IT in Ukraine: from ideas to businesses

Statistics and my personal experience show that Ukraine is full of IT professionals and engineers. And they have got a stack of ideas.

But how many of them are willing to turn their ideas into real businesses or sell a commercial product? Not so many. And how many of them have the necessary skills and are ready to run commercial projects out from Ukraine? Even fewer.

We invest in projects both in Ukraine and abroad. And I would definitely prefer to invest more in Ukraine. However, investing is not just about an idea – business chooses to invest in another prospective business. We are dealing with a great disparity between worthy ideas and the commitment to pursue them in Ukraine, creating added value right here.

I am in no position to define the extent to which the government should stimulate the development of IT-entrepreneurship but we believe in the cumulative effect created by the big (and not that big) initiatives coming from policymakers, education sphere and, of course, business.

Young entrepreneurs and those who are on their way to becoming ones should be aware of the interest investors have in Ukraine and Ukrainian projects. Moreover, there is no lack in the capital for investment.

Our CIG R&D Lab pilot program launched together with the Odessa National Polytechnic University was a challenge for students, Ph.D. students, and their supervisors. It’s not just academic excellence scholarships but a significant support from mentors, tailored to each team and project. By the end of the program, the winner does not get money just to chill out – but to keep working on their project with the help of our experts.

We now have the winner of the pilot season and we are very satisfied with the progress of other teams. Given the mentioned disparity issue, this initiative needs to be scaled up. We are starting a new season and are going to invite some more technical universities to cooperate.

The only commitment the winning teams have to us is to work on and develop their projects. CIG R&D Lab is by no means a charity. There is a simple and pragmatic goal in it- to contribute to building a culture of the start-up entrepreneurs who plan their work with a long-term view as opposed to outsourcing work for a couple of years. Which means even more Ukrainian projects available for our investments after a while.

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