The Future of the Non-IT Technology Business in Ukraine

John Isella, Strategic Development Director at Noosphere Ventures

Jul 1, 2019

This text was originally written by John Isella, Strategic Development Noosphere Ventures, and published on the Kyiv Post site. You can read the original article by following this link.

Can Ukraine compete in international technology markets? Does Ukraine have the ability to attract international investors and customers in technology businesses? These questions can be heard so often in business discussions it sounds like a broken record. The answer, of course, is yes, but the questions continue. It’s a complex psychological mindset that results from the “Soviet hangover,” causing an entire population to question it’s obvious talents and abilities. No one in Ukraine should be asking this question. The answer is, obviously, “yes, Ukraine can compete successfully.” The question that should be asked is what can be done to support Ukrainian entrepreneurial activity, and what should be done to successfully enter international markets? With a highly educated and motivated population, it should be expected — not questioned — that Ukraine will flourish in the world’s technology industries.

“Our potential customers and investors should recognize our capabilities and come to us” is a phrase that can be heard throughout the heritage technology industries in Ukraine. Good luck with that approach…

Are there unique challenges for entrepreneurs in Ukraine? Absolutely. Can they be overcome? Absolutely. Fortunately, there are highly successful entrepreneurs from Ukraine who have set the example and are investing in the country’s future and in startup technology businesses. It’s difficult to attract international startup investment in Ukraine. However, investment support does exist. Noosphere Ventures, founded by Max Polyakov, is engaged in a countrywide effort in Ukraine to enable startup and early-phase technology companies that need financial and business support to achieve success. With an 18-year history of successful business in Ukraine, Noosphere fully understands the challenges in Ukraine and how to realize international opportunities.

It’s a complex psychological mindset that results from the “Soviet hangover,” causing an entire population to question it’s obvious talents and abilities.

The IT industry gets a lot of attention — as it should — and has developed into an internationally recognized and growing part of Ukraine’s economy. The more “hard tech” fields have yet to be recognized internationally, mostly due to a lack of international business development and understanding of how to market to the West. This is, in part, due to the old-school approach to business development and marketing in many companies. “Our potential customers and investors should recognize our capabilities and come to us” is a phrase that can be heard throughout the heritage technology industries in Ukraine. Good luck with that approach…

Many companies and individuals see it as inappropriate to aggressively propose business concepts, products, and services. In fact, without this standard approach, success will be quite elusive. Another obstacle is the out-of-sync business expectations that can exist in Ukraine. In order to be competitive, you have to be competitive and offer an unfamiliar customer or investor a reason to take a risk on Ukraine.

Ukrainian companies possess a wide range of technologies, some of which were developed in Soviet times, that can be marketed internationally. Sometimes, as with the space industry, these capabilities languish under the burden of Soviet-style management and absurd legislation. Noosphere Ventures has demonstrated the ability to re-invigorate business in neglected industries by pairing U.S. companies with Ukrainian companies, resulting in a powerful synergistic business case. Firefly Aerospace is a prime example of the success that can be realized with a U.S.-Ukraine business structure that spans the U.S., Ukraine, and international markets. In the current business climate of strong Western support for Ukraine, there are many opportunities for tech companies in the West.

Many companies and individuals see it as inappropriate to aggressively propose business concepts, products, and services. In fact, without this standard approach, success will be quite elusive.

Noosphere Ventures invites small and medium tech businesses in Ukraine to contact us for discussions about the future of the tech industry in Ukraine. It’s a strong future, we believe in it, and we’re sure there are lots of entrepreneurial minds out there that also do.


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