2020 has put the world to the test, making us adapt to change and respond to challenges. For Lviv IT Cluster, this year became an opportunity to see the tech community’s strength and scale, ready to unite to solve urgent issues and help our city and country. An emergency project United for Health, IT Arena going online, uniting more than 100 members and 18k of IT specialists. Find out more about these and other Lviv IT Cluster’s initiatives below.
IT Expert is the main educational initiative of Lviv IT Cluster, aiming to modernize education at Lviv universities. Lviv IT Cluster companies cooperate with teachers at universities to create modern tech bachelor programs. In 2020, within the project’s frames, 14 existing programs were supported, and a new one was launched (DevOps & Project Management in Lviv Polytechnic National University). Besides, Lviv IT Cluster’s member Infineon Semiconductor purchased new computer science lab equipment for the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.
IT Expert: School edition is a new educational initiative of Lviv IT Cluster and Digital learning, which provides students with practical skills and up-to-date expertise in informatics. The initiative aims to make informatics classes engaging and exciting for any secondary school student. The classes are delivered based on updated informatics programs by experienced IT specialists from the leading Lviv IT companies. The program has already been launched in three schools in Lviv.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, in March 2020, the educational initiative IT Future was transformed. As a result, IT Future: Next Generation has emerged – a free online academic course, which consists of a series of video lessons, workshops, and webinars from experienced IT experts. 30 webinars about the IT industry have been delivered so far, 18 experts shared their expertise and insights to students of 9-11 years of studies and Informatics teachers. 9 IT podcasts were also recorded. In total, more than 4,000 students took part in the initiative.
IT Village, a suburban residential area for IT specialists, has been growing rapidly. In total, there are already 50 families in the IT Village community. As of now, 36 houses have been built, and engineering networks are being constructed. IT Village community cares about the environment and its residents’ health; therefore, sewage treatment facilities are being constructed. IT Village has recently started a Youtube channel where you can find up-to-date information about the project and peek at behind-the-scenes of how a proactive community of IT professionals is being built.
Innovation District IT Park, a project initiated by the Lviv IT Cluster, aims to become a center for the development of Lviv IT industry with everything needed to create and support business and science environment: modern offices for more than 10 000 IT specialists, innovative computer labs to develop expertise and cooperation of IT companies with the students, multifunctional center for entertainment, a green park area for rest and better productivity. In 2020, the work on the project slowed down due to the pandemic, but investors have received approval from the Risk Management Committee of the partner bank and are updating their plans on the onset of construction in 2021.
One of the largest tech events in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, IT Arena 2020, took place in a new mode – a combination of online and offline. The audience and most IT Arena speakers participated in this year’s conference from their homes’ or offices’ comfort. All participants could simultaneously access the event from two devices. The mobile and desktop mediums allowed conveniently switching between the conference talks, asking questions to speakers, and networking with other participants. A total of 4,076 users have registered on the online IT Arena platform. Participants savored 78 hours of content from 88 speakers from 4 continents. Among the speakers were representatives of such global tech giants as Tesla, Formula 1, BMW Group, Facebook, NVIDIA, Google, Vimeo Enterprise, Atlassian, Klarna, SAP, Sixt (view IT Arena Aftermovie 2020). This year, the Startup Competition jury had to choose among 100 applicants. The winner of the IT Arena Startup Competition 2020 main prize was a Kharkiv-based startup, Tradomatic – an online platform that helps agribusinesses. The total prize fund of the IT Arena Startup Competition amounted to $ 120 k.
This year, more than 200 new partners and about 5,000 app users joined the IT Club loyalty program. IT Club has expanded its geography, with the IT specialists from Dnipro, Vinnytsia, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Ternopil now having an opportunity to take advantage of the loyalty program offers.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, ITID Lviv readers can now discover the stories of people who work with the latest technologies in our city in print and online. In 2020, ITID Lviv explored how tech businesses can be socially responsible, why cultural competence is essential, and what projects local engineers are working on. Besides, readers could learn how local tech companies and IT specialists responded to the crisis. Find out about crisis technology solutions developed by local companies, local experts telling about their quarantine experience, pros and cons of working from home, and whether working from home have the chance to remain after the pandemic in the three issues of ITID Lviv 2020 (ITID Lviv 11, ITID Lviv 12, ITID Lviv 13).
LTA is a Lviv IT Cluster project first presented in June 2019 during the IT Jazz conference. The initiative aims to develop Lviv and Ukraine’s startup culture due to investments in promising Ukrainian business ideas. The club currently unites 6 members ready to support the best Ukrainian startups through funding, mentorship, and consulting. In 2020, 4 pitching sessions for startups were organized, and club members joined the IT Arena Startup Competition jury. Also, a series of webinars were held with the Sigma Software Labs.
For five years in a row, Lviv IT Cluster has been conducting an independent analytical study of the Lviv IT industry with the most up-to-date information on the industry development dynamics, its economic effect, and a portrait of an IT specialist in Lviv. This year, in addition to the economic indicators mentioned above, IT Research 5.0 analyzed the impact of the pandemic-induced crisis on the Lviv IT sector. According to IT Research 5.0, there are 492 IT companies now, whereas, in 2019, the number equaled 461. Despite the unfavorable situation due to the pandemic-induced crisis, the number of IT specialists has been growing – 26-26.5 k, compared to 24 -25 k last year (Download IT research 5.0 here).
United for Health is a Lviv IT Cluster’s initiative that united the forces of proactive IT companies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Lviv and the region and became the first business community reaction to the new COVID-19 challenges. UAH 6 million was raised, and 41 companies-members of Lviv IT Cluster supported the initiative. As a result, 29 845 people were tested in Lviv and the region. In particular, as part of a mass testing campaign in cooperation with Riel and the Lviv City Council, 100 journalists working on the frontline were tested. Support for doctors has become one of the critical areas of work within the United for Health initiative. Lviv IT Cluster provided the medical staff of all PCR labs in Lviv with full-body PPE kits for work with pathogenic microorganisms of biosafety levels 1-2. Besides, the insurance initiative for healthcare workers in Lviv and the region who contracted coronavirus was supported. IT companies-members of the Lviv IT Cluster donated UAH 700,000 to the project, announced on April 28 by the Lviv Regional State Administration.
Lviv IT Cluster will implement a new Lviv Tech Marketplace initiative, with the USAID Competitive Economic Program’s support in Ukraine. The initiative aims to promote the IT industry and help small and medium-sized IT companies enter global markets. Lviv Tech Marketplace initiative will look like a platform with the most up-to-date information on Lviv and the region’s IT companies. In September, a tender for the development of the project platform was announced. The winner has already been selected. According to preliminary plans, the platform will be ready in 4-5 months.
Projects postponed due to the pandemic
The annual Lviv IT Jazz Conference that takes place during Leopolis Jazz Fest has been postponed due to the spread of COVID-19. According to the organizers, the new dates of the Leopolis Jazz Fest, where Lviv IT Cluster has been one of the partners and sponsors for many years, are June 24-28, 2021. Lviv IT Jazz Conference is a powerful platform for communication between IT, investors, and the government. Each year, IT entrepreneurs, investors, politicians, and international experts gather to discuss tech entrepreneurship development in Ukraine and prospects for tech business in Lviv and Ukraine. In 2019, during the Lviv IT Jazz, two projects essential for the Ukrainian IT industry were presented: future residents of Innovation District IT Park in Lviv signed the contracts and the first angel investors club in Lviv, Lviv Tech Angels, was founded.