The Ukraine tech sector is showing incredible resilience in the face of the Russian invasion. Director of TechUkraine Nataly Veremeeva explains to Silicon Luxembourg how individuals are harnessing this tech knowhow to fight back.
Tell us about Tech Ukraine. What is it and when was it founded?
Tech Ukraine is an NGO whose objective is to develop the Tech Ukraine ecosystem. It started as a result of the export strategy for the Ukraine IT sector established by the ministry for economic development and trade. We did this in 2018-19 with support from the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH), the German government fund. We gathered ideas from stakeholders about what was missing and what needs to be done and about 150 stakeholders joined. Ruben Nieuwenhuis, the ecosystem builder and architect from the Netherlands, who developed Startup Amsterdam and the Techleap.nl platform, helped us to shape 12 initiatives to help the ecosystem grow. We adopted three: the portal techukraine.org, our startup in residence initiative and internationalisation readiness programmes.
On the news we see people leaving Ukraine en masse. How is the tech sector coping with the current situation?
“The tech sector plays an important role for Ukraine. Losing land is painful, we don’t want this. But now we’ve a clear understanding that we need to defend our right to exist. IT companies, being among the forward thinkers of our society, took this challenge and understood it better than anybody else. Another thing about IT is that it is easier to move people with computers and continue working, than if you’ve a plant or factory being bombed. Companies found a way to continue working for several reasons: businesses still need to be up and running. And secondly, we are still supporting our economy. It is very important to support the economy and keep it running. We have support from western countries but we do need to stand on our own feet, and for this reason, the IT sector should not be underestimated.”
You can donate to TechUkraine here.
Come Back Alive
is one of the largest charitable foundations that supports Ukrainian soldiers, founded by the IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega. The organization collected more than 210 million UAH (more than $7M) in 2014. According to Na chasi, the Patreon page Come Back Alive is in the top ten projects by the number of financial donations.
There are several other organizations to support:
- Army SOS, which develops drones;
- Everybody Can, an organization that supports internally displaced people;
- Help on the Ministry of Defense website.