Money is a consequence, not a cause: Ukraine’s growth points during the crisis

Vitaliy Gorovoy, Costiantine Yevtushenko, Kirill Bondar, UNIT.City, ucode

Ukraine is a springboard for great opportunities, and the crisis is a powerful catalyst for transformations within the country. Therefore, companies that didn’t restructure the processes and didn’t have time to adapt to the circumstances dictated by time faced a staggering defeat. But there are also domestic winners whose achievements in the crisis exceeded expectations and set a record. It is the first Ukrainian innovation park UNIT.City, which managed to get a loan from the European Investment Bank and start a partnership with one of the industry leaders — the industrial and construction group “Kovalska”.

Top managers of UNIT.City — managing partner Costiantine Yevtushenko and managing partner and chief financial officer Kyrylo Bondar together with managing partner of ucode IT Academy Vitaliy Horovoy became speakers of the panel discussion “Ukraine as a growth point”. The meeting took place as part of a large-scale online conference for business and IT leaders ACCELERATE Global, organized by Terrasoft.

Kyrylo Bondar spoke about the potential, problems and opportunities that Ukraine has today:

  • I can’t entirely agree that everything is desperate in Ukraine. For example, for Japan, we are a miracle because no one can become a leader or CEO in his 25 years in the East. In Asia, the ability of Ukrainians to grow so fast is considered unattainable.
  • It is almost impossible in Europe to start your own business due to fierce competition and hard-earned startup capital. And in Ukraine, it is much easier for a beginning entrepreneur.
  • Local problems of the state don’t affect successful Ukrainian business. On the contrary, profitable enterprises are directly related to economic growth.
  • Ukraine’s GDP is $ 120-150 billion. Tik Tok, a platform for video content, costs the same. And this is a strong argument to look for opportunities for growth not on local markets but on the vastness of developed countries, whose GDP is estimated at trillions of US dollars. We are at the level where we don’t need to compete with ourselves. We need to think as globally as possible to conquer international markets.
  • The world doesn’t expect anything from us, which frees our hands in the development of any chosen segment. Our problem is not how to get money to develop, but on the contrary — how to evolve to earn money.

Costiantine Yevtushenko shared his vision of the possibilities of partnership, which is a springboard for building innovations:

  • It is difficult for Ukraine to compete in the world with standard tools — for example, it makes no sense to catch up with Germany in mechanical engineering. But our natural resources have an advantage. We need not export them but to upcycle them into innovations that the world has never seen before.
  • Anyone can come up with something interesting, regardless of geography. It would be best if you implemented the plan in the right place and time. Today, 60% of the innovation infrastructure belongs to the United States, 30% to China, and 10% worldwide. In this situation, Ukraine has a great chance to unite the last tenth of the world industry and become a platform for cooperation of Eastern European startups.
  • Most foreign partners who have had to work with Ukrainians say that we are talented, plan and achieve results and responsible.
  • It is possible to stimulate economic growth by introducing the same conditions for business development as in Israel and Poland, with private and public investors’ help. However, in our country, public money is a type of investment that is not easy to work with.
  • The planet’s population is increasing in any case, so the exact point of growth is food technology. Similarly, evolving humanity seeks to live longer. A lot of money is spent on R&D in health innovation. The last point of growth is related to the employment of the people of the future. In the case of automation of routine work and the introduction of artificial intelligence, new jobs should appear related to the virtual or assisting experience.

Vitaliy Horovoy, Founder of Insoft Partners, Chairman of the Board of ITernal group and Managing Partner of ucode IT Academy, spoke about the acquisition, transformation of IT-companies and education in the technology segment:

  • Domestic software production no longer competes as “Ukraine against Ukraine”. The customer from any country has a choice of whom to work with. Because of the lockdown, everything changed very quickly. One example of a new reality is that an IT-company that serves transportation will suffer as much as its customer, despite the market.
  • Before quarantine in ucode IT Academy we thought about expansion to other cities. Now it seems completely unnecessary — as a partner of the innovation park, the academy is only here. We are currently working very actively on an online education format. Later we will make a “hybrid” — combining the best practices of virtual learning with what we have been used to since school days.
  • There are three factors in competitiveness: access to capital, interaction with the state and entrepreneurial potential, which requires revolutionary cosmopolitan thinking, constant education and exchange of experience with other countries. If we don’t change the habit of thinking and acting like a post-Soviet state, we will have to wait until a whole generation is reborn.
  • Transformation is needed continuously by the business. An excellent metaphor illustrates it: when you run up the escalator and it moves down, you need to run even faster. If you don’t speed up, you can find yourself on the bench.