According to a study conducted by UNIT.City back in 2018, only 20% of Ukrainian corporations from the Top 100 have experience of cooperation with startups. At the same time, detachment from innovations reduces a company's flexibility and competitiveness both in the local and in the global market. Such companies are slower to react to changes, and they cannot keep up with the competition — especially in the time of pandemic and global digitalization.
To change these trends and popularize Ukrainian startups in Ukraine and abroad, an innovation agency,
, supported by the USAID
Competitive Economy Program
, launched the Ukraine Innovation Awards 2020. It was the first Ukrainian competition in which not only startups but also real-life cases were awarded. The primary focus was on promoting cooperation between startups and corporations.
"We believe that using the existing technological potential, innovations can be a driving force for the renewal of the Ukrainian economy. Ukrainian technology startups going into new business niches, testing new solutions, and launching competitive products applied to both Ukrainian industries and global markets play a significant role in this," says Valeriy Dobrovolsky, Manager of Initiatives for the IT Sector of the USAID Competitive Economy of Ukraine Program.
"As part of Ukraine Innovation Awards, we want to promote the innovation growth in Ukraine, attract investments in this field, and show that startups can actively perform as digital transformation tools for companies and help them become more efficient, earn more and improve the quality of their customer service," says Kirill Mazur, CEO and founder at Center42.
The nomination stage ended on May 31. Overall, there were eight categories for nomination in the competition, each of which the jury handpicked the winners. The jury consisted of 50 people, which united almost all the major organizations of Ukraine's startup ecosystem. It included representatives from USAID, Ukrainian Startup Fund, UNIT.City Innovation Park, active Ukrainian investors, heads of innovation departments of such large companies as Nova Poshta, DTEK, OTP Bank, and other market players.
In each of the nominations, the jury
5-10 winners and also rated the top 20 women entrepreneurs in Ukrainian tech businesses. Together with Center42 and USAID, AIN.UA talks about the winning cases, as well as plans for the development of the competition.