Ukraine launches Council of Innovations, considers creating fund of funds
In a meeting on July 21 with industry representatives, the Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman supported the idea of creating a fund of funds to develop innovation the country.
The government will draft the concept in connection with the Council of Innovations, which should be launched shortly. Should the plan be finally approved, the state budget could potentially contribute to the fund of fund, Groysman said.
The idea of a fund of funds was advocated by the Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA), whose representatives at the meeting included Olga Afanasyeva, UVCA Executive Director, Lenna Koszarny, UVCA Supervisory Board member and CEO of Horizon Capital, and Andriy Kolodyuk, Chairman of UVCA Supervisory Board and managing partner of AVentures Capital.
The UVCA believes that the fund of funds should invest in both existing and yet-to-be created venture funds in Ukraine on a competitive basis. The fund of funds could thus be involved indirectly in some 3,000 Ukrainian startups.
“The creation of a fund of funds will make possible the involvement of large international institutional funds in the Ukrainian investment ecosystem. Such a financial instrument has been used successfully in almost all European countries for the last 20 years,” said Kolodyuk.
“During the last year, the [UVCA] has been in constant dialogue with international institutional investors. They are potentially open and do express interest in this project. The only condition to make this fund happen is the financial participation of the government, even in a modest proportion,” Kolodyuk added.
During the meeting, the association suggested the Prime Minister to visit Silicon Valley, in which the UVCA sees “the center of the world center” when it comes to the innovation economy and startup industries.
The Prime Minister was also invited to head the Ukrainian delegation at the CES exhibition in Las Vegas in January 2018. This will be the second time when Ukraine will be represented at the show (CES).
The Prime Minister said that Ukraine needs to “create a holistic ecosystem of investment and innovation support”, and to eliminate a range of problems posing an obstacle to the country’s technological development — including the frequent cases of illegitimate “pressure on business” from state administrations.
“I will not deny the facts of such pressure, which I consider to be a fundamental issue”, Groysman said.