Воєнний рік екосистеми Kharkiv IT Cluster

The war year of the Kharkiv IT Cluster ecosystem

IT Cluster IT Cluster

On December 22, the Kharkiv IT Cluster held a General Meeting in the already traditional format, simultaneously meeting offline in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lviv and online. The team and members of the Kharkiv IT Cluster summed up the results of 2022 and planned activities for 2023.

At the beginning of 2022, the biggest problem of the IT business was the shortage of IT specialists in the Ukrainian IT Industry which was growing +25-30% during the last 5 years. The direction of the IT education development was the key in the work of Kharkiv IT Cluster NGO, and more than 20 educational projects and initiatives covered the entire “pipeline” of talent training — from career guidance for schoolchildren to more than 90 educational programs in Kharkiv universities and more than 100 courses in non-formal education, including the professional development of teachers in universities, colleges and schools.

At the same time, six more key areas were actively working in the ecosystem of the Kharkiv IT Cluster — from services for IT companies and IT specialists to common charity initiatives in project IT4Life, from IT parks and housing for IT community to networking events. Cluster was providing for its members legal support and lobbying of the interests of the IT industry, and PR and international events for the IT community and its members.

The full-scale war became a terrible challenge and at the same time the starting point of a new milestone in the life of each of the members and the Kharkiv IT Cluster team. The war became an exam that in practical cases tested the validity of the buzzwords about the development of the ecosystem for technological business in the mission of the Kharkiv IT community.

A true ecosystem is adaptive, distributed and open. Its key features are self-organization, scalability and sustainability. So the anti-fragility of the Kharkiv IT Cluster ecosystem in 2022 helped the Kharkiv IT community to rally and not only to preserve their business, but also to help Kharkiv and Ukraine and continue to invest in the future for the IT industry.

Deputy Prime Minister — Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov, who participated at the Kharkiv IT Cluster General Meeting at the 22th of December 2022, in his speech noted that the Ministry is developing a special space to support the IT industry Diya City, reforming the IT education and stimulates the development of Ukrainian startups.

«The IT industry is like not the only one branch of the economy that continues to develop, create new jobs, implement new projects, and attract investments during a full-scale war. The courage of Kharkiv IT companies should be especially noted. You continued to work under constant fire from the Russians and deliver orders simply from bomb shelters. Your heroism amazes the whole world. The Ministry of Digital Transformation will continue to do everything to help the IT business develop and survive during the war,» Mykhailo Fedorov said at the Kharkiv IT Cluster General Meeting.

Coming back to the past, in February-March, the Kharkiv IT Cluster community and its members were focused on saving teams and helping the state defense. Exchange of information, coordination during decentralized evacuation, hundreds of cases of mutual aid within the community were especially valuable in the first weeks. It was at this time that new members began to actively join the Kharkiv IT Cluster, who noted their motivation precisely in unity in the face of wartime challenges.

And there are two facts that illustrate the compliance of the Kharkiv IT Cluster with the first feature of the ecosystem — sustainability. The coordination of the cluster team helped in the evacuation of at least 15,000 IT specialists with their families and pets. And more — due to Kharkiv IT Cluster internal research – 95% of IT companies — Cluster members — resumed their activities already in April.

Already since April, educational projects and initiatives have started working in Kharkiv IT Cluster one after another, so the IT industry has continued to invest in the future. As an example of the early bird project, with the support of IT companies and more than 80 volunteers, mathematics lessons were launched for children who were hiding from the bombings in the subway.

Kharkiv-IT-Cluster-414x233 The war year of the Kharkiv IT Cluster ecosystem

The educational community, schoolchildren and students partially moved to other regions, so the activity of the Kharkiv IT Cluster team went beyond local geography. The online studying experience gained during covid came in handy.
In 2022, the Kharkiv IT Cluster not only preserved the educational IT community of Kharkiv, but also involved universities, colleges and schools from more than 15 regions of Ukraine into cooperation. Because the challenge of talent shortage is one of the biggest risks that await Ukraine in the future. Partners of Kharkiv IT Cluster together with NTU “KhPI”, NURE, Karazin University and KhNUE became Shevchenko University, Kyiv Polytechnic and many other progressive universities throughout the whole country that wanted to join the joint development of IT education in Ukraine and mutual support. There are already more than 160 institutions in the educational IT community, and new members join the community every week.

In order to attract young people to IT professions and admission to Kharkiv universities, Kharkiv IT Cluster, with the support of IT business, conducted a powerful promotional campaign that reached more than 17 million views and received more than 63,000 visitors to the Cluster IT Applicant Portal.

