Ukrainian lecturers developed business ideas in the Startup Lab training programme

On Monday, December 12th, the second online training programme for the Ukrainian universities, where teams of lecturers developed their business ideas, ended. Although participating in the programme was very difficult, all eight teams bravely stayed until the end. The entrepreneurial skills teacher training is part of the Estonian-Ukrainian joint project UnivEntre.

Estonian ambassador to Ukraine Kaimo Kuusk gave his welcoming words in the demoday and encouraged to acquire new knowledge despite the difficult times. The jury recognized the team CODERS to be the most outstanding. The team consisting of lecturers from the universities of Lutsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv and Kharkiv are developing the idea of a personalized QR code that can be 3D printed and contains information about the person and his/her close relatives. The first users would be children so that they can be identified if necessary. The winning team gets the opportunity to visit the business festival Startup Day in Tartu on March 15-17, 2023.

According to the Ukrainian partner, Andrii Zaikin, founder of the NGO Platform of Innovative Partnership it was the second time when the entrepreneurship-training programme was run against all odds. It is hard to work on new ideas in the middle of the war, and not easy to teach and learn with constant blackouts. “We are proud of our participants who overcame it all and pitched their products at Demo Day. We are thankful to our Estonian friends for their tremendous support”, said Zaikin.

UnivEntre is a cooperation project of the University of Tartu Startup Lab aiming to contribute to the development of the Ukrainian higher educational system. Developing of entrepreneurial competence of university teachers is the first stage of the project. This time 40 lecturers from Ukrainian universities graduated. In the spring semester, 66 people graduated from the programme.

On the Estonian side, Juko-Mart Kõlar, Taavi Tamm, Mari Karm and Maret Ahonen from the University of Tartu supervised the workshops. Marelle Ellen from Promoty shared startup marketing knowledge. Triin Kask, mentor and co-founder of several start-ups participated in the jury and Ants-Oskar Mäesalu (TRIT) was involved as a mentor.

According to the UnivEntre project manager Piret Arusaar, the training programme supports the implementation of the new start-up entrepreneurship course launched in Ukrainian universities in 2021. Start-up Lab also contributed to its development. “Although the war does not allow all dreams to come true it is of great importance for the Ukrainians to know that we are by their side. Just as important as new knowledge and skills is the routine of meeting and learning together over two weeks”, added Arusaar.

Startup Lab manager Maret Ahonen stated that the perseverance of Ukrainians is admirable. Despite difficulties, we mostly had a stable number of active participants online, to say nothing about the lively local moderator Marharyta Chernyshova. “I am sure, that these lecturers will contribute with the same eagerness to the development of their students’ entrepreneurial skills“, said Ahonen.

Startup Lab has been supporting the development of the Ukrainian education system since 2016 in cooperation with the Ukrainian partner, NGO Platform of Innovative Partnership, known in Ukraine as YEP. The UnivEntre project is supported by the Estonian Centre for International Development.

More information: Piret Arusaar, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu, Startup Lab, 516 2945,