CRDF Global Announces 2015 Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program in Ukraine

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E&IU to Enable Sustainable Innovation Capacity to Help with Economic Recovery

Participants at E&IU's kick-off event in Kiev

To enable Ukraine’s innovators to achieve the success that will lead to an economic recovery, we require integrated commercialization training for our outstanding, world-class innovators. That is why E&IU is critical for us right now.

CRDF Global announced today that it has launched a nearly year-long entrepreneurship and innovation program in Ukraine to help foster sustainable science and technology innovation capacity required for the country’s economic recovery. Through a combination of entrepreneurial skills training, mentorship development, and startup competitions, the Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Ukraine initiative (E&IU) will help build capacity among Ukraine’s scientific and startup communities. CRDF Global is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, training and services in more than 40 countries.

The CRDF Global E&IU Program seeks to develop a network of tech commercialization and entrepreneurship experts who provide mentoring and business development assistance to emerging entrepreneurs. The Program seeks to create a repeatable process that will develop more and more skilled, capable innovators throughout the country. It also seeks to identify scientists, engineers, university students and faculty seeking to develop entrepreneurial skills, partner with tech companies, or commercialize their inventions. Participants will learn to develop and enhance business skills for evaluating and seizing market opportunities and securing partnerships and funding. Courses will detail intellectual property, idea validation, customer discovery and development, business models, building the team, business communications, and marketing and execution planning.

E&IU began in late March with an eLearning train-the-trainer session to show expert entrepreneurs how to mentor those looking to commercialize a technology or grow a startup. Other online sessions for participants being mentored will follow. Participants will be competitively selected to attend a two-day intensive on-site Bootcamp, Innovation Forum and Business Pitch competition. At the Bootcamp, participants will apply what they have learned, and receive one-on-one mentoring from successful tech entrepreneurs, early-stage investors and commercialization experts. The Innovation Forum will bring participants from across Ukraine and neighboring countries. At the Business Pitch competition, E&IU Bootcamp participants will pitch their ideas to a panel of investors and successful serial entrepreneurs from Ukraine, the U.S. and Europe. Winners of the Pitch Competition will receive awards including grants to cover business development trips to the U.S. The culmination will be the U.S. Business Development program for awardees in December.

Session participants will be selected from applicants nominated by the E&IU partners, relevant organizations, technology entrepreneurs and experts.

Importantly, E&IU includes Ukraine’s rural and currently war-torn regions and cities. By conducting this training online and in partnership with local institutions, mentors and other participants can be reached in areas like Donetsk and Luhansk.

“Proudly, CRDF Global has supported Ukraine's science and technology innovators for 20 years, and there has never been a more urgent time to partner with Ukraine,” said CRDF Global President and CEO, Cathy Campbell. “E&IU represents a sustained, nearly year-long program based on our experience in science and technology innovation capacity training, and our unique understanding of Ukraine. “We look forward to supporting the entrepreneurs and innovators that are crucial to Ukraine’s sustained recovery,” she said.

CRDF Global will provide mentorship and skills training development in partnership with Kharkiv Technologies Center (KTC) and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

“CRDF Global is the most important partner of Ukrainian researchers and innovators on a systematic scale,” said Ukraine’s Minister of Education and Science, Serhiy Kvit. “While other sectors are declining amid war and economic crisis, the $5 billion Ukrainian IT industry is growing. More than 50,000 engineers are employed by the Ukrainian IT firms, and there are more than 2,000 startups. However, to enable Ukraine’s innovators to achieve the success that will lead to an economic recovery, we require integrated commercialization training for our outstanding, world-class innovators. That is why E&IU is critical for us right now,” said Minister Kvit.

CRDF Global has supported Ukraine's science and technology for 20 years, providing more than 750 awards involving over 3,545 Ukrainian researchers and as implemented projects totaling over $13.5 in Ukraine, with local governmental and non-governmental sources committing more than $4.2 million to further support these projects.

About CRDF Global
CRDF Global is an independent, nonprofit organization established in 1995 to promote international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, training, and services. CRDF Global has nearly 20 years of experience managing international research funding programs and supporting emerging science and technology infrastructure in more than 40 countries in Eurasia, the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

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