Standing Up For Ukraine’s Tech Business Frontline
For more than two months now, Ukraine has been firmly resisting Russia’s invasion. The democratic world is united with Ukraine providing humanitarian and financial assistance. Every Ukrainian citizen has responded with unprecedented support for the country in its time of need. In this struggle for Ukraine’s democracy and sovereignty, the IT industry is on the frontlines of the Armed Forces to strengthen the economy through continuity of business. Companies in the tech industry are donating millions to help with the war effort. In addition to ceasing business dealings in Russia, relocating people, and keeping business running to maintain the country’s economic stability, many of them are joining Ukraine’s armed resistance. Here’s how companies and the leaders behind them have been helping Ukraine since the early days of the war.
On emergency projects
Since the onset of the war, Lviv IT Cluster, the largest Ukrainian tech community, with over 200 member companies and more than 30 thousand tech professionals, has rallied to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the tech industry, and the displaced people. In wartime, uniting the community and supporting its members has become increasingly important, so Lviv IT Cluster has launched emergency projects that aim to ensure business continuity in such difficult times with a goal of devoting to comprehensive initiatives, such as assistance in moving tech professionals out of conflict zones to safer areas, arranging curfew passes for companies and people, providing advice and assistance from BCP team to Cluster member companies and sharing credible information, co-sharing office space for tech companies relocated to Lviv.
Lviv IT Cluster has built an international coalition with mainstream and tech media, a move intended to dispel fake news, spread the truths, tell about the Ukrainian tech industry in times of war, and share how companies even in such circumstances fulfill their obligations. Additionally, Lviv IT Cluster has resumed work at all projects that have been suspended for some time due to the war, and launched the Tax Pay Forward initiative aimed at paying in advance a single tax and single social contribution for its plan to provide the substantial support for both the state budget and local authorities that build the rear and tackle humanitarian challenges.
Stepan Veselovskyi, CEO of Lviv IT Cluster
Considering the utmost importance of uninterrupted and reliable internet connection for business existence, further development of the IT industry in Ukraine, and timely fulfillment of obligations to foreign customers, Stepan Veselovskyi came into direct communication with Elon Musk. As a result, Lviv IT Cluster and SpaceX have joined forces to help stabilize the country’s key infrastructures with reliable internet backup amid an invasion by Russia. In March 2022, Cluster purchased a large supply of Starlink terminals. By now, most terminals have reached critical infrastructure enterprises in the western region of Ukraine.
On voluntary efforts and NFTs
During the early days of the war, Inoxoft determined four main lines of work: people, customers, business, and assistance for the army. One week before the full-scale invasion, the company began to relocate workers from areas adjacent to the Russian borders based on the BCP. Soon after, Inoxoft focused on upholding mental health and regularly highlighting the general situation. Slack channels for emergency support and weekly InoXCare meetings were launched, supplemented by first aid and emergency response lectures.
Inoxoft has set up a small fundraising base for Ukraine’s armed forces. Thus, the company has raised almost UAH 1,3 million, handed over to the army a batch of electronics, practically 250 packs of dried fruit for a field ration, weaved countless nets, sorted plenty of clothes, and joined fundraising initiatives. Inoxoft sheltered colleagues from Kyiv who have been living and working there for several weeks. The company is also unveiling disinformation, giving physical assistance at sites, and defending the IT frontline.
Liubomyr Pohreliuk, CEO of Inoxoft
Since February 24, Inoxoft has been actively communicating with customers. The key objective was to tell the foreign partners about the present situation and ensure the uninterrupted work. The result has been achieved – the company retained all the clients; moreover, some of them decided to develop projects and expand teams. One of the clients wanted to increase the team several times, noting that it should include only patriots. Another has created a unique NFT collection, the earnings of which will go to help Ukraine. Numerous support has come in various ways, from letters and messages to Ukrainian flags on corporate social media pages and appeals to fellow citizens to support Ukraine. Long before the Russian invasion, Inoxoft was planning a strategic partnership with InSoft Partners. The agreement was prepared very thoroughly, so despite the war and indeed under the sound of air raid sirens, the agreement was signed. This partnership will help Inoxoft achieve further goals of growing, building processes, and a strong company structure.
On supporting the army
N-iX, one of Ukraine’s largest tech companies, donated over half a million dollars to help the Ukrainian Army in its fight against Russia. Also, the company has created an internal corporate charity Fund to support the Ukrainian Army. It’s focused on several directions: protective armor, air defense equipment, vans and SUVs for evacuation and army needs, as well as the support of the Come Back Alive Foundation.
Andrew Pavliv, Founder and CEO of N-iX
N-iX specialists have already donated thousands of dollars to the needs of Ukrainian defenders. Also, N-iX software engineers and architects are involved in the development of various tech projects, for example, a website for collecting information on Russia’s war crimes.
On cutting ties with Russia
Materialise firmly supports employees who decided to relocate and those who stayed to defend their country. The company has pledged to continue supporting Ukrainian employees in the long term as it believes their contributions to creating a better and healthier world are invaluable. As a member of the 3D printing association, Materialise affirmed their solidarity with the Ukrainian people and condemned the humanitarian suffering caused by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion. For this reason, an association has decided to suspend all business activities in Russia.
Fried Vancraen, CEO at Materialise
An association is entirely supporting the efforts taken by the international community and believes that the diplomatic level will boost bringing about peace and avoid further victims. The war must end quickly. An association of companies offers unwavering support and assistance for all necessary humanitarian aid. An association stands with the Ukrainian people and those committed to freedom, peace, and democracy.
Impressit financially supports volunteers and funds. On the company’s website, Impressit info page reviews the situation in the country, informing about the accounts and funds to donate to and support Ukraine. Besides that, the most diverse ways of support are highlighted here, from how to buy NFTs at a special Opensea account, all the proceeds from which to be used to fund the Ukrainian Armed Forces and humanitarian needs, to how to be enrolled into the cyber army, or join the International Defense Legion of Ukraine.
Roman Zomko, CEO of Impressit
On the other hand, Impressit urges employees to work full-time for foreign customers and partners to appreciate the responsibility and dedication and continue to work with the Ukrainian IT market. The Impressit’s team is actively involved in volunteering to find and purchase ammunition, leveraging their international connections to help coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid from abroad. The company’s professionals are also fighting in the IT Army of Ukraine and in the information space.
On keeping employees safe
From the first day of the war when Russia invaded Ukraine, ISsoft has been focused on its top priority – ensuring the safety of the team and their families. The company immediately organized a relocation program to help employees financially and logistically. Currently, most of the ISsoft workers are safe: some have moved abroad, others to the western region of Ukraine. As part of the financial support package, ISsoft issued an emergency fund to each team member in the Ukrainian office, an additional relocation fund is provided to cover relocation-related expenses of the team members and their families who are forced to move due to the ongoing war.
Dmytro Sennikov, General Manager of ISsoft Ukraine
The ISsoft colleagues outside of Ukraine no only have shown tremendous support for the local teammates and Ukrainian refugees, welcoming everyone with open arms and kind hearts, but also put in so much effort in making a contribution of various resources: time – helping at the border, money – donating to charities, and housing – providing shelter for Ukrainian colleagues.
The company is proud to announce that everyone who accepted a job offer from ISsoft Ukraine, started working according to the planned schedule and underwent the necessary training. Despite the war, the company continues to grow, focused on hiring new employees. ISsoft Ukraine is also investing in the community and donating to humanitarian aid through the Wings of Hope Foundation. The charitable donations had been sent to the government (NBU) initiative to support Ukrainian citizens who are most affected by the war.
ISsoft Ukraine also joined the Tax Pay Forward initiative of Lviv IT Cluster and paid taxes in the amount of UAH 300,000 in advance. The Ukrainian office remains open in Lviv and continues its standard daily operations. The company continues to actively hire professionals, as having a strong presence in Ukraine is one of its main goals at the moment.
On committing to Ukraine
JustAnswer and partners have raised more than UAH 10 million to help the Ukraine’s Armed Forces, doctors and migrants. Andy Kurtzig, CEO of JustAnswer, has been the initiator of foreign fundraising in support of Ukraine since the first days of the Russian invasion, the collection continues. The company has also launched a charitable collection of sweatshirts, all funds from which go to help colleagues affected by hostilities in Mariupol, Bucha, Kharkiv, and other cities. Kurtzig has transported tourniquets, drones, and night vision devices for the Ukrainian military. He also brought supplies to the Uzhhorod office for the Armed Forces, volunteers, and employees of the company who are currently fighting all over Ukraine.
Andy Kurtzig, CEO of JustAnswer
In addition to tactical supplies, Andy Kurtzig handed out many letters and drawings from American children collected at school by his son, Kai. These letters went to Ukrainian children who were forced to leave their homes and temporarily move to Zakarpattya shelters. Andy publicly supports Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. He has repeatedly stressed that the company’s offices remain in Lviv, Uzhhorod, and other cities and will not leave the Ukrainian market. Since the war began, he has stated this on the leading news channels CNN, FOX, CNBC, and others, urging foreign companies to maintain their presence in Ukraine.
Tech companies have assumed one of the most challenging roles, carrying out business in a war-torn country. Under the new conditions, businesses have to resolve the arising issues quickly. Companies are turning offices into shelter zones for the relocated and resettled colleagues who are running from the violence of the Russian invasion. They pay taxes in advance, donate money to the military, purchase equipment, and collect humanitarian aid bearing in mind the sole idea – stand by the country in the darkest times.
This article was originally published in ITID Lviv.