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EU announces €20m fund to support hundreds of Ukrainian startups

It's part of a plan to help Ukrainian startups keep going amid the war — and integrate more into the wider European business community

By Zosia Wanat

EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel

Ukrainian deeptech startups affected by the war will receive €20m in support from the EU, it announced today. 

The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has pledged to help over 200 Ukrainian tech businesses that are struggling to stay afloat during the war or that need to relocate to another country. Each startup will be eligible for up to €60k.

“Ukraine has a vibrant tech community and a strong potential for creating innovation which are both scalable and global,” Mariya Gabriel, the EU’s commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, says. “We strongly believe that it’s paramount to preserve this potential and nourish it so that the Ukrainian tech industry can become a key economic driver for rebuilding the Ukrainian economy and infrastructure after the war.”

She adds that the initiatives hopes to achieve two things above all: help Ukrainian tech startups stay in business and facilitate their integration into the EU ecosystem. 

Ukraine is the birthplace of many well-known European startups — such as Grammarly, GitLab, Preply and Firefly — and home to a vast tech talent pool. According to the Ukrainian government, 70% of startups are continuing to operate during the war. 

Over the last three months, the European startup community has been finding ways to support Ukrainian founders — financially, by offering services for free, or by finding temporary employment for displaced teams. This new initiative from the European Commission will also offer support beyond funding such as mentoring and advice about entering new markets.

The new fund will be managed by the European Innovation Council, the commission’s commercialisation body. The €20m will be distributed via a pan-European network of startup associations that have been supporting Ukrainian founders.

The call for grants will open on June 23. The deadline is for applications is September 7.

Zosia Wanat is Sifted’s central and eastern Europe reporter, soon to be based in Warsaw but currently in Brussels. She tweets from @zosiawanat

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