America has up to 2 million people who claim Ukrainian roots — and some of them are busy helping promote Ukraine’s informational technology sector.
On Oct. 8, the IT Round Table took place with participation from executives of major Ukrainian software developers from DataArt, Eleks, EPAM and SoftServe. The venue was the non-profit Ukrainian Institute of America in New York.
Orest Kyzyk, the U.S. born son of Ukrainian immigrants from the World War II era, headed the five-member committee that organized the event at the Ukrainian Institute of America.
The Federation of Ukrainian Student Organizations of America, or SUSTA, also contributed to organizing the IT Round Table. Composed of Ukrainian students who immigrated to the U.S., young professionals from SUSTA joined the organizing activities on voluntary basis to create an opportunity for sharing knowledge, expand students’ networks, and find mentors.
SelfReliance Federal Credit Union in New York sponsored the event that attracted over 200 people at a cost of $25 each.
Although the Ukrainian Institute of America has been primarily concentrating on organizing cultural events on the non-profit basis since 1955, Kyzyk has been initiating business-related events. A member of the board of directors, his background includes work at Morgan Stanley investment firm and the New York Stock Exchange.
“The Ukrainian Institute of America is a cultural and educational organization that promotes Ukraine in U.S. But we also have to be cognizant we have opportunity to promote Ukraine beyond culture and education,” says Kyzyk.
Giving a spotlight to the representatives of the major Ukrainian outsourcers at the Round Table is important because “IT is a growing animal and Ukrainian IT is globally recognised,” Kyzyk said.
Vsevolod Onyshkevych, a Princeton graduate with Ukrainian roots, spoke at the IT Round Table on the behalf of Eleks software developer.
Appointed as the chief marketing officer at Eleks this spring and having 25 years of experience in marketing and management in global tech companies, Onyshkevych believes help from the diaspora in organizing such events abroad is helpful.
“Absolutely, the roundtable is one tiny little thing. And hopefully it introduces the IT industry to Ukrainian diaspora… We need a lot more of that,” says Onyshkevych
Onyshkevych also visited the recent Lviv IT Arena tech conference hosted in Lviv and says that more conferences that cover Ukrainian tech should be organized beyond Ukrainian borders. “We need conferences like this in London and Silicon Valley that showcase Ukraine as a brand,” says Onyshkevych.
Ukraine’s tech companies have a great competitive advantage with their talented workers, Onyshkevych believes, but “the quality of service to some extent also depends on the right infrastructure, the right regulatory environment, protection of property rights, and if that looks shaky,… the more you will see people deciding ( whether to choose a Ukrainian service provider or not).”
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