A regional seminar on enhancing of IT-students innovation and entrepreneurship in Ukraine was held in Lviv Polytechnic National University on May, 23, 2014 as part of Tempus-NEFESIE project. The seminar was intended primarily for teachers that work with creative students. In the first part of the seminar its attendees considered the goals and objectives of Tempus NEFESIE project, issues of developing national ecosystem of student innovations and the current state of innovators education. In the seminar’s second part IT-entrepreneurs and teachers discussed ways of enhancing IT-students’ expertise in innovations and entrepreneurship.
Rostyslav Chayka, founder of Lviv Startup Club, startup consultant of over 200 projects, chairman of the organizing committee of numerous IT-conferences, co-organizer of training centers in Epam and Artfulbits companies in Lviv; Ivan Kulchytskyy, PhD in economics, business-coach, consultant on personal development and business, project manager in Agency of European innovations, who has 15-year experience in development of business ideas and in organizing and implementing national and international projects and educational programs; Yaroslav Maxymovych, investor and founder of numerous startups and Maxym Lysak, manager of Startup Depot incubator in Lviv, Ukraine, shared their experience and answered questions of the seminar attendees.
In opinion of Rostyslav Chayka, the first steps toward a startup are to be done while studying in the university. If a student has accomplished (for example, as courseworks) half a dozen software products that are really used by at least twenty persons, such a student seems to have a chance to launch his own startup. Hence, educational programs should promote students to perform useful though small complete projects. Besides, it would be useful to involve promising students in scientific work. In opinion of the members of Tempus-NEFESIE project, Virtual Innovative space would be an effective tool for communication of Ukrainian students, researchers and IT-experts and promotion of their creative potential. Though students often feel lack of time, Rostyslav Chayka believes that people always find time for doing things they consider important for themselves. Strong motivation is a requirement for success in startups. Routine processes of everyday activities are a promising domain for startups. The reason for it is the fact that the more users apply software the more successful this software is and everything that simplifies human work is in demand. The modern trends are mobile applications and games, says Rostyslav.
Ivan Kulchytskyy (the speaker in the picture) shared his thoughts about steps that one must take to make a sturtup successful. Obviously, the first step is looking for a good idea and a place in the market. There are no new elements in our world but new combinations of old elements can appear. A new idea is simply a combination of known items. In opinion of Ivan Kulchytskyy, there are two different approaches to do the above-mentioned first step. One of them is to generate an idea and then form a place in the market for it. The second one which is preferable in opinion of the speaker is to study problems, wishes and needs of the target audience. The speaker noticed that IT-students can get a lot from communications with humanitarian students because the latter often have ideas that can be solved using IT but possess no special knowledge to embody them. Ivan Kulchytskyy thinks that it would be helpful for students to organize incubators of academic entrepreneurship in universities. Besides, students can try themselves in various contests and programs, for example, in a contest Horizon 2020 and an international project “On a virtual higway – to the endless opportunities in your future business” . In addition, the business-coach explained how to find, attract and hold a customer.
Yaroslav Maxymovych performed case-study of his own software product in order to show an effective tactic behavior of a beginner entrepreneur. He shared his observations that any startup can not be successful without two things. The first of them is a knowledge in some domain deep enough to see its problems. The second one is resources for solving the revealed problems. In the nearest future software for mobile devices will be the most popular. This can be explained by the fact that the amount of notebooks, tablets and smartphones is continuously growing and anyone who has a mobile device attempts to use it to the full. When Mr. Maxymovych was asked how many tasks can he perform simultaneously, he answered that one must focus on the only task, because “no one can move in the opposite directions and there exist no multitask people”.
Maxym Lysak spoke about advantages of Startup Depot, a business-incubator in Lviv, which gives privileges for students. Startup Depot offers a comfortable workspace for effective creative activity and provides opportunities to consult with experts about ideas for startups and to join bright events including hackathons, presentations, master-classes, business-lunches with successful IT-entrepreneurs. Besides, those who want to obtain feedback from the incubator's society can present their project to the society during Demo-days. The founders of Startup Depot have an ambitious goal – to correct that paradoxical and annoying fact that there are no world-known tech-companies “made in Ukraine” despite of great Ukrainian intellectual potential. The speaker announced a two-month training program for those who want to launch their own business. The training program starts in September.