As part of his first official visit to France last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Station F, one of the world’s largest startup campuses in the heart of Paris, and discussed with his hosts possible cooperation in the IT area between Ukraine and France.
Ukraine should not only be associated with agriculture, coal mines and metallurgy, beautiful people, nature and food, but also with the IT industry, he noted.
Ukraine is indeed a goldmine of tech talents, as shown in recent industry reports.
“There has always been a vision for everyone in the world that Ukraine is, above all, about agriculture, mines, and metallurgists; and tourists have always said that Ukraine is very beautiful, food here is very tasty and people are very beautiful, especially women. Yes, that’s it and it remains our brand, but there are other figures that indicate that the IT industry, IT technologies and companies are developing very quickly in Ukraine,” he said in Paris.
Zelensky said: “Digital solutions are a priority in our development. Last year, more than 4% of Ukraine’s GDP was generated by our IT industry, and our IT service exports to France grew by 1.5%.”
“We have about 150,000 IT specialists and startup initiators in Ukraine. I think that we will develop in this direction,” he added.
With nearly 1,000 projects from 50 countries, Station F in Paris is the largest startup campus in Europe. “It is a magnet for talented youths who develop our common future,” Zelensky said. “Ukrainians are successful here, and we will help them be successful at home, too,” he added.
Zelensky said there is no such a campus for startups in Ukraine yet. “We have a lot of factories, which, unfortunately, do not work. We will definitely find such a large building,” he said.
Zelensky’s visit to Station F follows his earlier announcement of a digital initiative to improve Ukraine’s governance and implement the State in a Smartphone project.
Just days ago, demonstrating his commitment to IT development in Ukraine, Zelensky appointed David Arakhamia (aka David Braun) as secretary of the National Investment Council in Ukraine.
Born in Russia, Arakhamia is an internationally renowned IT entrepreneur. He co-founded Template Monster, a highly successful website developed with the help of his team from Ukraine. He is also the founder of Weblium, a SaaS-based website builder platform.