UK and Ukraine
Last month, Sunak attended a joint press conference with Zelensky and urged other Western countries to double down on their support for Ukraine. Stefan Rousseau/POOL via AFP

The UK and Ukraine have partnered to launch a new initiative that will improve the tech sectors and further protect Kyiv from Russia's full-scale invasion.

During the first year of the conflict, Kyiv lost up to 35 per cent of its GDP. The economic collapse marked the largest recession in Ukraine's history.

The project, which comes as part of the UK-Ukraine Digital Trade Agreement, has been named the 'UK-Ukraine TechBridge' and sets out to support Ukraine in its economic recovery and resilience against its financial collapse.

The project is also set to grow both tech sectors in the UK and Ukraine by bridging the gap between the two nations' tech businesses and by introducing additional tech features and benefits.

The new technological collaboration allows Ukrainian businesses, which are considered high potential, to develop a relationship with tech firms and investors in the UK.

Through a series of virtual "missions" in sectors that have been prioritised, the partnership will hugely benefit sectors that have been prioritised by the nations.

The prioritised sectors include the healthcare, artificial intelligence, blockchain, agritech and fintech industries.

The technological programme was first announced and celebrated by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the partnership at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in 2023.

A number of global networks that prioritise collaborative projects, like Deloitte, a brand that is home to professionals in independent firms, are proud supporters of the UK-Ukraine partnership.

Other supporting firms include Oracle, SalesForce, Tech UK and IT Ukraine Association.

While the UK-Ukraine TechBridge project was agreed upon last year, it was officially launched by the Minister for Industry and Economic Security Nusrat Ghani with Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Oleksandr Bornyakov, in London today.

Prior to the launching, Ghani said: "As Minister for Ukraine Reconstruction, I am delighted to be launching this fantastic programme, building connections between the UK and Ukraine tech companies."

"Ukraine's tech sector has provided crucial support throughout the war and is key to the country's resilience and future recovery," he added, going on to note: "By building partnerships between British and Ukrainian businesses and promoting innovation, we are demonstrating the power of trade, and are helping lay the foundations for Ukraine's long-term recovery opening up future opportunities for businesses on both sides."

The TechBridge programme will see that both British and Ukrainian businesses in the technology sector are provided with "access to each other's markets for commercial opportunities.

A number of UK-based tech companies and investors have come together to facilitate a free online training course that will provide each subject with professional experience and international opportunities.

As part of the project, a pilot scheme will be established to support Ukrainian tech SMEs in expanding their business prospects and confidence. The pilot scheme will focus on supporting entrepreneurs who wish to develop their business skills and increase accessibility to customers residing in the UK.

Considering the pilot scheme remains in the development phase, all SME applications will open in February 2024.

The UK-based companies have also made in-person training opportunities available to the Ukrainian businesses involved.

The in-person opportunities include international conferences and trade shows that will allow for industry representation and wider networking.

"The UK-Ukraine TechBridge is a platform that brings together the potential and the expertise of both Ukrainian and UK's tech sectors," Bornyakov said.

"Its launch provides crucial support for Ukraine's IT industry," the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation added.

In regard to the positive and ongoing relationship between the UK and Ukraine, Bornyakov continued to reassure the public: "The UK remains a key partner for Ukraine's reconstruction efforts and this programme adds to the UK's commitment to ensure UK companies are well-placed to maximise their contribution to one of the largest infrastructure programmes globally."