The United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supports Ukraine’s tech sector to continue growing and creating jobs for Ukrainian workers. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, the United States has provided nearly $1.2 million in direct assistance to the country’s tech industry – helping local IT companies generate $12.2 million in sales and attract new private sector investments worth $5.9 million.
Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine has had a devastating impact on Ukraine’s economy. However, Ukraine’s digital technology and creative startup sector has shown remarkable resilience, being the only export-focused industry to expand in 2022 - a year in which Ukraine’s overall GDP shrunk by over 30 percent. Before the war, the sector demonstrated exponential growth, expanding 38 percent from 2020 to 2021 to generate nearly $7 billion in export revenue. During the 12 months following the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s tech sector had generated $7.34 billion in export revenues, 5 percent more than the previous year, and maintained jobs for the 285,000 specialists employed in the industry. This is a remarkable reflection of Ukrainian talent, resilience, and innovation.
Since 2019, the United States, through USAID, has supported Ukraine’s tech sector to help the industry reach exponential growth. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, USAID has built on its existing partnerships within Ukraine’s tech sector, increasing support for the Government of Ukraine, businesses, business associations, and workers to develop world-class digital services that generate export revenue and create high-paying jobs for Ukrainian workers. This support focuses on helping Ukraine maintain and expand its position as a major exporter of digital services. Even before the war, roughly 95 percent of tech sector clients were based overseas, connections that have helped the industry continue to grow despite difficult domestic conditions.
Highlights of U.S. Assistance to Ukrainian Tech Sector:
- USAID directly supports Ukraine’s tech businesses through grants, relocation assistance, and other support. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, USAID has provided grants to more than 300 tech businesses, in some cases helping businesses relocate from the front lines to safer locations within Ukraine. It has also provided Starlink Internet data terminals and data servers to tech hubs so they can continue operating despite Russia’s strikes on the Ukrainian power grid.
- USAID strengthened Ukraine’s digital business enabling environment by helping Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation develop and launch Diia City, a groundbreaking regulatory environment and digital platform for IT companies and startups. After launching in February 2022, just weeks before Russia’s full-scale invasion, Diia City is now home to more than 500 Ukrainian and international companies, with resident businesses retaining more than 40,000 jobs in the tech sector.
- USAID supports the tech industry's workforce pipeline, providing opportunities for more than 2,200 students and professionals - including women and internally displaced persons - to receive technical training at 21 IT schools across Ukraine, helping them learn the skills needed for success in the tech industry.
- USAID links Ukraine’s digital sector to the world through visits to leading international trade fairs and conferences such as the Consumer Electronics Show in 2023, South-by-Southwest (SXSW) in 2022 and 2023, Startup Grind in 2019 and 2023, London Technology Week in 2019, Barcelona Four Years From Now (4YFN) in 2023, and more. More than 180 tech businesses and startups have attended 17 trade shows in six countries, generating $7.1 million in new investments and export opportunities.
Since 2019, U.S. assistance, both direct support to businesses and support for the business-enabling environment, has helped 1,100 Ukrainian tech industry businesses generate more than $23.8 million in sales, attract $20.1 million in private sector investments, and create 1,110 new jobs. Since February 2022, USAID support has helped Ukrainian businesses retain 1,500 jobs for tech specialists despite harsh economic conditions created by Russia’s full-scale war.
“USAID assistance to Ukraine’s tech sector is helping businesses export their services abroad, creating jobs for Ukrainians in wartime, and laying the foundations for a strong, forward-looking tech industry that can propel Ukraine’s economic recovery from the war,” said USAID/Ukraine Mission Director James Hope.
Yurii Ogonovsky, deputy executive director of the Lviv IT cluster, spoke about the impact of USAID support on the sector:
“Lviv IT cluster has been working with USAID for over five years. Russia’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine caused challenges and hard times, which required quick action. With USAID, we launched the ‘IT Research Resilience’ project. This serves to analyze data and provide information on the sector, both to IT companies, so that they can adapt and develop their strategies for wartime, and to the Government [of Ukraine], so that they are aware of important export sector numbers.
The cluster continues growing. Currently we are the biggest IT community in Ukraine, developing the overall sector, and, of course, our partners mean a lot to us, because, without their help, we would not have been able to grow in the midst of wartime.”
Tech companies from Ukraine’s east are particularly vulnerable, and USAID provided relocation, networking, and technical support to help them stay in business. Pavlo Zaitsev, from the East Ukrainian IT Cluster said:
“USAID assistance was crucial for us. When we – just as everyone in Ukraine – didn’t know what to do next, USAID provided educational programs for the team, helped with a very important study trip to the Lviv IT cluster, supported us in the press and among Ukrainian business communities, and shared necessary recommendations and contacts.
USAID even helps us with our own data center, providing special equipment. But the core thing – USAID helped us realize that we were not alone in the darkest times.”
Ukraine’s tech sector continues to generate critical export revenue that will be key to Ukraine’s economic recovery from Russia’s full-scale war. The United States will continue to support the Government of Ukraine, businesses, business associations, and workers to develop world-class digital services that generate export revenue and create high-paying jobs for Ukrainian workers - strengthening Ukraine’s position as a global tech industry leader.
About USAID in Ukraine: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the leading development agency of the U.S. government. USAID has partnered with Ukraine since 1992, supporting Ukraine to build resilience against Russia’s aggression and advance its democratic and economic development. Currently, 42 USAID activities respond to immediate needs and advance Ukraine’s long-term development as an independent, sovereign, democratic, and prosperous society. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale war on February 24, 2022, USAID is providing $22.9 billion in direct budget support, $15.5 billion of which has already been disbursed, $1.4 billion in humanitarian assistance, and more than $1 billion in development assistance.