Support for early-stage Ukrainian innovators

The opportunity to pitch is always a win – in more than one sense of the word. On pitch day for the “Pre-accelerator in Ukraine – powered by EIT Jumpstarter”, 16 Ukrainian teams had the opportunity to win, learn and to connect with each other.

The event in a nutshell

The power of innovation was on full display on this occasion. The event brought together some of Ukraine’s most promising entrepreneurs to showcase their cutting-edge ideas and compete for monetary prizes and access to the EIT Community’s network. Hosted by EIT Jumpstarter, the programme aims to support Ukrainian innovators as they turn their concepts and discoveries into thriving businesses. This programme is part of the RIS programmes EIT Manufacturing offers.

Sixteen teams were selected from over 150 applicants to present their pitches, each hoping to impress the expert jury of industry leaders and secure one of the top three spots. At the event, Dr Konstantinos Georgoulias, Director of Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) and EU Affairs, and Dr Veronica Rodriguez, RIS Operations Manager, extended a warm welcome to all the participants, setting the tone for a day filled with excitement and anticipation.

The competition was nothing short of intense, as a panel evaluated the pitches with great scrutiny to determine who would be awarded the monetary prizes worth 7,500€, 5,500€, and 3,500€. Moreover, the competition offered participants an exclusive opportunity to gain access to the IT Communities network resource for any ambitious innovator.

Results of the Pre-Accelerator Pitch Day Ukraine

In the first place was OptySun, whose revolutionary technology promises to bring clean drinking water to remote and underprivileged communities around the world. Powered by solar energy, their device can purify and disinfect water, producing nine litres of drinking water in just 30 minutes. And with its triple-stage purification technology, OptySun guarantees the destruction of 99.9% of bacteria, making it an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to traditional bottled water.

The second place was awarded to Geodesic, a company dedicated to creating sustainable and affordable geo domes made primarily of bio-degradable materials. These incredible structures offer families a cleaner environment and a greener future. Due to their dome shape, the structures have a lower surface area, thus significantly reducing energy costs by relying on passive heating and cooling methods. With Sweden as their chosen market, Geodesic hopes to lead the way in sustainable real estate.

Coming in third was Reest, whose solution tackles the problem of labour shortage by developing robots that can replace pickers. These robots not only increase efficiency by detecting diseases early on but also ensure a better yield and greater economic savings. Explicitly designed for mushrooms with soft skins, the robots are programmed to monitor the yield status and avoid damaging the delicate produce. With a solution like this, the labour shortage in the agriculture sector will be tackled head-on, and the efficiency of the food supply chain will be greatly improved.

A glimpse into the organising team

Reflecting on the competition’s intent, Dr Georgoulias expressed EIT Manufacturing’s commitment to launching more such opportunities in the future for aspiring innovators in Ukraine.

The initiative has been a great success engaging and attracting a very high number of applicants, demonstrating the innovation potential of Ukraine and the desire of Ukrainian innovators to go forward with their innovations even at a time of war. Allow me to express my thanks to my colleague Dr Rodriguez who has been the main initiator of this action, and above all to the innovators who believed in this programme and worked closely with us.

Dr Konstantinos Georgoulias, Director of Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) and EU Affairs

The jury comprised a panel of remarkable professionals, including Dr Olga Trofymova, Director of Export Internationalisation, Ukrainian Cluster Alliance, Anna Mihok Peli, Project Lead, EIT Health Innostars, and Fesenko Olena, Head of the Department of International Cooperation and Support Innovation and Technology Transfer of IP Nasu, General Manager of EEN-Ukraine Consortium.

The pitch day was an absolute thrill ride! The atmosphere was electric as we witnessed some of the most ingenious and groundbreaking ideas from Ukrainian entrepreneurs. It was inspiring to see their passion and determination to make a difference in the world.

We’re proud to announce that the EIT Manufacturing programme will continue to provide unwavering support to these brilliant minds. We believe in their potential and are committed to giving them every opportunity to transform their ideas and discoveries into prosperous businesses. Together, we’ll create a brighter future for everyone.

Dr Veronica Rodriguez, RIS Operations Manager

More Information about the “Pre-accelerator in Ukraine”

EIT Jumpstarter is back for 2023!

Applications are open by 16 April 2023

Head over to the RIS sphere on AGORA

For more information about the RIS (Regional Innovation Scheme) news & opportunities

Any questions? Contact our team members!

About the Pre-accelerator in Ukraine programme:

A 2020 report by the European Commission highlights the rapid development of a high technology sector in Ukraine, with pockets of scientific excellence reflecting the country’s successful contribution to scientific advancement over the past decades. The innovation potential of Ukraine and Ukrainians is immense and should be preserved and driven forward through programs supporting innovators and entrepreneurs, even though Ukrain is going through a very difficult political context. 

Thereby, a pre-accelerator programme providing Ukrainian researchers, students, idea holders and early-stage startups with entrepreneurial educational programs and access to finance was launched to support the sustainable reconstruction of the country, and potentially trigger a major technology and innovation leap.  This is where the idea to launch an EIT Manufacturing RIS programme the “Pre-accelerator in Ukraine – powered by EIT Jumpstarter” came from, in early September 2022.  

With the contribution of INESTEC and Tartu University, EIT Manufacturing RIS HUBs partners, high-potential early-stage teams got the opportunity to develop their business idea through online training, expert mentoring and subgranting. The methodology of the programme is based on the EIT Jumpstarter, an award-winning pre-accelerator brought to life by six Knowledge and Innovation Communities of the EIT in a project led by EIT Health.