Emerging Europe Awards 2023 shortlist announced

Emerging Europe, a London-based growth hub focused on 23 countries of Eastern Europe, has announced the 48 names of the initiatives, organisations and individuals who have been shortlisted in the sixth edition of the Awards, part of the Future of Emerging Europe programme. 

“The region never fails to surprise us with excellent and creative initiatives, hardworking individuals and fast-growing organisations,” says Andrew Wrobel, Emerging Europe’s founding partner. “Each year there are more and more successful projects that contribute to the region’s sustainable, innovation-and entrepreneurship-driven growth and that deserve to be recognised and shown to the global audience.” 

The announcement of shortlisted initiatives, organisations and individuals coincides with the launch of public voting. Members of the public can cast their vote here by May 7. In 2022, almost 10,000 people took part in the public voting. 

The public voting will account for 50 per cent of the final result. The remaining 50 per cent will be decided by an international professional jury who have also been invited to vote. 

The winners will be announced at the Future of Emerging Europe Summit and Awards ceremony held in Brussels on June 9, 2023. In the meantime, here’s a link to photos from last year’s ceremony. 

In addition to the 15 categories that are included in the voting, Emerging Europe will announce six more winners.  

  • The Princess Marina Sturdza Award — previous winners include Kristalina Georgieva, Goran Bregović, Katalin Karikó, Agnieszka Holland, selected by the Emerging Europe Council. 
  • The Professor Günter Verheugen Award — previous winners include Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, Carl Bildt, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, Sir Malcolm Rifkind — selected by the Emerging Europe Council. 
  • Public Figure of the Year — previous winners include Laura Codruţa Kövesi, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Maia Sandu, and the 2023 Laureate — Mykhailo Fedorov — selected by the Emerging Europe editorial board. 
  • The Investment Promotion Agency of the Year — based on Emerging Europe’s research. 
  • Business-Friendly Cities (with a population of over 200,000) — based on Emerging Europe’s research. 
  • Business-Friendly Emerging Cities (with a population of between 100,000 and 200,000) — based on Emerging Europe’s research. 

Below is the full list of shortlisted individuals, organisations and initiatives. 


Future-proof Education Initiative of the Year   

  • TELERIK ACADEMY – GROOMING THE NEXT DIGITAL BUILDERS (Bulgaria) — For their commitment to empowering future digital generations 
  • FROM SCIENTISTS TO INNOVATORS FOR INDUSTRY (Poland) — For their dedication to supporting knowledge transfer from academia to business and empowering new entrepreneurs  
  • 500 WOMEN IN TECH – A LARGE-SCALE RETRAINING PROJECT (Georgia) — For their devotion to empowering women and helping them embrace technology 

Health and Social Care Initiative of the Year    

  • HELLO PAUL – PROJECT BY AMERISOURCEBERGEN TO INCREASE THE SURVIVAL RATES OF NEWBORNS (Lithuania) — For their dedication to improving the health and survival rate of prematurely born infants 
  • BIOCAM CAPSULE ENDOSCOPY (Poland) — For their commitment to using disruptive technologies to prevent gastrointestinal diseases including cancer 
  • SUNSHINE CAFE (UKRAINE) — For their devotion to raising awareness about the benefits of prevention over treatment 

Youth Empowerment Initiative of the Year      

  • VIVITA – CREATIVITY ACCELERATOR FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH (Estonia) — For their commitment to teaching children to imagine and create  
  • UNCOMMON.IT (Lithuania) — For their devotion to building teenagers’ digital skills from scratch 
  • ORBELIANI METI – THE FIRST CROWDFUNDING PLATFORM IN GEORGIA (Georgia) — For their part in making funding for civic initiatives run by young people more accessible 

Artistic Achievement of the Year   

  • BOOK ‘APRICOTS OF DONBAS’ AND THE POEM ‘PRAYER’ BY LYUBA YAKIMCHUK (Ukraine) — For the poet’s commitment to giving testimony of the war to a global audience  
  • MIHAIL VUCHKOV AKA MISHO’S OTHER BULGARIAN WOMEN (Bulgaria) — For the artist’s determination to launching a debate about trans women in society and promoting equality 
  • BIGGER THAN TRAUMA (Croatia) — For the director’s devotion to cultivating acceptance and healing of war trauma 


Green Energy Initiative of the Year        

  • ENERGY ACT (Ukraine) — For their determination to supply schools with green energy in areas affected by the war 
  • SOLAR CAMP FOR YOUNG LEADERS IN SERBIA (Serbia) — For their commitment to educating future generations about renewable energy production 
  • WOLTAIR (Czechia) — For their commitment to supporting individuals and businesses in their energy transition endeavours   

Sustainable Lifestyles Initiative of the Year   

  • LESSONS ARE MEASURING UP PANEVEZYS – CHALLENGE SERIES (Lithuania) — For their determination to equipping young people with problem-solving skills and enabling them to find sustainable solutions  
  • EKOTECHNOLOGICZNI (Poland) — For their commitment to helping reduce our digital carbon footprint 
  • LITTAR (Romania) — For their determination to using waste materials in road construction and cutting emissions 


