How IT could change (and save?) Ukraine

Kyiv – Maidan Square. Source: primetour.ua

In my last assignment, I was fortunate enough to get to know Ukraine and its people. Its been an interesting time – when I was there first, their cleptocratic „President“ Yanukovych was in power and you could sense in the capital Kyiv that people were unhappy with the way things went. Corruption was everywhere in the public life. Billions simply disappeared in construction for the EU soccer championship and other projects – very much in the public eye. The Elite secured the access to the money, which was something the people of Ukraine hoped to have overcome with the Orange Revolution in 2004. Plus they opted for democracy and freedom and a western lifestyle back then – things which the regime was step by step taking away from them again under Yanukovych. My understanding is, having been there and then, that this were the reasons why the people of Ukraine removed Mr. Yanukovych from power.

My contact to the Ukraine was through Software Development – and I learned that it is a very strong market for near-shoring and outsourced M&A. Software Developers enjoy a very high reputation in the society and a much higher salary than the monthly average of  EUR 417. They are the hope of many as they are well educated, well paid and want an open society and peace – and if only because that is what secures their jobs. These people have and had no interest in going back in time – they stand for the principles of the Orange Revolution today. They are peaceful, dedicated and hard-working for their future.

What many do not know is that „Software Developers Ukraine“ gives some 3,5 million hits on Google, and that it is for a reason: It is a huge, well established industry. And this industry could well be the one transforming Ukraine into a more modern country and help it overcome the challenges it is facing economically. Because the IT industry is booming, their resources are sought-after – while other industries are hit by the war in eastern Ukraine or the bad overall economy. That gives the IT sector even more relevance in solving the countries problems and challenges.

brain basket logoA perfect example for that is the Brain-Basket Foundation, which is named after the „bread basket“, that Ukraine was considered to be for the Sowjet Union back in the days. Brain Basket is an independent not-for-profit organization which strives „to make the industry a driving force in economic growth of Ukraine by developing an educational infrastructure“ – which is supposed to train 100.000 new IT specialists by the year 2020. Basically, the industry in Ukraine (and beyond) came together to turn it into some sort of IT powerhouse. But not only that – the Foundation is also giving hope (and a perspective) to those returning from the war in the east, by providing special educational programs for them and make them part of the IT industry.

Imagine what an additional well-payed, well-educated freedom-lovers will do to the country. It creates high hopes and looking at the industry today, which is a key for the economic success of Ukraine already, it is more than doubling its impact.

Now, for me this is a very positive story and the initiative deserves every support. They are really a shining example for the new Ukraine and worth mentioning in times, where bad things predominate the news.

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