January 26, 2023
The 6th edition of Futurepreneurs: hands-on entrepreneurship training and focus on Ukraine
Startups Project Manager at Sunrise Valley Science
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, rising energy prices and inflation have affected many areas. The start-up ecosystem is no exception. Innovative solutions, renewable energy and other sustainable development goals have become even more relevant in today's context. This is why the “Futurepreneurs” entrepreneurship programme, which will be launched for the 6th time, invites you to take the initiative.
The “Futurepreneurs“ pre-accelerator programme, one of the initiatives promoting sustainable entrepreneurship, has been organised in Lithuania since 2017. The programme is open to students and young entrepreneurs up to the age of 30. The programme consists of a series of practical trainings and mentoring sessions, which will provide key knowledge in building a business from idea to development.
Returning after a year's break, this time the pre-accelerator will be different. The 2023 programme will be dedicated to Ukraine. We have invited Ukrainian entrepreneurs scattered across Europe to join the programme. The teams from Ukraine are invited to participate in the program online, while most of the „Futurepreneurs for Ukraine“ speakers, launch day guests, experts in their fields are also coming from Ukraine.
"The pre-accelerator, now in its sixth edition, will be a little different from previous programmes. Until now, we have focused on "live" sessions, where participants, speakers and mentors gather in one place and work together. Later, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the pre-accelerator moved to the digital world and was held remotely. This year we will run it in a hybrid model. This means that participants in Lithuania are invited to join the live sessions in Vilnius, while our partners in Ukraine and Netherlands will be able to fully participate in the programme remotely," said Laima Balčiūnė, Head of Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park, which runs the programme.
According to the latest data, 12% of start-ups in Ukraine shut down after the Russian invasion in February 2022 due to lack of funds, market contraction and other reasons. Another 30% have at least partially relocated their operations to foreign countries, while as many as 35% had to lay off a significant part of their staff.
"The Russian invasion of Ukraine is an unspeakably tragic moment. We all understand the horrors of war, we follow the news and try to help in any way we can. In this case, through our direct activities, we want to help the Ukrainian startup ecosystem, to provide them with knowledge, increase their visibility and promote sustainable innovation," said L. Balčiūnė.
One of the main partners of this year's Futurepreneurs for Ukraine is Ukrainian Startups Fund. Founded in 2018 by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, it is a state-owned organisation that supports Ukrainian startups through a variety of non-reimbursable means, with the aim of fostering the growth of the local startup ecosystem. Ukrainian Startups Fund is currently one of the largest investors in startups in Eastern Europe. During its lifetime, the organisation has invested in more than 250 startups, with a total investment amount of over EUR 6.5 million.
"We are delighted to join the Futurepreneurs for Ukraine pre-accelerator programme. We believe that at a time when war is destroying everything, entrepreneurship and innovation can help our country fight back. This is the main reason why we need to stimulate the development of entrepreneurship and start-ups from the initial idea to its final execution. We believe that participation in the pre-accelerator programme will give impetus to promising ideas to be born and to be realised. It will also provide participants with a range of useful skills, from problem solving to business planning. "Futurepreneurs for Ukraine“ programme's workshops, lectures by experienced professionals and mentoring sessions will help our country's startup ecosystem and entrepreneurs grow," said Pavlo Kartashov, Head of Ukrainian Startups Fund.
As usual, the Futurepreneurs programme will also be implemented in the Netherlands. In this country, World Startup, Thrive Institute and Pure Birds are contributing to the organisation of the programme, which gives sustainability-focused startups and entrepreneurial startups the opportunity to develop through various initiatives. As part of these partnerships, Ukrainian startups in the Netherlands will be invited to participate in Futurepreneurs for Ukraine remotely. Meanwhile, all live workshops and the Demo Day will take place at the premises of the programme's other partner Rockit in Vilnius.
During the Futurepreneurs for Ukraine pre-accelerator, which will start on 15 February at the „Vilnius Tech LinkMenu fabrikas“, participants will focus on various areas of sustainable startup development: problem solving, minimum viable product, consumer value proposition, business financials and pitching ideas to potential investors. Participants will also have the opportunity to consult with experienced mentors, participate not only in theoretical sessions but also in practical tasks.
The project will culminate in a Demo Day on 29 March, during which teams will present their ideas that have been refined over the six weeks of the programme. A panel of experts and potential investors will judge the participants' ideas and award the best ones with special prizes.
For more information on the project, visit futurepreneurs.eu. Registration for „Futurepreneurs for Ukraine“ is available until 13 February.
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