Lviv IT business is building a new generation infrastructure, Innovation District IT Park. The pilot Ukraine’s project was presented at Lviv IT Jazz Conference, which brought together IT entrepreneurs, government officials, and investors. The conference, organized by Lviv IT Cluster in partnership with the Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA), took place on June 27, during Alfa Jazz Fest.
Innovation District was first presented at the conference; local IT companies will develop the project. 35 IT companies, which employ about 40% of IT professionals in the city are involved in its preparation. In addition to Innovation District’s presentation, the participants also discussed other infrastructure and education projects, investments and prospects of Lviv as potentially one of the major IT hubs in Eastern Europe.Construction of IT Park will solve infrastructural challenges the companies in Lviv face. In the city with 15,000 IT professionals, most offices of IT companies are either former Soviet locations or small office centers. Innovation District will provide IT business an opportunity to create a new generation infrastructure that will include office buildings, university campus, kindergarten, modern business hotel, gastronomic and sports zone, and other features for city IT ecosystem.
“IT Park is not just an office, it is something bigger: a modern infrastructure and education in one. This is our next step after training talents as we want make sure that they stay here,» says Andrew Pavliv, N-iX CEO and Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Lviv IT Cluster. Innovation District IT Park will create a more comfortable environment for IT professionals in the city so they remain here, and it will also strengthen Lviv’s image as the most attractive IT city in Ukraine. The project will accommodate nearly 10,000 IT professionals, thus uniting more than half of local professionals.
Before launching IT Park, DTZ Ukraine analyzed the project’s prospects for Lviv IT Cluster. The research showed that 91% of Lviv companies were willing to relocate, and 83% of the companies planned increasing the number of their employees in Lviv so they would need larger offices. DTZ Ukraine also found out the main expectations of IT professionals from IT Park and included them in the project’s objectives. They include fitness centers, hotel and commercial area, garden, new offices, and conference halls. Innovation District IT Park is scheduled to be finished in 10 years; it can accommodate around 30 medium-sized companies.
Innovation District IT Park is the biggest infrastructural IT project in the city. “In Lviv, the number of IT specialists is constantly growing, and the sphere is becoming more popular. Already, we have the largest number of employees in the IT sector per capita in Ukraine. We see that companies are getting bigger and need the infrastructure of a new generation that would meet the expectations of today’s business. We want to give IT professionals and companies the infrastructure that will allow them to work comfortably and develop in the city,” says Stepan Veselovskyi, CEO of Lviv IT Cluster, which is developing the project.
Project’s presentation was a part of infrastructural discussions at Lviv IT Jazz Conference; the participants also discussed the government’s impact on business and attracting investments in IT. “In the past, everybody wanted to sell, and now, everybody wants to sell, create, and sell specifically in IT,” says Alex Fridlyand, Executive Director of Soros Fund Management. According to him, the Ukrainian IT market is attractive for investors due to the large number of qualified professionals and their potential. “The development of the middle class in Ukraine will contribute to democratization and show that West needs Ukraine, and vice versa,” he adds. Andriy Kolodyuk, AVentures Capital founder and UVCA board member agrees. According to him, Ukraine has a lot of interesting projects and effective teams that are most interesting to investors.
Investment panel showed that infrastructure in Ukraine was quite advanced; the problem is that outside of IT, the economy is in a very difficult state, and IT business depends on the internal situation in the country. The conference also discussed the impact of education on local business prospects.
“We understand the importance of IT education, and we increased the number of students by 1200 in this sphere,” says Liliya Hrynevych, the Minister of Education and Science. According to her, it is important for business to promote educational development in the city and the country as well as improve its quality. “It is not that difficult to create a new system for the school, but it’s difficult to always support it,” says Oleh Denys, Executive Vice President of SoftServe. According to him, business and government must cooperate on school and university reforms to meet the market demands.
The government, instead, should promote market transparency and fair rules of the game. “If we create open regulations, we will create opportunities for opening new jobs and attracting new investments,” says Max Nefyodov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade. According to him, the government can be very effective in the distribution of investment and should facilitate the development of IT infrastructure.
US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt and Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi also attended the conference. Sadovyi emphasized on the values IT professionals in Lviv shared. “The key role of government in business is creating an enabling environment,” says Pyatt.
Lviv IT Jazz Conference took place for the first time and will become an annual event; it showed a positive trend of Lviv IT development. The city, where according to IT Research 90% directors plan to continue investing and expanding their businesses, has strong ongoing infrastructure projects like IT House, and it also opens new IT programs such as Computer Science at UCU and Bachelor’s program “Internet of Things” at Lviv Polytechnic University. Innovation District IT Park is the largest project that will be constructed over the next 10 years; yet, the city awaits more IT projects.
Lviv IT Cluster has experience in implementing infrastructure projects for IT; for example, now it works on IT House, a house for IT specialists only. It is possible to monitor the construction online; at the moment, the project already has 8 levels built. Besides Lviv IT Jazz Conference, Lviv IT Cluster is the organizer of one of the largest conferences in the Eastern Europe, Lviv IT Arena, which will take place on September, 30 until October, 2 this year.
Based on an article of AIN!