UNIT.City: the first Ukrainian Innovation District

domain

Ecosystem Builder

UNIT.City is the place where matchless infrastructure and all-inclusive ecosystem enable high technology, innovative and creative businesses to happen and flourish.

What was the challenge?

Today, Ukraine is a country of opportunities and talent. Its tech industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world – it grows on an average of 20 to 25%. There are over 

4000 IT companies, about 2 thousand startups and 184 thousand developers. Investments in Ukrainian startups in 2018 amounted to $337M. It all may sound very promising at first glance, but it’s not that easy.

The problem with Ukraine is that almost all of these people and companies work in the economies of other countries. Sad, but true – Ukrainians almost never create their own final product.

So why is that? There may be a number of reasons – economic, political. But the key problem lies in psychology. In Ukraine, people who fail are beginning to be treated with negativity and caution on an instinctive level. As a result, a whole creative part of the population is being hit upon a serious psychological barrier, which greatly hinders the full development of an entrepreneurial culture.

Young entrepreneurs in Ukraine should be gently cherished, they should have been receiving help and guidance, appropriate algorithms and mechanisms for creating a company from scratch. It’s all about setting the correct mental and cultural code. And it is very important that such bright undertakings have their own markers on the map, where young creative people could meet, exchange ideas, create and learn new things.

One of the places where it became possible is the first in the country innovation district called UNIT.City.

Success story

The project started in 2016 on the property of a former motorcycle factory near the city center of Kyiv. Over the past three years, it quickly acquired a new life and quickly became a focal point of ideas, community, events, perspective companies, ambitions and energy. And now UNIT.City is gradually becoming a magnet for high technologies and innovation for the whole of CEE region. All conditions have been created here so that companies inside will grow and develop faster than outside. For example, you can get mentoring help from successful entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, who have done exits for tens of millions of dollars. Or take part in the program of bonuses and discounts on software from global giants like Amazon or Microsoft and thereby save up to $220 K (for startups in the early stages – this is a significant amount). You can apply for grants, receive consultations and regularly communicate with people from industries – about 400 events a year are held here. You can apply for one of the 8 acceleration programs or meet cool investors from Europe and the USA.

All these components with harmonious combination and proper use allow the magic to happen. UNIT.City implements many different interesting projects. For example, now in the district there are about 100 resident companies of various fields – fintech, agritech, blockchain, manufacturing, VR/AR, artificial intelligence, etc. And 60% of them conduct joint projects at the crossroads of these technologies.

It is a city within the city indeed. The place where you can live, relax, learn and create. And this city is already functioning 24/7. In IT school UNIT Factory, 900 students study for free without teachers and exams at any time convenient to them. Gradually, the infrastructure of the district is being offered with cafes, restaurants, a free gym, co-working space, a bicycle rental station, parking lots, etc.

UNIT.City is already vital for the country’s economy, development of entrepreneurship and the investment climate. Here is the largest concentration of quality results per square meter. Today, the innovation district is a role model for future  facilities in Ukraine and abroad. It has indeed become an added value to Ukraine.

About this Show Case

Type

Ecosystem Builder

City

Kyiv

Topics

Start-up Ecosystem, Innovations, Events, City revitalisation

Contact

person

Den Smyrnov

mail

ds@unit.city

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