online Bootcamp from well-known international and Ukrainian experts. In addition, support for startups in wartime, individual mentoring and preparation for pitches took place during the event. Bootcamp ended with online pitching, where 15 teams of startups presented their products to international and Ukrainian investors.

Also, the Fund and partners regularly conduct online lectures for startups, workshops, Q&A sessions with experts and Иootcamps. In particular, in April, USF, together with The European Innovation Council Accelerator and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, held an online event about European funding opportunities.

At the end of June, with the support of the USF and other partners, the best Ukrainian startups took part for the first time in the world’s largest technology conferences – Viva Technology in France and Collision 2022 in Canada. It is planned to organize the participation of Ukrainian startups in the Web Summit (Lisbon, Portugal), CES (Las Vegas, USA) and Slush (Helsinki, Finland).

Fund further expands its opportunities to support Ukrainian startups, especially during the war. To date, negotiations have been held with many international institutions, donors and associations, including EIB, EBRD, EIC, WNISEF, USAID, CRDF and others.

In addition, USF media channels regularly publish helpful information under the column “Startups during the war” and “Startup opportunities”.  It allows ecosystem partners, investors and stakeholders to track relevant updates for startups.

The Ukrainian Startup Fund also implements effective grant programs in martial law to support projects that meet the priority needs of the state. This is a new program of grant support for dual-purpose projects: to increase the country’s defence capabilities and post-war reconstruction of the country. A key feature of this program is the ability to receive non-refundable financial assistance from the state for projects from critical industries at this time: defence, cybersecurity, health care, education, infrastructure reconstruction.

Despite the difficult conditions, many Ukrainian startups continue to develop, and our local startup ecosystem can be an example for other countries.

“We want one thing – for a Startup to be created, developed and stay in Ukraine, for Ukrainians to be the first to benefit from it, and for us to be talked about as a state of innovators – a startup nation. Ukrainian startup projects have a chance for global success. We have talents. The whole world already knows about them. And we do everything to ensure that they do not seek funding abroad and that they feel comfortable working here, “– sums up Pavlo Kartashov.

Link to the full version of the interview: