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best startup accelerators and incubators in ukraine by vestbee.com
04 October 2023·16 min read

Aleksandra Woszczyk

Editor, Vestbee

Best Startups Accelerators and Incubators In Ukraine

In spite of the ongoing war, the Ukrainian startup ecosystem remains remarkably resilent and continues to offer a number of world-class accelerators and incubators. These programs offer early-stage startups a variety of resources and support, including funding, mentorship, and access to a network of investors and partners. 

Here are some of the best Ukranian startup accelerators and incubators:

The 1991 Open Data Incubator

The 1991 Open Data Incubator is an initiative that pays homage to Ukraine's declaration of independence in 1991. This incubator serves as a dynamic hub for the tech community, dedicated to advancing the nation's comprehensive growth and prosperity.

Founded in 2016, the 1991 Open Data Incubator emerged as a response to a challenge. It was initiated by Denis and Viktor Gursky, who initially launched the civil movement SocialBoost in 2013. SocialBoost started as a series of hackathons with the goal of rallying Ukraine's tech community to leverage open data for societal betterment.

Over time, it evolved into a civic tech non-governmental organization (NGO), pioneering the development of civic tech and gov tech startups in Ukraine. The founders believed that even traditionally conservative industries like banking, financial services, and the government sector could undergo digitization. The challenge was to create a space where state officials, businesses, and startups could collaboratively pursue mutual benefits.

The 1991 Open Data Incubator was established with support from the Western NIS Enterprise Fund, Microsoft Ukraine, and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Its primary mission is to educate aspiring young entrepreneurs in effecting positive change while conducting business. This incubator specializes in nurturing startups that develop tools benefiting public servants, businesses, and civil society.

Notably, the incubator has conducted several impactful incubation programs, including the Fintech Master program in partnership with MasterCard, Open Banking Lab in collaboration with OTP Bank Ukraine, and support from the National Bank of Ukraine, the Innovation Justice Challenge, and the EU Association Lab. Additionally, it has organized the annual Open Data Challenge contests, significantly increasing the prize pool from UAH 1.5 million to UAH 3.5 million. These initiatives have birthed numerous successful startups.

The 1991 Open Data Incubator has hosted 22 incubation and acceleration programs, providing support to 176 startups. These alumni have secured nearly $1.8 million in grants and investments. The incubator has extended its reach beyond Kyiv, conducting incubations in Ukrainian cities like Dnipro and Ivano-Frankivsk. It also established a startup development center, the 1991 Mariupol, in Mariupol, a burgeoning industrial and innovation hub in Eastern Ukraine.

ISE Group

ISE Group is a dynamic innovation ecosystem builder established in 2018 in Ukraine, with a keen focus on fostering partnerships among various stakeholders. These include Corporations, Government Agencies, Universities, R&D centers, and Startups. What sets ISE Group apart is its dedication to promoting female entrepreneurship, with 30% of the startups it supports being led by women.

At the heart of ISE Group's initiatives is its Accelerator Program, which spans the startup journey from the seed stage to post-minimum Viable Product (MVP). The program is known for its flexibility, with durations ranging from 3 months to 1 year. What makes it unique is the personalized approach, where each startup team receives an individualized action plan, ensuring tailored support.

Mentorship is a cornerstone of ISE Group's offerings. Startups gain access to a network of mentors with expertise spanning multiple domains, providing valuable guidance. Technical support is also readily available, covering eight key areas, and the program facilitates top-profile networking, fostering connections that can propel startups to new heights.

The impact of ISE Group's efforts is notable. Over the past two years, they have evaluated more than 350 startups. Seven of these startups successfully secured financing in subsequent rounds, while over 20 established strategic partnerships with corporations. This success is underpinned by a global perspective, with mentors and partners hailing from major ecosystems worldwide.

ISE Group's approach doesn't stop at mentorship and technical support. It takes startups through a comprehensive six-step journey. This includes everything from MVP building to finding the right clients, scaling up for international markets, and even facilitating pilot programs with corporations.

FeelGoodLabs

Business Accelerator FeelGoodLabs is a program offering a unique opportunity for both existing businesses and startups. Founded by experienced Ukrainian entrepreneurs, the accelerator places a strong emphasis on practical learning with expert guidance. It spans ten weeks, including 20 classes and 80 hours of independent project work. What sets this program apart is its cost-effectiveness, presenting a much lower investment compared to the potential expenses associated with learning from mistakes.

The accelerator's efficiency is a highlight, guiding participants from the early stages of testing business ideas to achieving tangible sales. Central to its methodology is the user development approach, ensuring that products or services align with genuine user needs, a crucial element for success in the market.

Moreover, participants gain access to a valuable network, connecting them with potential clients, partners, and investors, broadening their business horizons. The accelerator goes beyond theory by actively supporting participants in applying their newfound knowledge and skills to their projects.

Individualized mentorship is a core feature, with each participant receiving personal guidance and access to consultations with industry experts. Furthermore, participants enjoy additional benefits through the accelerator's partner network, including free services and discounts from both Ukrainian and international product companies.

One of the accelerator's significant strengths lies in its preparation of participants for investment and grant-seeking. This aspect encompasses training on document preparation, application submission, and honing presentation skills, equipping entrepreneurs with the tools they need to secure funding successfully.

D3 Defense Accelerator

D3 Defense Accelerator stands as a beacon for early-stage defense tech startups, offering a comprehensive package that sets them on a trajectory for success. Rooted in Ukraine, this accelerator and fund focuses on equipping tech-driven startups with the tools they need to thrive in the realm of defense technology.

One of D3's key offerings is equity investment, providing startups with the financial backing necessary to turn their innovative ideas into reality. However, D3 goes far beyond capital injection. It distinguishes itself through the extensive mentorship it provides. Startups are guided and shaped by some of the world's leading experts in defense technology, ensuring that their products or solutions meet the highest standards of excellence.

D3 leverages its unique position in Ukraine to facilitate cooperation with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This partnership opens doors for startups, allowing them to navigate the complexities of working with defense entities, obtain certifications and approvals, and build relationships with key stakeholders. Such collaboration is invaluable for businesses in the defense sector.

Furthermore, D3 is deeply committed to fundraising support. Beyond the initial investment, startups have the opportunity to secure additional funding after completing the program. This financial support ensures that their growth remains uninterrupted.

The accelerator's focus spans a wide spectrum of defense capabilities, encompassing military hardware and software, cyber security, and artificial intelligence. Its search for talent extends beyond Ukraine, reaching out to allied countries to source the most promising startups.

YEP

YEP is making significant strides in fostering startups in Ukraine. Since its inception in 2016, YEP has incubated over 500 startups, equipping them with invaluable mentorship, grants, and support. Beyond incubation, YEP is actively involved in shaping entrepreneurship education at 95 universities across the country, impacting more than 3,000 students each semester.

The YEP Incubator is a cornerstone program designed for founders in the early stages, particularly those with ideas or pre-MVP startups. This incubation program serves as a vital platform for idea validation, work structuring, and avoiding common pitfalls. Over the seven years of the program's existence, YEP has assisted these early-stage startups in validating their concepts and constructing scalable business models, leveraging the insights of experts within the startup community.

Notably, YEP's incubation efforts have yielded impressive results. Graduates from the past two years alone have secured over $1 million in funding from investors and donors. Many of these startups are now actively expanding their products in the US and European markets, underscoring the effectiveness of YEP's incubation program.

The YEP Accelerator is another compelling offering, providing startups with substantial support. This program delivers more than 60 hours of mentoring sessions, networking opportunities with partners and investors, interactions with accomplished founders, and a range of additional services aimed at fostering startup growth. Moreover, startups in the accelerator receive a $2,000 grant and the chance to pitch to investors, potentially securing vital funding to propel their ventures forward.

The accelerator program adopts a tailored approach for each startup, crafting an optimal blend of training boot camps, mentoring sessions, and workshops. This personalized strategy aims to save time and minimize early-stage setbacks, boosting the likelihood of success.

