USF and Western NIS Enterprise Fund launch grant program for technology startups

USF and Western NIS Enterprise Fund launch grant program for technology startups

The Ukrainian Startup Fund and Western NIS Enterprise Fund launch a Grant Programme to support Ukrainian technology companies with a total budget of USD 2.5 million

The initiative is aimed at actively developing innovations, strengthening the country’s economy and increasing the global competitiveness of Ukrainian projects. The programme will allocate a total of USD 2.5 million to support promising Ukrainian companies at the pre-seed and seed stages.

In recent years, Ukraine has gained a strong reputation in the international arena as a country with huge innovation potential. Even amid the war, the country was ranked 55th in the Global Innovation Index in 2023, which is 3 positions higher than last year’s result.

At a time of rapid technological progress, companies working in the fields of AR/VR, blockchain, medicine, energy, fintech, artificial intelligence, e-government, legaltech and biotechnology play an important role in stimulating economic growth and enhancing Ukraine’s international image. That is why, when working on the new grant programme with WNISEF, we decided to target a wide range of industries. The initiative was developed with a special focus on early-stage companies. Based on the experience of implementing a similar USF programme launched in 2019, we are convinced that strategic investments in early-stage projects will not only push Ukrainians to create new innovative products and services, but will also provide ready-made technology companies with the ability to compete effectively in international markets

Pavlo Kartashov, Director of the Ukrainian Startup Fund.

The USF and WNISEF want to see the number of successful Ukrainian startups constantly grow, gaining international recognition, so they have jointly launched the Grant Programme. The Ukrainian Startup Fund will be responsible for the management and implementation of the initiative, while the Western NIS Enterprise Fund will act as a financial partner, providing the necessary resources for the successful implementation of the project. The programme will provide an opportunity to receive a grant of up to $25,000 for projects at the Pre-seed stage and up to $50,000 for projects at the Seed stage. At one time, such startups as Esper Bionics, Upswot, Finmap, Zeely, Mate Academy, Harmix took advantage of a similar opportunity, and today these companies are known all over the world.

It is planned to fund 74 teams, including:

  • 48 at the pre-seed stage with a total amount of up to USD 25,000;
  • 26 at the seed stage with a total amount of up to USD 50,000.

Duration of the programme: until 31 December 2025.

Despite the disruptive trends in 2023, Ukraine’s tech community has shown impressive resilience, particularly in the growth of IT exports. This demonstrates the strong innovation potential of the sector and its focus on the future. Given the development of technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and quantum computing, we believe that Ukrainian startups can identify and exploit new opportunities, gaining leadership positions in these promising areas. The Ukrainian Startup Fund is our long-term partner, and we are pleased to continue to join forces for Ukraine’s economic growth.

Jaroslawa Johnson, President and CEO of Western NIS Enterprise Fund.

The Grant Programme is open to applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • Business entities registered in accordance with the procedure established by law and carrying out activities aimed at generating profit and/or achieving social effect.
  • No investments, grants or state support exceeding USD 500,000 in the equivalent for the entire period of activity.
  • The total income does not exceed USD 500,000 in equivalent as of the date of application for the last year of operation.
  • The applicant is not actually located and does not carry out activities in the territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation, and is not included in the sanctions list and is not subject to special restrictions (sanctions) in accordance with the laws of Ukraine.

Not eligible for participation:

  • Projects that have been funded under the BRAVE1 and Seeds of Bravery grant programmes from the European Innovation Council.
  • Applicants who manufacture/create equipment, materials, products, goods and/or other military products.

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