People-first Economy Initiative of the Year  

  • DIGITALISATION OF THE EDUCATION PROCESS IN THE MUNICIPAL SCHOOLS OF PLOVDIV (Bulgaria) — For putting digitalisation at the front and centre of education in municipal schools, creating citizens of the future 
  • ENHANCING THE CODING AND ROBOTICS SKILLS OF UNDERPRIVILEGED MACEDONIAN YOUTH (North Macedonia) — For helping Macedonian youngsters forge prosperous career paths in STEM 
  • CREATING EXPORT ACADEMY IN UKRAINE (Visionest Institute / in Ukraine) — For helping Ukrainian SMEs diversify exports away from Russia and confidently operate in new markets 

Inclusive Entrepreneurship Initiative of the Year 

  • ECONVERSE (Poland) — For providing the skills, tools, and ecosystem for Polish youngsters to become entrepreneurs 
  • GAMING CENTRE OF SISAK MOSLAVINA COUNTY (Croatia) — For proving that it is possible to create a new industry from scratch in a place with no previous track record 
  • FUTURE MAKERS 2022 (Romania) — For helping young Romanians turn their ideas into businesses and succeed as entrepreneurs 

Global Champion of the Year 

  • NORD SECURITY (Lithuania) — For their commitment to making everybody’s online future safer 
  • SIGMA SOFTWARE (Ukraine) — For their determination to expand, against all odds, in more than a dozen new markets in 2022 
  • SMARTLYNX (Latvia) — For making a timely and successful decision to diversify its portfolio during the Covid-19 pandemic  

Foreign Investor of the Year   

  • DEXCOM (USA in Lithuania) — For rapidly and sustainably expanding its operations in Lithuania and the wider emerging Europe region in 2022 
  • DURA AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS (USA in North Macedonia) — For the company’s commitment to North Macedonia’s high-level skills and automotive industry-related capabilities 
  • VOLVO (Sweden in Slovakia) — For the company’s commitment to climate neutral manufacturing in the region 


Regional Collaboration Initiative of the Year   

  • #TECHFORUKRAINE (Poland) — For their determination to support Ukraine by engaging relevant stakeholders from around the globe 
  • THE THREE SEAS STOCK EXCHANGES INITIATIVE (Poland) — For fostering cooperation and advocating for the interests of emerging Europe’s stock markets at EU level 
  • GLOBSECs DANUBE TECH VALLEY INITIATIVE (Slovakia) — For their commitment to enhancing collaboration in building a start-up hub in the region 

Modern and Future-proof Policymaking Initiative of the Year   

  • ComparEST (Estonia) — For their commitment to using technology in supporting foreign direct investors  
  • DIIA.PL AND MOBYWATEL (Poland) — For their commitment to helping Ukrainian citizens rebuild their lives more easily in Poland and supporting collaboration between two digital solutions 
  • LT 5G Sandbox (Lithuania) — For their commitment to building an ecosystem that will boost more innovation in the economy 


Democracy and the Rule of Law Initiative of the Year   

  • THE MEDIA INITIATIVE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (Ukraine) — For their determination to investigate and report war crimes and help hold war criminals to account 
  • DEMOCRACY IN ACTION LABS FOR ALBANIA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, GEORGIA AND SERBIA — For their determination to connect democracy activists from various countries and giving them a platform to share their experiences 
  • THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN AND EURASIAN LAW INITIATIVE – CEELI INSTITUTE (Czechia) — For their support of the rule of law throughout the region  

Media Freedom and Responsible Reporting Initiative of the Year   

  • PR ARMY (Ukraine) — For helping keep Ukraine in the minds of global audiences through media relations 
  • PARTIZAN (Hungary) — For their commitment to running an open debate about the country’s future 
  • THE KYIV INDEPENDENT (Ukraine) — For their determination to defend editorial independence


Young Influencer of the Year   

  • LIGIA KORNOWSKA (Poland) — For being a leader in the healthcare sector in Poland and leading the implementation of AI in the sector 
  • ELENA BOZHINOVSKA (North Macedonia) — For driving societal and legal change for disadvantaged communities and students in North Macedonia 
  • ANNA POPSUI (Ukraine) — For helping young people from Ukraine stay connected and access psychological support 

Female Business Leader of the Year    

  • ALONA ANDRUK (Ukraine) — For being a leader in gender equality and fostering sustainability in the fashion industry 
  • MIHAELA PASEK-VIRLAN (Romania/Slovakia) — For growing a multinational company during the pandemic and decentralising leadership, enabling talent to thrive 
  • ARJODITA MUSTALI (Albania) — For her work educating young people about careers in the technology sector and introducing them to opportunities 

All 2023 winners will receive trophies that were designed by the two Hungarian students who won a trophy design contest — Barbara Szőke and Bálint Szalai from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest.