The second stage of the IT Export Alliance project began with 16 strategic sessions that allowed participants to shape their goals pertaining to expand upon export markets. The companies identified a unique selling proposition that the alliance could offer proceeding from the expertise of group members, and determined a potential buyer interested in purchasing such a product.
Consultants from Norway and Finland helped the participants adjust their work's viabilities according to the markets' needs and opportunities and map out a market entry plan. Considering the established visions, the consultants worked through the Norwegian and Finnish business environments and prepared long lists of buyers containing more than a thousand contacts, which were shortened together with the project participants to organize meetings.
The information about participants of the project and alliance groups was then gathered in a catalog of companies and shared with our partners: Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of Norway, Western Norway Innovation Company, NCE Finance Innovation, Grunderklubben, and others.
Within the preparation for the trade missions to Norway and Finland, the organizers conducted a webinar on the possibilities of using public procurement "GPA as an additional tool for partners search on international markets" and an introductory briefing about business ethics in the selected markets "Business Culture: Finland & Norway".
Russia's military invasion of Ukraine rapidly increased the possible risks of cooperation from the perspective of foreign businesses and delayed the interest of potential partners to start working with Ukrainian IT companies. Finnish market consultant Antti Makikyro, the Managing Partner of Nordig8, stressing the high potential of cooperation with Ukrainian technology solution developers, said: "Finland lacks IT specialists and presents great potential for the Ukrainian IT industry. With the beginning of the war, businesses started to question the timing of projects in Ukraine. Finnish companies wanted to give Ukrainian companies time, which created some uncertainty for potential buyers. Unfortunately, because of this, the launch of some big projects in Ukraine is delayed, but at the same time, we see a lot of new small projects and companies interested in cooperation with Ukrainians and companies supporting them".
To debunk the myths and provide up-to-date information about the state of the IT industry in Ukraine during the war, the project’s stakeholders held a webinar "Ukrainian IT Industry During the War". The representatives of both the industry and individual companies shared their own experiences of wartime with the Scandinavian partners.
Additionally, the IT Export Alliance organizers launched a marketing and communications campaign on social networks and created a user-friendly website and LinkedIn page, which facilitated attracting hundreds of unique visitors to information resources about the Ukrainian businesses and their services.
These actions made it possible to hold a total of 36 individual and group B2B meetings, resulting in ongoing negotiations on further cooperation.
"We met many professional Ukrainian businesses with diverse expertise. The meetings were well organized and met our expectations. The outcome led to an agreement on at least one potential collaboration," shared a representative of Vertics, a provider of innovative solutions.
The representative of the Finnish company Blue Finance admitted that they also have plans for further cooperation with at least one of the IT-service providers of the IT Export Alliance:
"Although we were looking for experts to join the team and had different views on pricing with some providers, we finally found the perfect solution that satisfied both parties after several meetings. We are considering further collaboration with one of the service providers."
IT Export Alliance members also look forward to further interactions with Norwegian and Finnish buyers to provide IT services and products.
“I liked the idea of IT Export Alliance from the very beginning because I understood the importance and attractiveness of this project. It has everything: a new form of team cooperation, networking within the IT Export Alliance in a club format, and the opportunity to work with local consultants in quite complex markets. We are looking forward to the continuation of the project because it is essential to have a chance to develop business relations with Europe during wartime", said Sergii Sereda, co-founder of DataMix, a company participating in the project.
Despite the war, the companies participating in the project continue their work and support the economy of Ukraine. The export activity of enterprises is not losing its relevance and is a priority to the organizers of the project. Therefore, work on the initiative is continued and aimed at providing new opportunities for Union member companies to strengthen their export activities and to enter new markets.
We would like to remind you that Union was launched in September 2020& It is implemented by the IT Ukraine Association with the support of the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine (USAID CEP) in partnership with the State Institution "Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office", and CIVITTA.