In total, more than 19,000 participants — schoolchildren, undergraduates and their parents, students, teachers and lecturers — took part in more than 300 free online and offline educational events and programs at technology directions and career guidance.

The scaling results of the Kharkiv IT Cluster educational direction confirm another feature of the same name of a real ecosystem.

«Coming together in difficult times requires both openness and adherence to clear ethical principles regarding important matters. The fact that at a time when all companies, without exception, temporarily relocated part of their teams from Kharkiv, but continued to join and integrate into active activities in the Kharkiv IT Cluster, shows the true openness of the community to those who are ready to work, invest and help. In 2022, more than 50 new member IT companies were admitted to the Kharkiv IT Cluster, most of which lost clear geographical boundaries, but did not lose their roots in Kharkiv,» says Oleksandr Medovoi, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Kharkiv IT Cluster.

Kharkiv-IT-Cluster2-414x233 The war year of the Kharkiv IT Cluster ecosystem

More than 1,350 articles, posts and videos about the resilience and case studies of the Kharkiv community, IT companies and IT specialists during the war, published during 2022, show that Kharkiv IT Cluster is primarily about the community members. The number of subscribers in Kharkiv IT Cluster communication channels reached more than 44 thousand followers, providing more than 4.6 million organic views of publications and helping IT companies to speak about their resilience loudly.

The hostilities of 2022 undoubtedly made it more difficult to create international partnerships, because blackouts and relocation of teams increased mistrust of the Ukrainian IT business and, as a result, significantly complicated the creation of trusted-agreements with foreign customers. In order to support the community in the “common market”, to strengthen trust in Kharkiv IT, the Kharkiv IT Cluster is the only one of the IT associations of Ukraine became the part of the EEN Consortium — one of the largest business network in the world, which unites companies from over 70 countries.

The self-organization of the Kharkiv IT Cluster IT community is illustrated by the fact that member IT companies and Kharkiv IT specialists have allocated more than UAH 1 billion to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine. And, despite the difficult times that the IT business is already experiencing, every day they continue to search for, finance and deliver equipment, food, cars and serve as a reliable rear in the defense of Kharkiv and Ukraine.

In the ecosystem of IT4Life charitable initiatives, projects thanks to which more than 40 units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are supported, more than 1 million people were fed, Invincibility Points are being deployed in Kharkiv (as an example — 6 points with the support of IT company DataArt). IT volunteers help each other in the delivery, search, and verification of information, because trust is one of the values of Kharkiv IT Cluster.

More than 5,000 participants of networking events for Kharkiv IT business managers, HR and PR specialists in 2022, who join the events from all corners of Ukraine and the continents of the world, testify to the distribution of the community, but the preservation of activity, sharing of experience and information. The standard for holding the General Meeting of the Kharkiv IT Cluster is now the simultaneous launch of at least three offline locations with a connection to the active online networking of the audience.

Adaptation is something everyone has faced this year. The Kharkiv IT Cluster responded to this challenge by launching unique services for membering companies, which, for example, already received free Starlinks in March-April. Every day, the Kharkiv IT Cluster team solves community requests in 11 closed channels, where about 1,700 members actively participate.

In November 2022, after the start of blackouts, more than 100 companies-members joined the initiative of sharing IT offices, experience of working during blackouts, and opening joint Hubs of IT-Invincibility throughout Ukraine. The Hubs have power generations, Starlinks and the additional channels of networks, for the business continuity of IT business.

Kharkiv IT Cluster is also actively working with the government and the local authorities.

«Legal support and lobbying of IT business interests has continued to be one of the vectors of activity of the Kharkiv IT Cluster, based on the experience of working with the state in launching the Diya.City space. In 2022, the cluster team held more than 60 meetings with regional and national authorities, focusing on solving issues related to critical workers reservation from the mobilization, trips abroad, currency regulations and saving tax residency for those who are temporarily evacuated abroad. Kharkiv IT Cluster cooperates with the national associations of IT Ukraine and the IT committee of the EBA, because the synchronization of the positions of the IT industry is one of the main factors in achieving practical results in lobbying and protection of interests,» shares the executive director of Kharkiv IT Cluster Olga Shapoval.

A difficult year 2023 ahead awaits us. The IT industry, which has grown for 2022 by 10 percent, is already beginning to show negative trends in revenue. Therefore, 2023 will require even stronger cohesion and activities to preserve business, help Kharkiv and Ukraine, continue investing time and money in strengthening the influence and protection of important points for the IT business.

The ecosystem of the Kharkiv IT Cluster and the dedication of the Kharkiv IT teams are an illustration of anti-fragility and indomitability, which is always open to new members. To join the Kharkiv IT Cluster means to become a part of big changes in the universe of invincible innovators and heroes.



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