Ukrainian Future Business Incubator

The Ukrainian Future Business Incubator is a vital platform in Ukraine's entrepreneurial landscape, poised to transform innovative ideas into robust business models. With a mission to empower Ukrainians through innovation, growth, and commercialization, this incubator is a collaborative effort, drawing inspiration from Finnish excellence in education and entrepreneurship.

What sets Ukrainian Future apart is its affiliation with the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, a UNESCO-endorsed institution that has made significant contributions to innovation and intellectual property.

In the medium term, Ukrainian Future has ambitious goals that align with Ukraine's rebuilding efforts. They seek to be a driving force behind startup businesses focused on infrastructure, thereby expanding Ukraine's startup ecosystem through partnerships with government and businesses.

Additionally, they aim to integrate Ukrainian startups into the global community while making entrepreneurial education accessible to all Ukrainian students. A commendable aspect is their dedication to providing business training for veterans interested in entrepreneurship or innovation investment.

Beyond fostering entrepreneurship, Ukrainian Future places a strong emphasis on sustainability. They encourage participants to develop products that meet consumer demand sustainably and gain a deeper understanding of industries' impact on broader societal challenges. They foresee a future where entrepreneurship is intrinsically tied to social responsibility and ecological problem-solving.

The industries represented within the incubator's portfolio span a wide spectrum, covering AgroTech, Alternative Energy, HealthTech, Creative Industries, and Aviation. This diversity ensures that a broad range of innovative ideas finds support and mentorship within Ukrainian Future, contributing significantly to Ukraine's innovation-driven Future.

VACUUM DEEP TECH ACCELERATION

The vacuum deep tech accelerator is a collaboration between Home of Startups Accelerator, Sampo Accelerator, YEP, and strategic partners, and stands out for its focus on systematically responsible business growth rather than just chasing investment rounds. The program is designed for projects that will contribute to the reconstruction and development of the country and cities during the war and in the post-war period, in particular in the fields of education, healthcare, energy, logistics, and infrastructure. The program emphasizes acquiring and retaining clients as the key to success. It offers expert mentorship, access to financial and non-financial resources, and tailored programs like Development and Renovation, Defense Tech, and Science Intensive Innovation. 

The goal is to support startups in building a strong foundation for sustainable growth. The programs involve intensive workshops, 1:1 meetings  that take approximately 20-25 hours per week., and expert feedback to accelerate startups in the tech and science sectors. A 5-week program focused on projects contributing to education, healthcare, energy, logistics, and infrastructure, especially during and after war periods.  An intensive program providing access to labs, R&D centers, and administrative services, with expert mentorship across tech and science domains.

The Impact Business Acceleration Program

The Impact Business Acceleration Program is a specialized initiative, led by an international team of experts, entrepreneurs, and investors. Its primary aim is to empower active businesses registered in Ukraine, enabling them to contribute to the nation's post-war recovery while creating lasting social impact. The overarching goal extends to integrating technology solutions that foster a social impact economy, potentially injecting an extra USD 250M into Ukraine's GDP over the next 5 years. 

This program offers a 9-month equity-free virtual experience, providing access to global tech resources, 30 hours of dedicated mentoring, and interaction with experts and coaches from renowned international companies and successful startups. Startups also have a chance to secure up to €20k grant and connect with top investors.

The curriculum covers fundamental aspects of the impact economy, including scaling and export strategies, social impact, fundraising, and other pertinent business topics. The program structure comprises online classes, individual consultations, mandatory homework, pitching sessions, and demo presentations to global investors during Demo Day.

Eligibility is open to startups registered in Ukraine for at least a year, showcasing financial stability, a viable business model, an enthusiastic team, innovation, scalability potential, ethical business conduct, and a strong commitment to driving social impact. This program provides startups with an avenue to accelerate their growth while integrating social impact as a core component of their business strategy.

The GCIP Ukraine

The GCIP Ukraine  hosts an annual competition-based Accelerator program, aimed at propelling the most promising innovators and entrepreneurs in the country. This initiative brings together leading international and Ukrainian experts, along with representatives from the government, business sector, and civil society, to foster the development of cleantech ideas and startups.

