Startup Wise Guys, a leading European accelerator based in Estonia, is launching an acceleration initiative dedicated to Ukrainian scale-ups. Dubbed ‘Growth Ukraine,’ this four-month online program will provide 12 yet-to-be-selected companies with “unparalleled mentorship, tailored guidance, and fundraising support.”
The free program runs in cooperation with the EBRD with its affiliate, the Taiwan Business-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund, involved as a donor. Its stated goals are to “strengthen the economic environment in Ukraine, pave the way for more jobs, business opportunities, and investments” by supporting growing startups and providing them with more European exposure.
“Ukraine’s IT sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience in wartime. Supporting Ukrainian start-ups is important at this difficult time and will be crucial to the post-war recovery and reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy,” says Alex Pivovarsky, director of capital and financial markets development at the EBRD, cited by Emerging Europe.
Startup Wise Guys has a long history of supporting Ukrainian startups. “From 2018 to 2021, we saw Ukraine’s startup scene spark and it was definitely one of the hotbeds of breeding talented and successful startups. To this date, we have backed in total 42 startups with Ukrainian founders with a proud tally of €2.78 million.”
After the war broke out, “a lot of focus was aimed at military tech, many founders joined the country’s defense forces or dived deep into voluntary work supporting others.” However, the vivid Ukrainian ecosystem still generates a relatively high number of new companies — which exceeds the number of businesses that have closed by more than five times, according to Startup Wise Guys.
Meanwhile, existing Ukrainian companies are hampered by “a glass ceiling limiting their ability to grow.” The new acceleration program aims to “reduce these obstacles” and “help these [scale-ups] survive” by providing in-kind assistance.
There will be two cohorts of six startups. Application deadlines are October 22 and November 17 for the first and second cohorts, respectively.
To be eligible, startups must have a founder with Ukrainian citizenship, even though his or her physical presence in Ukraine is not required. Companies registered inside and outside Ukraine can equally apply.