Ukraine Opens National Pavilion at Web Summit 2021 to Represent its Tech Ecosystem

Published on October 26, 2021

According to Reuters, around 40,000 people are expected to attend Lisbon’s first in-person Web Summit since the start of the pandemic. And this year, the Ukrainian tech community made an effort to represent its ecosystem with flair. Today, Ukraine’s IT industry is booming and growing five times faster (25%) than the global average (4-6%). With last year’s absolute record in funds invested in startups as per BBC’s report – $571M – Ukraine opens the door of its first national pavilion at Web Summit 2021. It will be open and available during the entire conference.

“The joint presentation of the Ukrainian pavilion at the biggest and most well-known tech conference in Europe — Web Summit, indicates that business and government are moving in the same direction. Ukraine is about to become a powerful global IT hub. We offer many things: digital public services, innovative projects, and a developed IT industry. Participation in the Web Summit will have a positive effect on improving the image of Ukraine as a digital state for the future and as a favorable location for investors,” commented Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.

On the 2nd of November, organizers will hold a special presentation supported by Digital Future, a VC company that focuses on seed and early-stage investments in tech companies with Ukrainian DNA. In addition, Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, will present the top achievements of Ukrainian digitalization over the past two years. Besides, fourteen teams will pitch their startups to investors. Ten of these were selected and are being sponsored by the Ukrainian Startup Fund.

“As an expat, who relocated to Lisbon from Ukraine to open a business, I’m a fan of Cialdini’s rule that we need to give something before we get in return. And Ukrainians have assets to share. Despite numerous issues (the world has the pandemic, but Ukraine has the pandemic and a war), Ukraine has a vast potential and knowledge we are eager to share with the IT world. During the last nine years, the Ukrainian digital marketing industry has grown by avg. 31.8% YoY. According to the PwC forecast, the IT industry’s market size will reach $8.4B by 2025. Therefore, I see a list of strengths that Ukrainians, as a digital nation, can share with the world. And we will. This is the main reason why we’re here, at Web Summit,” says Olena Bakalo, co-founder and CEO of iplace agency.

Although it is the first official Ukrainian stand at Web Summit, Ukrainians were always active at Web Summit and have organized side events since 2017. For instance, four years ago, the UTEW Tech Tribe community led by Alexandra Govorukha and Inna Stelmakh organized a Ukrainian meetup for more than 150 guests with speakers from the USA, Germany, and Ireland. In 2019 a Surf Pitch Night was held by Ukrainian tech ecosystem players. At this event, 21 startup founders pitched to the 200 international guests from Techstars, Startup Lisboa, and other leading accelerators and funds.

Dmytro Senik, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Chief Digital Transformation Officer, shared that “Ukrainians are known worldwide for their IT skills and creativity. As the government is introducing a special legal framework for IT companies — Diia City, we expect further development of Ukraine as a European hub for innovation and R&D. Ukraine’s participation in Web Summit 2021 became possible thanks to the joint efforts of the Ukrainian government and the private sector.”

Anna Derevyanko, European Business Association Executive Director, highlights that Ukrainian IT is actively developing and is gradually becoming a leading sector of the economy: “Our IT companies provide services in many areas that are booming now: Big Data, Telecom, Cloud services, E-Commerce, FinTech, etc. Also, according to Skillvalue, Ukrainian developers ranked 4th in Europe and 5th in the world in terms of service quality. So, now is the right time to show the brilliance of Ukrainian IT at the national stand.”

The first-ever Ukrainian pavilion at Web Summit has become possible due to the combined efforts of Ukrainian Startup Fund, Ministry of Digital Transformation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of Ukraine in Portugal, Sigma Software Group, Ukrainian Hub, Еuropean Business Association, iplace digital agency, and partners: Digital Future, Kyivstar, Parimatch Tech, Rocket, Fondy, Avenga, ISSP, Concord Fintech Solutions, UNIT.City, IT Ukraine, and IT EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT.

Victoria Loskutova is a columnist at Grit Daily whose dynamic career spans tech, media, events, and PR. She's at the forefront of innovation, sculpting the future of work, today. Her aim is to empower startups and solopreneurs to accelerate business growth with a cost-effective AI-powered virtual staffing solution, Olympia.

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