Taking Ukraine’s female-owned businesses to the next level

Owning a successful business gives women access to shaping the economic agenda in the country, strengthening the role of Ukraine in the global business ecosystem

The latest session of the Ukrainian female accelerator Vidvazhna 2: Scaling and Digitalisation was launched this week in Kyiv, its goal to help Ukrainian women start a business or develop an existing enterprise.

The new session of the accelerator involves women improving their business skills online and studying in bootcamps hosted by regional Diia.Business centres—entrepreneurial hubs across the country that help businesses plug in to Ukraine’s impressive public digital services.

This year’s project will focus on the digitalisation of businesses and boasts a prize pool of 5.2 million hryvnia (around 122,000 euros).

According to Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation and Development of Education, Science and Technology and Minister of Digital Transformation (and one of the architects of the Diia ecosystem), the development of entrepreneurship in Ukraine is one of the Ministry of Digital Transformation’s main priorities.

“That is why we launched the Diia.Business project and implemented services that speed up and simplify the launch and scaling of businesses in Diia,” he says. “We also continue to carry out programmes and initiatives that help entrepreneurs develop businesses. One of these is the Vidvazhna accelerator, which has formed a community of 5,000 female entrepreneurs.

“In the first season, the winners of the project received 1.3 million hryvnias for the development of their businesses. The new season will make it possible to launch and scale even more businesses since SMEs are the basis of our economy.”

Vidvazhna offers future and active female entrepreneurs the opportunity to study business planning and management, marketing and sales, business digitalisation, taxation, accounting, and tools for expansion into foreign markets for four months.

“Supporting Ukrainian women on the way to entrepreneurship has always been one of our priorities,” says Valeriya Ionan, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation.

“This is especially true now, when 60 per cent of those registering as individual entrepreneurs are women.”

The next level

The accelerator will combine two training formats. The first is online training, where participants will undergo a general educational programme that is practical, interactive, based on best practices in business education, and led by top speakers.

Online training modules will be conducted by representatives of Visa, USAID, monobank, Checkbox, Shop-Express, Ukrposhta and others.

Offline and virtual bootcamps meanwhile will be hosted by 10 Diia.Business entrepreneur support centres, where participants will receive in-depth business training, sessions with a psychologist, and mentor support.

Preference for participating in bootcamps will be given to inclusive business projects and those who are ready to implement the principles of inclusivity in their company’s activities.

Based on the training results, 40 participants will win 100,000 hryvnias each for the implementation of their business ideas. At a final Grand Pitch event, 12 finalists will compete for the main prizes, with three projects winning additional 400,000 hryvnias each for the development of their businesses.

“The launch of the Vidvazhna 2 project is an appropriate and timely occasion to emphasise the need to digitise even more Ukrainian SMEs, which is one of Visa’s main priorities,” says Svitlana Chyrva, Visa Vice President and Country Manager for Ukraine and Moldova.

“The goal of this year’s accelerator is to scale and bring the enterprises of brave Ukrainian women to a new level. Owning a successful business gives women access to shaping the economic agenda in the country, gaining financial independence and mobility, creating new jobs, increasing the volume of production or services provided, replenishing the state budget with taxes, and, as a result, strengthening the role of Ukraine in the global business ecosystem.”

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