The program offers several benefits, including financial support up to $15k, coaching on modern business management and communication techniques from international and national experts, a platform to present startups on an international stage, a mentoring program facilitated by international and national experts, networking opportunities with key industry professionals, access to investors (both from Ukraine and other countries), and support in finding partners and securing financial resources for idea implementation.

The competition invites small and medium-sized enterprises with a registration period of not more than 3 years, as well as organizations, creative teams, scientific societies, unions, and individual inventors with their startup projects. To apply, interested participants can complete the application form available on the project website.

Startup projects should focus on the implementation of clean technologies that significantly improve energy efficiency, promote sustainable resource use (including waste management), or enhance environmental protection measures, ultimately reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants. However, startup projects aimed at the reconstruction or restructuring of existing businesses are not eligible for this competition.

Uwe Hub

The UWE Hub Training Program provides an online platform for women keen on developing their business ideas. The program is structured to guide the transformation of business concepts into practical business plans, addressing challenges and propelling business growth. The program facilitated engaging sessions with 60+ mentors from Ukraine, EU countries, and various national and international partners, enriching the learning experience. Impressively, an encouraging 27% increase in officially registered women's businesses was observed, underscoring the program's influence on entrepreneurship. Moreover, participants greatly benefited from 250+ consultations, emphasizing the hands-on assistance provided.

The results from UWE Hub 1.0 and 2.0 revealed significant progress. Over 900 participants registered for the training program, highlighting its broad appeal. Participants reported a substantial 20% increase in both clients and profits after completing the program, demonstrating its effectiveness. Additionally, 9 standout participants were awarded $4k  each for expert consultation to fortify their businesses. Around 80% of participants enhanced their business and financial models, showcasing the positive impact of the program on business strategies. 

Eligibility criteria for program participants encompass Ukrainian citizenship, aged between 18-35, proficiency in English to effectively engage with additional materials and lectures, and possession of either an existing business or a viable business idea. Demonstrated high motivation, a strong belief in their business concept, and access to a laptop/PC or smartphone with a camera to actively participate in online classes are also essential requirements.

SILab Ukraine

SILab Ukraine is dedicated to promoting social entrepreneurship and innovation, emphasizing personal social responsibility within Ukrainian society. They actively work with two key tools: social entrepreneurship and social innovations.

Their impact is impressive, having launched 23 social enterprises through acceleration programs. They benefit from a network of 50 mentors providing valuable guidance to social entrepreneurs. Additionally, they've facilitated funding for 3 social enterprises through social investments and have been extensively engaged in various initiatives across Ukraine.

In recent programs, SILab Ukraine collaborated on:

  1. Express Online Incubator 2.0 (Spring 2023): This rapid online incubator, done in partnership with the Ukrainian Social Venture Fund, supported 5 selected projects with financial aid to kickstart their enterprises.
  2. Impact Business (February 2023): An acceleration program targeting Ukrainian businesses contributing to post-war recovery and social impact, offering financial support to the best-performing teams.
  3. Express Online Accelerator (Fall 2022): This accelerator program was focused on scaling existing active social enterprises, supporting 30 selected teams to enhance their impact.

eō Business Incubator 

eō Business Incubator is at the forefront of Ukraine's mentor-driven incubation, solely focused on making Ukrainian startups globally competitive. Their intensive 4-month curriculum empowers technologists and entrepreneurs to launch and scale industry-changing tech businesses.

This premier program is designed to nurture startups, offering a series of lectures, workshops, and webinars covering vital startup and business fundamentals. At the culmination, startups pitch their businesses to investors and eō partners at the Demo Day.

Central to eō's success is their mentoring program, connecting startups with a vast network of over 60 accomplished mentors who provide tailored guidance and valuable feedback. They emphasize personalized one-on-one mentorship and interactive group mentoring, honing presentation skills and refining investment pitches.

Fundamentally, eō offers diverse funding opportunities, connecting startups to global venture capital, angel investors, grants, loans, and crowdfunding platforms. Their strong investor network and expert guidance on fundraising strategies make eō a catalyst for startup success.

Want to discover more accelerators and incubators from other countries? Check out the list below. 
Top Accelerators and Incubators from:

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